Freedomhill Agile Learning Community
The mission of Freedomhill Agile Learning Community (FALC) is to activate explosive learning by harnessing powerful tools for self-organization and intentional culture creation, allowing students to deeply engage with the world through their passions and strengths. This projects learning environment embraces choice and freedom along with collaboration between peers, teachers, and the local community. An agile learning community offers a self directed, play based learning program for families with children ages 5 and up. FALC’s philosophy is based on their belief in the importance of free play, age integration, and creating an intentional community culture.
FALC’s primary objective is to provide an alternative educational environment rich in learning opportunities for Cascadian children to discover and develop their 21st century skills: creativity, critical thinking, resourcefulness, conflict resolution, collaboration, etc. The learning opportunities offered are provided by local community members who are passionate about their expertise and eager to share their knowledge with the next generation. As a result, young learners are exposed to a wide variety of devoted artisans, community leaders, and mentors who support students to discover their own passions and to develop a love for contributing to sustainable living systems. This model culminates in a rich, vibrant community of mixed-aged learners all benefiting from sharing and receiving knowledge.
FALC’s self-directed learning model has both immediate and long-term impact on community building and collaboration. The agile learning environment thrives on community involvement and attracts professionals and creatives eager to share their knowledge. As learners transition from early childhood into their teen years, they naturally seek mentors and internships. This requires that ambassadors be active in the wider community sharing the vision and building relationships so learners have a large pool of adults to select from when seeking support to map out ambitious courses of action such as college admission or apprenticeships. The model relies heavily on community-building and collaboration! And learners “graduate” from the program strongly invested in their communities (and their communities strongly invested in them) because of their ongoing participation in relevant learning experiences that foster awareness of local issues.
Also built into the FALC model is intentional culture creation. Learners discover quickly that they do not exist outside of relationship and they are supported through an iterative process to create a sustainable, productive culture. FALC’s facilitators are trained in the use of non-violent communication and true conflict resolution. The children are supported to implement these sophisticated strategies when addressing conflicts that arise within the learning community. FALC says “the medium is the message” while discovering just how brilliant children are when they learn to take true responsibility for themselves and their communities. Self-directed learning centers are a drastic departure from our traditional school system that can produce dysfunction, resentment, and apathy. Individuals typically graduate self-directed learning programs with acute self-awareness and deep knowledge that they are eager to contribute in support of healthy cultural expression.