ABOUT US

WHO WE ARE

The Spokane Learning Co-op in Spokane, Washington is a new self-directed learning center focused on consent, community, creativity, freedom, real play, and real learning. 

 

Self-directed education is ideal for families interested in cultivating truly happy, confident, self-directed young adults. We want kids to reach adulthood with their creative genius still intact.

 

We want to help build a better world for ourselves and for future generations.

 

We believe that everyone has something valuable to teach. We believe that we can all learn from each other.

We are still in our initial phases and are looking for deeply aligned co-founders, donors, and first families.

Our Vision

Picture this: a world where young people's rights are respected, giving them the freedom to shape their education and lives. Imagine them growing up with their curiosity, inner genius, and self-esteem still intact. See what happens when young people are allowed to develop their fullest potential. Witness more communities embracing the power of self-directed learning, and creating generations of bold thinkers and compassionate changemakers.

Our Mission

The Spokane Learning Co-op believes that when children have authority over their own learning, they learn how to learn. We are dedicated to empowering young people to flourish through personal relationships, genuine engagement, and self-directed education. We seek to cultivate truly happy, confident, capable children by respecting the genius of each child in our caring, cooperative self-directed learning community.

We believe our work will have an incalculable impact on the mental health of rising generations. We see this as our greatest contribution to creating peace on Earth.

OUR VALUES

 

We value the agency of young people, and joyful and fulfilling lives for all. We steer towards this by working to dismantle obstacles like adultism, sexism, racism, classism, and ableism, while holding space for young people’s embodiment of liberation through play and curiosity as much as possible in the here and now. Community is both a practice and a path in this work.

Young People Are Real People Deserving of Our Utmost Respect.

We uphold the rights and autonomy of young people including, but not limited to, the right to choose what, when, and, and with whom they learn. We hold space for young people’s embodiment of liberation through play and curiosity as much as possible. No matter what their age, everyone here is treated with the same respect. We do not seek to dominate or control one another. We see each other as fully human.

Young People Have the Right to Keep Their Innate Creative Genius.

It will take genius-level creative thinking to solve the world's big problems. We proclaim the transformational power of self-directed education. We reject the institutional systems of schooling that dumb down young people. By holding space for young people to grow up retaining and developing their innate creative genius through adulthood, we hope to help foster a more peaceful and satisfying future for all.

Young People Need Community.

We believe in the importance of having a strong, supportive community where everyone feels valued, respected, and safe. We affirm that compassion, empathy, belonging, and collaboration are all essential to healthy individual and collective development. Learning how to build and be part of a peaceful, functional community is necessary to thrive. Community is both a practice and a path in this work.

Young People Need the Right to Full Development.

We affirm that full human development extends far beyond simply consuming content in a small selection of academic subjects, and that it includes mental, emotional, physical, and social health. We believe that by doing real things that they care about, children will develop the capacity to self-actualize.

OUR BELIEFS

We believe in the Convention of The Rights of the Child. The Convention says that childhood is separate from adulthood, and lasts until 18. It further says that childhood is a special, protected time, in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity. The Convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children's lives. The Convention has been ratified by 195 countries, making it the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Only two countries, the United States and Somalia, have not ratified the Convention.

 

We believe that children are full human beings who should be treated with respect and dignity. By growing up with respect and dignity, they'll be able to better recognize when they're in a toxic relationship or environment. They'll be equipped to make healthier choices for themselves, for our community, and for the world.

 

We believe children should have the freedom to nurture their interests at a pace that works for them, free from the stress of manipulation, evaluation, points, and scores. We believe in no required classes, no homework, no exams, no grades, no shame.

 

We believe that learning through living is superior to learning through worksheets, "educational" software, or other conventional methods often seen in schools. Children learn best when they can learn with their whole selves: bodies, minds, and voices, free from the dictates of corporate curricula.

 

We believe that when children have authority over their own learning, they learn how to learn. Children who are trusted grow in confidence, self-esteem, self-respect, and responsibility.

 

We believe in keeping children's imagination, natural curiosity, and love of learning intact. We provide time, space, and community to support the natural development of each child's unique potential.

 

We believe that learning is play and play is learning. Play is our natural, built-in means of learning what we need to know to have a satisfying life. Children must play in order to truly learn.

 

We believe that it is foundational to children's immediate and long-term mental health to grow up learning how to be a good friend, how to work together with other people, and how to solve real problems. We believe in living in community and building authentic relationships. We believe in collaboration over competition. We believe children can learn to and be trusted to talk things out respectfully and come to fair conclusions.

 

We believe children should have the freedom and power to affect change in order to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. When children learn how to access and use power in a positive way, they will see themselves as changemakers rather than victims.

 

We believe children should have autonomy over their own bodies. We believe children should be able to go to the bathroom when they need to, eat when they need to, move when they need to, and rest when they need to as long as they are respecting the needs of others in their environment.

 

We believe families have a right to flexible schedules, which includes flexible drop-off times and pick-up times. Families should be able to schedule trips without needing to ask permission.

 

We believe that self-directed education is the best way to honor each child's unique genius, and that in holding space for self-directed learning, we are radically improving children's mental health. We believe that this respect and freedom cultivates truly happy, caring, confident, capable young adults. We believe that this will result in a more compassionate, more satisfying future for all.

We prioritize mental health, and we focus on consent, community, creativity, freedom, real play, and real learning.

We offer innovative workshops, imaginative sessions, artistic courses, mind-expanding seminars, original lessons, inspired tutorials, crafty classes, diverse peers, dedicated mentors, authentic relationships, self-directed learning, and a dynamic community.

 

By focusing on engagement, achievement naturally comes along for the ride.

 

We promote a culture of autonomy and community while supporting our members with active mentorship in reaching their goals.

 

Diversity is important to us. We are proud to support and be represented by our Neurodiverse, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC communities. We have students from different religious and non-religious backgrounds at our school and love the diversity of opinions that brings. Students are free to follow their own religious beliefs while attending the Spokane Learning Co-op.

OUR INSPIRATIONS

The Spokane Learning Co-op was inspired by the writings of John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, and A.S. Neill, to name a few.

 

We are inspired by the Summerhill school, Sudbury Schools, Circle Schools, Reggio Emilia Schools, Agile Learning Centers, the Purple Thistle Centre, Scouting, and, of course, self-directed learning centers all over the world.

 

The language we used for our mission, vision, and values was adapted from The Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Please visit their site to learn more about the incredible important work they are doing.

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We're raising the next generation of world changers.