School Outside of School

For the past 150 years, “education” and “learning” in the United States have largely been understood as the transmission of skills and knowledge from teachers to students within the confines of a school’s four walls.

At the heart of all its programming, the Academy for the Love of Learning is helping to expand that definition, pulling back a lens that has been overly focused on schools and colleges, and broadening it to include other places of learning—backyards, workplaces, gardens, community centers and many other settings—and other forms and approaches.

The Academy is supporting the rise of a culture of learning in which people are engaged in life-affirming, natural learning that has nothing to do with certificates or degrees or economic advancement but everything to do with human flourishing and happiness. Our intent is to bring into the foreground other places of learning, and support the connections between them to create new spaces and forms for engagement, and to bring attention to the learning process, itself.

Engaging its transformative learning model in unconventional spaces of learning, the Academy helps position people—rather than authorities, books or even teachers–at the center of their own learning.

What is possible when people and communities connect with their own agency, take responsibility for their own learning and recognize the potential to learn in everything they do? What can happen when learning is engaged as a practice for waking up? What can happen if learning is surrounded by love and support rather than fear and competition?

We will learn ourselves into a better place–a place rich with human connection and dialogue where empathy and compassion grow. School Outside of School values and fosters the variety of perspectives and experiences in a community and the wisdom and knowledge alive within it.

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.–Henry David Thoreau