For anyone interested in exploring the great variety and depth of alternative education projects happening in the United States and Canada today, there’s a new podcast that brings terrific interviews with educators of many stripes to your earbuds. The show is called Meetings with Remarkable Educators and is hosted by Ba Luvmour, a long-time educator and trainer of educators based in Portland, Oregon.
The podcast started only a couple of months ago. It features interviews and accompanying transcripts—which are really a nice little bonus—plus a fable or “teaching story” told by the host that is designed to spark thought and discussion.
The most recent guest was Phil Gang, a Montessori educator who is passionate about developing kids’ love of nature. Phil runs the Institute for Educational Studies at Endicott College and sees interaction with nature as a path to spiritual development for children: “There’s a certain kind of quietness and inner reflection that happens when they’ve been gardening. It just happens. . . . There’s excitement about it, but there’s also inner understanding.”
I especially enjoyed the interview with Paul Freedman, the founder of Salmonberry School in Washington state and the international Holistic Education Initiative. An advocate of “deep education,” Paul talked about his transition from public schools to a more holistic model sparked by the needs of his own son, who was “not a square peg kind of kid.” He explains his philosophy this way:
My holistic ideals include: Kids should be guided to author their own lives and learning. We should be striving to provide the space, the relationships, the environments and inspiration, the content that ignites kids' learning so that they can soar. Kids should be able to do that at their own pace. They should be able to follow their hearts in terms of passions and gosh, that should be fun. . . . We're all natural learning beings and given the time and space and support to let kids learn what they want to learn, when they want to learn with their friends and with a guiding teacher.
If you’re curious about where progressive, innovative schools are heading in the 21st century, the Meetings with Remarkable Educators podcast is a great opportunity to learn, and on Ba’s website he usually links to other information about his guests in case you want to know even more.