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THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED


The idea is to allow kids to live life in a creative, integrated way – where they are allowed to just be in the moment, and be connected with their environment


This year they have four summer sessions which are booking up fast. The holidays for the kids are based around the idea of presenting young people with an experience, allowing them to live life in a creative, integrated way – where they are allowed to just be in the moment, and be connected with their environment.


There is a lot of time built in to relax, de-stress, to be by themselves or to be with others


There is a big emphasis on art as part of the holiday so that the kids can absorb and interpret what they see and it fl ows naturally from their experiences. Formal painting sessions take place each day at the farmhouse and everyone travels with their sketchbooks on trips around the area so that art is integrated in to the whole day.


These times are interspersed with exciting physical activities. The area is renowned for its stunning rolling hills, forests, and gorges. The opportunities


for outdoor activities are infi nite and include kayaking, zip-lining, rock climbing and swimming. A few hours may be spent on a picnic, swimming, taking photos and sketching. Explains Bruce: “There is a lot of time built in to relax, de-stress, to be by themselves or to be with others. This allows them to start to become their own person, to interact with others their own age outside the classroom confi nes and to learn new ideas and skills that will stay with them for life.”


“We wanted to open some eyes and change some lives”


The farmhouse is owned by a British art collector, has sculptures and art all around and is a gallery in itself that serves to inspire the children. The family atmosphere in the big house with everyone involved in preparing the meals and cleaning up afterwards, learning to do their own laundry and such like, allows the kids to develop personal responsibility and independence. The whole group dynamic is key to the success of the holidays. There are no rigid


regimes as Bruce and Alisa believe that it is far more benefi cial for everyone to be offered possibilities and to see what works best for the day – giving the kids the buy-in to the experience.


The cultural aspect is hugely important to Bruce and Alisa. Whilst the students have an hour of French lessons each day from a local French teacher, they will also go to markets, purchase food and visit the farms where the food comes from. Each night the group sit down for a big family dinner to eat the healthy local food. The farmhouse is a mere four kilometres from Cordes, a stunning medieval hill top town: “Every year there is a medieval festival so last year the kids made costumes, including papier maché jester hats and fairy wings and really got involved!”


Many of us could do with the sort of experience Raison d’Art offers young people so it is exciting to see the welcome extended for mother and daughter breaks and women’s retreats where there will be the opportunity to learn yoga, French, cooking, and to remind us of “the art of living” again.


P.29


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