We have a solid foundation
We focus on 3
WyldFlower Learning Community is a non-traditional private school serving students K-12th grade located in Sheridan Wyoming. We have a foundation of self-governance and self-directed learning. WyldFlower values creative thinkers and curious go-getters. At WyldFlower, we also deeply value democracy and civic participation. By creating a space in which democracy lives, wonder grows unhindered, and independence blossoms- children’s natural response is to thrive, reach, and grow.
Humans are wired to develop knowledge, skills, and intelligence. They consistently find unique ways of being and doing. Immersed in opportunities and challenges of the real world, scaled-down, children naturally develop into informed, active adults committed to making their community, and the world, a better place to live.
When LIFE is the curriculum, and each child/learner is on their own journey, how do you “do school”? If each community member has the freedom to pursue their own interests, how do you know if these Self-Directed kids are learning?
This is where our Roots come into play. These are the foundational structures we focus on at WyldFlower. While we don’t grade and we don’t test, we do stay in conversation with and in relation with each other. We check in periodically to see how things are going and to make sure we are supporting each child in their learning. It means the Staff stays very agile and attuned to the space!
Our Self-Directed Communities Roots include:
Here is the VLOG for this post! If you would rather watch/listen- join us here.
What is Self-Development?
Self-Development includes these main areas:
– Cognitive/Intellectual Development: An environment of interested and interesting people is intellectually and socially stimulating. Allison Gopnik points out through decades of research, that children are also hard-wired to learn. Gopnik has also documented how they become resilient, confident, knowledgeable, and skilled when in an environment where adults are more like gardeners and less like carpenters.
– Physical: Healthy bodies, healthy minds.
– Social/Emotional: Self-aware, empathetic, and compassionate.
– Spiritual: Allowing them to reflect on their positive actions, and beliefs, with opportunities to deepen their own values.
– Personal Growth: Developmental medical and psychological research has long documented that an individual progresses at a unique pace.
A person needs space and time to allow individual passions to sprout and flourish.
“Prepare your child for the path, instead of the path for the child”
——– Dr. Tim Elmore
Students need support and experience to gain a deep understanding of one’s unique strengths and struggles. We prepare the student for the path, not dictate what course each student should take. We want to cultivate an environment that challenges the individual to get to know themselves better and improve themselves mentally, physically, and socially; To see them develop the grit it takes to conquer fears and overcome obstacles in life. Childhood is a journey to independence. Students thrive on exploration. Given the time, space, and engagement, they can develop mastery of knowledge and skills with incredible accuracy.
What about Civic Engagement?
Civics is a hands-on, daily experience at WyldFlower. Learners are engaged in an ongoing project of running a democracy. They learn the importance of community involvement, the concept of justice, and what it takes to be a citizen for a healthy democracy to operate. The heart of the school is the Judicial Committee and School Meeting. The mechanisms for law establishment and enforcement. Justice is sought and each player on the scene is treated with kindness and respect.
I will do a whole post on the JC and School Meeting concepts in the near future. Stay tuned! Follow the blog to make sure you get updates!
How do you define Environmental Awareness?
Great question, glad you asked 😉
At WyldFlower we believe that to build environmental awareness and to truly understand the natural world, one must actually see the natural world.
By visiting nature we mean actually being in the trees, and the mountains. Seeing the wildlife and observing the scenery. We provide time and space for our community to develop a deep affection and connection to the wild spaces we explore.
From this connection to their environment flows a desire and awareness to attend to its needs and limited resources. To make sure there is sufficient time for this natural relationship to develop, we spend a significant portion of our day outside.
So just to recap, our Roots include
Life as the curriculum creates the perfect environment for learners to make meaningful connections between what they are learning through doing, and the community in which they grow- Learning through the lens of “The world is my classroom” gives context and immediate meaning to everything we learn.