Learning for Childlings is a very informal process known as Playing Together which begins in their home villages or hamlets when they are Fours, and at the end of that Change they are initiated into Turning.
The Myldorangi have no word for ‘school’ as other races mean it. Until the children make their first move to the Place of Learning they speak of Playing at home, then Playing with Masters and other children, and their Playing is divided into Mind Games, Making Games, Sharing Games, Talking and Remembering Games and so on. However, none of them are ‘winning and losing’ Games and they have no word for ‘fail’.
After initiation into Turning, Childlings in their fifth and sixth Changes are shown how to let themselves be carried by their Masters of Turning around their world.
The Place of Learning
At the age of seven they become Younglings, and move with their parents to one of the Places of Learning. Homes are provided for them where they will live until the end of their tenth Change, at which point they are Chosen by a Guild. (Where necessary, Junior Masters or Masters with no family take over their work until they return. The parents will take up work at or near the Place.)
The elementary practicalities of skills such as pottery, woodworking, building, metalwork, cookery, spinning, weaving, sewing, and so on, are learned in workshops scattered around the town. There are also a number of workshops and studios for work which is creative. The creative Guilds work with the Mind Libraries to record important aspects of the history of Myldora. Here beautiful panels may be carved out of wood or stone, woven with wool, linen or the long thin leaves of a mountain plant, created by tapestry, or painted with pigments onto stretched cloth or boards. Horticulture, animal care and forestry are learned on farms or in nearby woods. Halls are used for more sedentary learning such as music, design, planning and calculating, and in another the Lore Masters pass on more of the histories of the people and train the Younglings’ memories to retain what they hear.
The focussing skills and theories necessary for The Turning take place away from the noise and distractions of the town, but no actual Turn is made until The Choosing.
The Myldorangi do not have a system of continuous tests. They are given tasks to do, but if a Youngling or Scholar cannot manage to finish one it is explained to them that they are not ready for it yet, and are helped to try again after more learning.
When the Younglings approach the end of their tenth Change they each spend up to two days with the Masters of their home community, the Senior Masters of the Place and their parents. By studying the way in which they have played and learned since they were Fours, their future direction becomes clear and they are Chosen by a Guild to be Scholars and begin specialised training. Every Youngling should be accepted by a Guild, no one should be left unable to become a Scholar and progress into Training. However, at the time of The Great Gifts some Sensitives, unable to cope at the Place of Learning had been sent home and not been Chosen. This is against all the traditions and beliefs of the Myldorangi.
The Guild Halls of Training
At eleven the Chosen Scholars move to one of the Halls of Training run by their Guild and become ‘weekly boarders’. The Halls are arranged in Homes, with around ten Scholars and a Mistress of the Guild of Service in each. The Scholars are divided into Friendships according to the number in their Change Group – there were twenty Scholars in Bruathimo’s Change, so they were initially organised into Fives.
Their parents now return to their home village or town, where they may or may not have another child.
All Scholars continue learning in subjects other than the Guild specialisation for the next five years. At each Guild Hall there will be Senior Lore Masters to continue teaching them the particular stories necessary for their specialism.
Within the more practical Guilds such as woodworking, for instance, the specialist training takes five or six years after which they take their Great Test and become Apprentices.
For those in the Guilds of Healing, Calculation, and other more technical areas, the Great Test is taken after seven or eight years, and for those using the mind powers of Remembering or Calling, it will be tackled when they are Twenties. Training in The Turning takes fifteen years, their Great Test being taken at the age of twenty-five.