I am so excited and inspired by all the messages I have been getting over the past week! So many of you have written to me to tell me your stories and I have loved reading every one of them. The theme I am seeing is: you have seen the failures of the public education system and will try anything to keep your children out of it. You see your children’s love and excitement for learning and are terrified that they will lose it. You recognize the need for a change, but don’t know how to make it happen.
The change is happening. We are committed to creating a new way for children in our community to educate themselves and to escape the rigid and controlling system of a conventional school. Children are more than capable of educating themselves provided they are given time, space, and trust to do so. Let’s create that space!
Our vision for the Free Learners of Nanaimo is a self-directed and non-coercive environment where children are free to dictate their own educational paths. There will be no curriculum and no mandatory classes or subjects; rather, we will engage in “life learning”- learning through interaction, life skills, and following interests. Compared to a conventional (forced) education, this is a scary theory- but it’s a proven method of education that you have already witnessed yourself. Think about how much a child learns from the time they are born until the time they go to school: they learn to sit, stand, walk, talk, play, ask for things, share… the list is endless. This authentic learning doesn’t just stop at age 6!
So if there’s no forced learning, what will children do all day? Everything else! We envision an environment full of exciting and enticing materials and resources that will encourage children to follow their passions (or find one). Guides- not teachers- will be available to facilitate a child’s self-directed journey to their goals. Without the confines of bell schedule determined by someone else, children will be free to immerse themselves in their chosen activity. When an individual is allowed to direct their own learning, they are able to follow their passions and learn on a deeper level, in a more complete way. Without an adult filtering the information, topics are often learned in a much more diverse and broad way.
This is a radical and paradigm-shifting way to approach education and it’s not going to be for everyone. But for those that don’t fit in at a conventional school, or for parents who want something different for their children, this could be the answer.
So where do we go from here? We need to form a community to create this amazing new place and we need team builders and volunteers to bring the vision to life. We will start creating both of those things at a information session coming up in the next two weeks. Here we will discuss the vision in a little more depth, outline the next steps and connect with others who are invested in an alternative education option.
If you want to attend this meeting, please make sure you add your email address to the mailing list as the details will be sent out through email. Can’t wait to meet you!