Happy New Year! This year promises to be just as crazy and uncertain as the last. It greatly saddens me that the government is once again closing schools. In the face of mental health, in the face of lasting developmental issues, in the face of happiness and our children’s well-being, closing down schools should be the absolute last measure. But there is hope building in the Wild.
We are approaching the third year of this pandemic, the education system in this country which was already antiquated has become completely dysfunctional. Our governments had an opportunity to overall a system that was designed for a different time, for a different child and that now runs contrary to science and our understanding of brain development. But instead, they chose the route of more regulation and rules, of mediocrity and bureaucracy. They built their walls higher to keep out the community that incubates it. They divide our children, they quarantine them out in designated areas, muzzle their voices and take away their music and their sports. And then regularly threaten to send them home, alone, to wallow in front of yet more screens. Is this the future of our school system?
Wild School was derived to combat the failures of the traditional education system and designed in the midst of a global pandemic that forced us to go outside. We took apart everything. We threw out the superintendents and bureaucracy; got rid of the unions that perpetuate mediocrity while squashing passion and rewarding the place holders. We added teachers with creativity, passion and drive; creating classrooms of wonder, excitement and adventure. A curriculum that is alive and flows with the interests of its participants. Our success has shown us the value of fun in learning, of stimulating curiosity and a passion for knowledge. We are developing healthy, happy, resilient, and creative changemakers. We are seeing huge leaps in basic core competencies such as reading and math but also in students emotional intelligence. We have yet to prove out this new education model with empirical data, but we are working on it. That said, how do you fully measure a child’s ability to feel empathy, or grit? How do you show newfound confidence in persevering through adversity? Or the ability to lead their peers through solutions to complex problems? How do you measure the effects of a lifelong love of learning? Talk to any of our parents and they will tell you of all the resounding effects of only a short time at Wild School. But is that enough to prove a new model? Also is this a model only for those that can afford it?
We have hope for a brighter future. We hold a great deal of hope in our future generations. We feel that we are onto something so profound and that we can demonstrate and teach what is possible to completely shift a rigid and failing system. The future is bright at Wild School. In 2022 we will see the development of a new Wild School in the Yukon. We are working on projects in Toronto and Ottawa. We are rapidly growing our team with passionate educators and change makers. We will not have any part in an old model of education, which, due to an over reliance on walls and large class sizes will likely shut down again and again and again. We shall learn on in person. We shall learn in the forest and in the fields. We shall learn in the mountains and in the valleys. Beside a cold spring or a shimmering lake and beside the fire and in the cave. In the dirt and in the mud and in the wind and in the rain, we shall learn together!
We will continue our fight in this education revolution and never surrender to mediocrity or the mundane, because it’s ‘easier’. This revolution will be felt by the voices of parents that want more for their children. It will be led by those chipping away at the education systems walls with the knowledge of what is occurring behind them. It will be fueled by the student’s voices that found the pure joy of learning, the love of the outdoors, of adventure and wild places. It will be spurred by the classroom that has no walls and the knowledge of how to do this effectively and safely. It will be a thousand small things that will make our children smarter, happier, stronger, more compassionate, more connected to themselves and to each other.
Let’s have a Wild Year!