Intergenerational and Interdisciplinary Learning Community without borders
The Spring Academy idea was born in 2015 out of research into educational reform in Greece and any other country where educational choice is limited. This research was, and continues to be, in collaboration with educational reform experts and organisations from all over the world.
From 2017 until 2019 the Spring Academy operated as an annual 5 day temporary educational structure and weekend activities in Corfu.
It is evolving into a prototype stable educational structure and it is creating an online Spring Academy extending its activity beyond Corfu and Greece.
The Spring Academy is about embodied learning; it is acknowledged that the mind inhabits the body, the entire body, beyond the organ of the brain.
Mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a healthy body
the poet Juvenal (60-127 ad)
We are born with innumerable neurological abilities; instead of gradually losing these as we grow we can cultivate and expand them. With a playful attitude wisdom is unleashed; instincts and all intelligence are supported and empowered.
The arts and sciences play a central role in this approach.
We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
Ecological consciousness is the foundation of the Spring Academy. With the example, guidance and inspiration of the genius of nature we can evolve beyond what we are accustomed to accept as our limits.
In the context of formal and non-formal democratic, agile and self-directed approaches to learning, Spring Academy provides educational services that are used according to the user’s wishes and needs. Services that are accessible to all ages, to unschoolers, homeschoolers, worldschoolers, pupils, students, adults, refugees.
Modes of education that do not, in most places, fit into formal education, for example unschooling, self directed education, forest schooling, worldschooling, agile learning centers, and other autonomous, self-managed modes can have institutional/legal standing without having to be private. One of our aims is to integrate these forms of education into public education.
Children and adolescents can attend the Spring Academy as extracurricular activity or as an alternative to school. This depends on the user; for example a worldschooler can use it as an alternative and students are welcome to attend in addition to their schooling. A traveler, a nomad, an unschooler, a ‘schooler’, a short or long ‘termer’, a worldschooler, a ‘part timer’ or ‘full timer’ have equal access.
Within this international environment a variety of languages are at play, multilingualism is a fundamental element of the approach.
- is a global democratic, agile and self directed learning community for all ages and socio-economic situations
- gathers children, teenagers and adults to create open learning and exchange environments where the individual and her/his interests can “spring forth” into evolution
- promotes the art of wellbeing not giving ready answers but tools to look for answers allowing discovery driven by curiosity, creativity and imagination.
- is based on participatory governance (consent not majority based) and communication where all voices are equally relevant and taken into account.
- actively promotes its structure and offers it for open use as a template.
- creates passage to learning for the socio-economically marginalized.
- maintains international cooperation with education reform projects, academics, artists, teachers, writers, scientists, children and young people, foundations, research centers, schools, institutes, laboratories, theaters and more.
The learning that takes place at Spring Academy is:
- embodied, the body is fully involved
- ecological, it is founded in ecological living principles
- combinational, it combines different approaches and remains in evolution according to cultural and individual specifics. Democratic Education, Agile learning and Self directed learning are the main guidelines for Spring Academy’s principles.
- interdisciplinary, without separating boundaries between disciplines, allowing interaction, information and evolution between them
- hybrid, a combination of in person and on line learning.
- inclusive, equally accessible to the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people with mental, cognitive, emotional, physical, communication, mobility disabilities and to individuals and groups who have been hurt, expelled, marginalized such as refugees, unaccompanied minors, the poor, minorities, survivors.
- intergenerational, it restores the coexistence of generations and different ages within the same generation. It reconnects, within the learning environment, those who are usually separated into age groups.
- multi-cultural and multi-lingual, learning across borders. Usually specific, limited groups of people exchange with other specific, limited groups of people. These relational limitations open by bringing down barriers that exist in culture, language, geography, economy, society, disciplines, physical/mental conditions and age.
- trauma informed, consent based and free of adultist models.
Spring Academy promotes and supports the right to choose, to differ, tο self-direct and self-determine in life as a whole for all ages.
It “… guarantees to everyone the inviolability of freedom of conscience and the right to develop their personality freely in all aspects that compose it.” (Article 5 paragraph 1 of the Greek Constitution).
Τhe UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is fully realised.