#2 Finland's Public Education System, Helsinki, Finland. 1972 - 1984

Photo credit: Connie Giffin

Photo credit: Connie Giffin

Finland’s holistic model encourages year round outdoor activity; bicycles being the favored mode of student transportation. Each student is nurtured and supported to realize their highest individual potential thus creating a society and economic base that serves all of its members. Both public and private schools offer the same educational program and equal opportunity. The parent’s level of belief and trust in their government’s capacity to provide the best possible education for their children and society is unsurpassed.  Agreeing to Pearson Education’s standardized testing of their students for the purpose of ranking educational success in the industrialized nations, in 2012 Finland’s students shared the top honors with South Korea’s industrial model education and continue to rank among the world’s top educational systems. 

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, the nation-state transition of the public education system through university or technical college level was created and implemented between 1972 and 1984. Having limited raw materials to produce products, this country choose to invest in its greatest resource: its people. Its purpose was to create an equitable education for all its learners to further serve the country’s vision in the best interests of all its citizens. Teaching is supported, autonomous, and highly respected. Government funded, it charges no tuition and provides support such as meals and transportation when needed.

Photo credit: Connie Giffin

Photo credit: Connie Giffin

 

 

Photo credit: Connie Giffin

Photo credit: Connie Giffin

Finland’s greatest achievement may be in demonstrating that a nation-state holds the capacity to change and even discard its outmoded industrial era education system at the public level and create a system that is appropriate to serve the current needs of its population. The system is periodically evaluated and revised to better fulfill the current and future needs of the society it serves. In August, 2016, The Finnish National Board of Education will introduce a new core curriculum for basic education.  It emphasizes the joy of learning and the pupils’ active role. It is based on the learning concept that positive emotional experiences, collaborative working and interaction, and creative activity enhance learning. It further emphasizes the importance of learning environments and methods, guidance and individualization, and assessment. To learn more visit: http://www.oph.fi/english 

#3 Green School, Bali, Indonesia, Founded by John & Cynthia Hardy in 2008

Located in Bali, Indonesia, Green School is the vision of John and Cynthia Hardy come to life in 2008 when they sold their lucrative jewelry business and   provided an endowment to sustain the school independent of the government. Tuition and property rental provides additional funding security. The school campus and community are architectural wonders created in bamboo in an award winning new biophilic design by a team of local and international architects led by daughter Elora.  This innovative campus literally arose out of the jungle overnight. Green School is a private institution offering kindergarten through secondary level education.  Having high visibility and global appeal, it attracts both international learners and currently 8% local indigenous scholarship students offering a rich cultural exchange and sustainable lifestyle.  Its aim is to nurture students in an ecological learning environment that empowers and inspires them to be creative, innovative green leaders.

 

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Unique in that students at Green School “live” in nature, including their open classrooms, absorbing its valuable lessons naturally, experientially with other students of all heritages. Following an iRespect format, learners develop a love and reverence for all that nature offers, including fellow classmates. Their iRespect format consists of 8 values: integrity, responsibility, empathy, sustainability, peace, equality, community, and trust. Growing rapidly it currently provides a holistic, nature based education.

Founder John Hardy recognized a unique opportunity to create something truly inspiring and “outside of the structural, conceptual, and physical limitations of many traditional schools”. He called upon his guiding principle from his past success in his jewelry business, “to do well by doing good”. From the beginning, John and Cynthia’s approach to business was about making jewelry while being respectful to Bali’s land, its environment, its people and its culture. Their approach to education reflects these same values. 

To learn more visit: http://www.greenschool.org   http://www.ibuku.com 

 

#4 Prescott College for the Arts, Environment and Social Justice, Prescott, AZ founded by Dr. Charles Franklin Parker in 1963

            Photo Credit: www.prescott.edu

            Photo Credit: www.prescott.edu

With campuses in Prescott and Tucson, Arizona, USA, Kino Bay, Mexico, it is the result of a Ford Foundation challenge to a group of educators to create an ideal college for the future. Founded in 1972 it was known as the Harvard of the West. It serves learners from seventeen to seventy through residential and low residency, self-directed experiential programs. Its’ main headquarters is an evolving biophilic campus which has been awarded numerous honors as a green, solar powered facility. Accredited as a private liberal arts college, it offers bachelor through doctoral programs. Its adventure based educational program is most popular with today’s learners. It relies on tuition, grants and private funding sources. Its purpose is to transform diverse learners into leaders who make a difference while making a living. 

