What is Project World School?
Project World School co-creates temporary learning communities around the world so teens and young adults can collaborate in a rich experiential & social learning environment. Project World School was founded by mother and son Lainie Liberti and Miro Siegel in 2011. Considering themselves to be “accidental unschoolers” who have transformed the world into their classroom, Lainie and Miro have fallen in love with learning from the world around them. Thus, Project World School was born.
Teens and facilitators collaborate to achieve the learning experience, enjoying natural and academic learning. Fostering social learning, teamwork, leadership, and immersive cultural experiences, Project World School supports and fulfills the needs of participants while creating strong connections to other participants, education, and the environment. Teens who participate are inspired to continue their world travel and education.
Project World School organizes retreats around the world. PWS will host community learning events in areas such as Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, US and Thailand over the next year and a half. Participants will enjoy topics such as surfing, marine biology, conservation in the Amazon jungle, archeology and history in Cusco & the Sacred Valley, and more.
Why did we create Project World School?
This is a project Miro and I started together in 2012. But first I have to give you a little background in order to create some context around why we created it in the first place.
Throughout our years of travel, we adapted “unschooling” or “natural learning” as our form of education which became the foundation for what was to follow. We had never set out to be an unschooling family, actually didn’t even know there was such a thing before we left on our travels in 2009. Though our own process of living, traveling and learning naturally, we discovered there was a name for what we were doing, and that we were indeed “unschoolers”.
As a parent, I took my role in the process seriously, adapting a partnership paradigm in learning and life, being the best facilitator for my son, listening to his cues, offering support, providing resources and committed to learning right along side to him. We were conscious about this choice and took on the task of learning intentionally.
We made joint decisions about our lives, deciding where to go, when to go and how to live. We have been living in true partnership and both of our needs were being met as we learned to compromise and make adjustments along the way.
But as Miro moved into his teen years, community started to become a greater need for him. A couple of years ago, we were invited speak at an alternative education conference. We flew back to the States to make our presentation and received great feedback and support. But the greatest outcome from that trip were two points of clarity for Miro.
First, Miro realized that he was hyper sensitive to the commercialism which was a part of everyday American life. It is difficult to recognize that when you are living within the culture, but when you are away for a number of years the sensation seems stronger. Also, Miro perceived that people seemed very busy, interactions between strangers were more formal and disconnected. Miro reflected that he felt a great sense of freedom within our lifestyle and preferred that pace. Miro concluded that he preferred our life of travel and had no interest in returning to the States to live. At least for now.
But his second epiphany took me off guard.
During the conference, Miro connected with many other self directed learners (unschoolers) for the first time, in-real-life. Yeah, he had friends when he attended primary school in the States, with nothing more in common than being the same age and living within the same geographical area. He does not describe those friendships as deep in any way. But finally, as a 13 year old teenager, Miro came face to face with his peer group, an intelligent, quirky, liberal minded, self-directed group of teenage learners. “Finally”, he thought, “my community, my people”. And that experience alone, left an impression on Miro which changed the course of our lives.
We flew back to Peru, and furiously started to make plans to focus of our first planned immersive family retreat into a learning community specifically designed for teens (which it is now).
Now we are on our fourth year of producing teen retreats in the form of an immersive learning communities known as Project World School.
What is the vision for Project World School?
We hold the vision sacred, to co-create a learning community through the participation of all attendees, of every age, nationality, role, and walk of life during this retreat. We participate within a collective learning community allowing inspiration to flow through unlimited natural learning channels. The environment and community encourages exploring new grounds, stretching our comfort zones, and supporting our new interests, with a commitment to dignity and respect. Together we become conscious of our individual and collective world views within the context of our immersive experience. In the broader picture, we witness uncharted learning experiences that help expand individual and group identities within a cultural context serving to empower the creative human spirit. The goal is to engage all participants and encourage participation through multidisciplinary reflection, dialogue, vision-building, experimentation and exploration.
Every retreat focuses on a specific theme related to each of our host countries. In 2015 we will be hosting our first retreat in Ecuador and will host two others in Peru. Our learning communities merge immersive learning experiences with personal and social development focusing on global citizenship, cultural sensitivity, developing relationships, through exploring ethics and conflict resolution.
Participants both lead and follow in an atmosphere of dynamic co-creation and immersive discovery. Each day builds upon the last, with every exploration leading the group into uncharted directions.
However, this is not your typical study abroad program. Project World School utilizes the power of a learning community to produce a project driven by goals, knowledge acquisition, and changes in a global perspective.
What is the big picture goals for Project World School?
Our highest vision for Project World School is to be a catalyst for change, transforming individual world views that effect our collective perceptions of humanity. We do this through hosting immersive cultural learning experiences that promote personal development within the context of a global learning community.
We envision a time when Project World School becomes an integral part of self-directed learner’s adolescence. We envision a world where these teens go back to their homes and communities to make changes, share greater cultural awareness, and become thought leaders.
Project World School retreats will become a network of temporary learning communities throughout the world to encourage interaction before, during and after the month long events.
How do I find out more information?
Please visit our web site: ProjectWorldSchool.com
To sign up for the Project World School Newsletter, click this link.
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