This fall a new approach on education arises on Madeira. Based in Arambha, the Agile Nature School aims to offer an alternative option to parents who dream of a different educational model for their children. Routed in the belief that humans are curious beings, thirsty for knowledge, Agile Learning offers tools for a self-determined education, where children can seek the answers to whatever question is alive in them. Moreover, social skills, the ability to observe and share feelings, interacting in a non-violent way, all that will be explored, developed and nourished. Needless to say, parents who wish to implement this kind of education with their children, will benefit the most if they are willing to align themselves with these principles as well. How can we embrace an alternative if we aren’t willing to live it out? As a community we want to dive deep into these topics, being mirrors and mentors to each other, fostering strong bonds. Learning is happening all the time!
Children may ask questions, but they do not fully depend on our answers. They discover the world and the ir sel ves, they listen to an opinion without identifying with it, and they don’t rigidly stand for this or that. They are rather into the infinite existential game, an everlasting journey of self- discovery, which moves through their own understanding and intuition, and is based on free choice. There is Grace! The more we intervene, most of the time unconsciously, by endlessly urging children to reproduce our adult world, the more we force them to hit the same dead-ends as we do.
We, adults, have some rather distorted beliefs. We have convinced ourselves and each other that the irrational is rational and that “this is the way it is”. Beautiful words mixed with gibberish; the unwillingness to think and to act; the wounds, the questions, the feelings of guilt. All of these are bricks in the walls that separate us from ourselves, each other and our children.
We sustain these walls. We keep on building them. We lose focus from our true selves, and so, we are missing the point. As we cannot see clearly around or within us, we end up creating psychological and social structures that do not serve us, do not support us and do not inspire us. We assume that we “know” and that is part of the problem, because all we do in the end, is preaching.
Why should Education change its course?
If we take a closer look at our beliefs and the social conditions around us that determine our lives, we will see that we are in need of a new beginning. We are in need of different choices in politics, in health, in the co-creation of our social web and our day to day living. The advantage in the case of Education is that children, as far as their soul remains intact, will instinctively react against our non-conscious choices and inauthentic behavior. They refuse to consent to our distorted perception of things and they urge us to start seeing clearly.
Changing course in Education means that we get to choose differently on all levels. We get to taste freedom and joy! We get to stay open to the calls of the heart, offering ourselves the potential, and our children the opportunity, to grow both upwards and inwards. And so, being mindful and well rooted in the ground, they shall spread their wings.
The Agile Nature School…
…that we envision does not follow the current educational model, which is an incubator of hierarchies and implies a conformism to arbitrary rules. It rather embraces a differentiated and supportive environment where children of mixed ages can explore themselves and the world freely, following a path of their own choice. Languages, Math, Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Arts, Dance and physical exercise can be available to them at the right time, along with the skills for co-existing and mindfulness.
Ideally, this school will be the center of an agricultural/artistic/scientific community, where people young and old live together and co-create in harmony. By bringing the principles of self-determination and co-operative decision making into life in general, we create learning environments where we can witness an upsurge in comprehension and inspiration. And we are constantly surprised by how limitless our growth can be!
We only claim what is ours: The right to choose, as parents, what kind of education we will offer our children. Our vision is to create an educational model where humans learn the art of living a Good Life, beyond social stereotypes and without prescribed, fixed answers. A model that allows and supports exploration, guided by curiosity, creativity and imagination.
This is an invitation for all parents, educators and other fellow-travelers on the journey of education, who would be interested in creating official or unofficial educational structures. Get in touch with us, so that we can all contribute in making a difference!