A few weeks ago, myself and my co-worker/co-Facilitator at WCS had the honor of attending the Agile Learning Facilitator summer training for two weeks at ALC Mosaic in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a deeply meaningful experience and, for me, very transformative.
I have been at WCS for several years now, and one of things that I have found very compelling about being a part of the school is how much of a community it is. Yes, we have experienced all the usual growing pains of being a business and community in it’s early years, but have remained a loving and supportive community of kids and families nevertheless.
This is something that struck me right through the heart as I sat in all the talks, workshops, and lunch discussions at Mosaic—everything was essentially focused around this central theme: How do we use the ALC schools and tools to create a strong community that is focused on supporting everyone’s autonomy and doing social justice work?
It turns out, there are a million ways. We went to discussion groups that addressed this question from every conceivable angle:
- Dialogue vs. Debate
- Media in Shared Spaces (How do we create space for autonomy and trust regarding kid using tech at school?)
- Consent-Based Governance
- Transitioning Out of Toxic Relationships While Unschooling
- Chronicling Play
- Alternative Economies
- Teens in Self-Directed Education
- Race Equity in Self-Directed Education Spaces
- All Ages ALC (How do we create full communities that range all the way from babies to adults in co-working spaces?)
- Facilitator Burnout
- Body Image in Self-Directed Spaces
- Supporting Families if Color in Self-Directed Spaces/Representation Without Tokenism
- Tuition Free ALC
We left each day emotionally and mentally exhausted in the best way. Discussing all these topics that have been points of activism for me, learning new ideas to be passionate about, and hearing how they integrate into the type of work that I’m currently doing, made me feel really empowered, excited, and maybe even a little overwhelmed. Bringing what I learned to WCS and to the community at large in Wilmington is my passion project for the foreseeable future.
I left with this new ideology hanging over me like a gigantic rainbow: If it is our hope that the future of our world will see it filled with citizens who are motivated towards environmental sustainability, gift-based economies, racial equity, LGTBQ equity, good intrapersonal communication, and self-actualization, we start by building it in local communities, by giving autonomy to children, and modeling these ideals ourselves.
I’m ready to get my hands dirty.