Education, a new look at learning

Throughout the world more and more initiatives are coming to light involving alternative models of education. Ricardo Semler with the Lumiar school in Brazil, the Lycee School in Russia established by Mikhail Petrovich Shchetinin and other European projects are increasingly bringing education under closer inspection. This is a positive development. Within the standard school system lessons are delivered following rigid programs; you learn what you are instructed to and the curriculum on offer isn't questioned. The teacher dictates when questions may be asked, the student listens. In today's society we want to be happy, creative and independent. It is important to be able to take the initiative, to stand up for yourself and be flexible. Why don't we learn this in school? The regular school system isn't fit for our times, it doesn't work for everyone. If you are more practically inclined, get things less quickly than average, or have too much energy and find it difficult to sit still, you'll be seen as an inconvenience. You will quickly fall behind and will no longer be seen as 'normal'.

In PuVida we offer a new way of education which begins by looking at the person. How do you look at a baby? We see a baby as 'whole' and not as a small powerless being that doesn't yet know anything. A baby knows perfectly well what she wants and how to indicate it. She has everything within her to determine her own independent development. Therefore, it is important to create an environment which gives this development as much space as possible. In your role as a parent you are primarily responsible for providing this opportunity yet the school should also provide such an environment. In this way a child can independently make her own choices in what, when and how she wants to learn something. We think it's important that a child's development shouldn't be inhibited in any way whatsoever but should rather be stimulated whenever she indicates an interest. It isn't the age of the child or what's previously been studied that determines what she will learn, but rather her own decision which determines the learning. Another really important point is that children always need to receive positive reinforcement about who they are and how they view things. Whenever as an adult you don't understand what a child means you can ask them, without judging. Ask yourself in the first instance why you don't understand what they mean. At the PuVida school the teacher (or adult) and child are the equal.

Instead of curricula in PuVida we want to work using projects upon which everyone can work. The first project could even be the building of the school. The children can imagine what they want their school to look like and can make an action plan together.

The plans for education in PuVida village are not yet set in stone, it's a developing process. In this regard we would welcome an exchange of ideas between people. We would also be keen for people to get involved who may be able to help set up this new form of education.