Prescott College has experienced many phases in its 50 year history evolving today as a college for the arts, environment and social justice. It is one of few US colleges offering a true self-directed learning opportunity while enjoying traditional North Central Accreditation and high US ratings. Its low residency program serves mainly working young adults and life-long learners. Choosing what they will study under an accredited academic umbrella, learners follow minimal guidelines to design their curriculum, each course within it, and how they will study experientially. Prescott’s graduates in its 3 degree programs attest to its success. Their lives follow diverse paths, all fulfilling the college’s stated purpose.  It is blessed to have a determined group of founders to support it through financial upheavals, believing in its purpose and historically refusing to let it die. Today it is financially sound and continues to receive numerous awards for its innovative model and self-sustaining campus. Leading it into the future, President John Flicker, is deeply versed in nature having served as president of the National Audubon Society for the past 15 years, and the Nature Conservancy for the previous 21 years. It has a 2020 Plan guiding it to stay the course of providing relevant to today’s students’ needs, self-directed, experiential education to its learners. To learn more visit: http://www.prescott.edu

#5 Tamara’s Escola da Esperanca, Colos, Portugal founded by Zegg Community Members in 1995.

       Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

       Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

In Colos, Portugal, The School of Hope is a work in process. It is part of the Tamara solar centered peace village founded in 1995. This village is an extension of the Zegg Community founded by Peter Duhm in Belzig, Germany in 1972.  The new location was ideal for pursuit of the solar village, a sustaining component and teaching resource. The school concept is certified and its physical space being created within the biophilic eco-village grounds. Oskar Eckmann is the project coordinator. Its’ concept follows the teachings of founder Peter Duhm. It now offers an open system of distance learning, internships within the community and in outside industries for all children in the region. Most village children live partially independent from their parents in The Place of the Children center. Tuition is charged for students outside the community To learn more visit: http://www.tamera.org

#6 Terra Nova School, Colos, Portugal was founded by Tamara Research Center residents in 2013.

On May 1, 2013, in Colos, Portugal, ten Tamara Research Center young residents launched a worldwide educational platform to serve as a catalyst for global system-change to create a new earth without violence or war. Monthly study packets are provided for groups consisting of five to thirty members and delivered by internet globally. Annual gatherings at various group locations are planned. Within three months of its conception, 100 study groups in 30 countries were formed. Charging no tuition, a small material cost fee may follow. It is currently establishing educational centers around the globe. Supported by Tamara’s founder Peter Duhm, this exuberant and determined group is making giant inroads into reaching a large number of young people instilling in them the concept of living in peace and the means to create a system change to bring the desired result.

As its guiding tenant, the Terra Nova School “establishes international cooperation for the development of a humane form of existence without fear and violence. The school offers education in global consciousness, community building, healing love and creating a realistic utopia for the future. It combines the social, ecological and spiritual knowledge needed to manifest a world based on cooperation, solidarity and trust. It follows a new principle of peace activism – the building of a new information field. War, oppression and destruction originate from a global matrix of violence. It proposes the present world follows the morphogenetic field of war where – the morphogenetic field of peace. This action would be a fundamental system change from the old matrix of violence to a new matrix of trust and cooperation”. To learn more visit: http://www.terra-nova-school.org 

 

#7 Pestalozzi School, Quito, Ecuador, was founded by Mauricio and Rebecca Wild in 1982

Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

Far ahead of its time and hit hard by the currency change to the dollar, Pestalozzi School currently operates from a single new location in the eastern section of Quito. Co-founder Rebecca Wild passed away on November 2nd, 2015. Mauricio is in failing health. Their son Leonardo, a successful author, playwright, and inventor, may be the key to continuation of this amazingly successful educational model. In September, 2014, founding members Alizee Ledecq and Sarah Gagney of La Cite Ecologique School of Life in Quebec and I had the privilege of visiting the school and collaborating with both Mauricio and Rebecca and son Leonardo. It was a valuable experience for which we are grateful.

 

Adapted from the original Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi’s open school model and influenced by Montessori and others, Fundacion Ecucativa Pestalozzi was established near Quito, Ecuador in 1982. It was founded by Mauricio and Rebecca Wild as a kindergarten to accommodate their 2nd son’s educational needs. Hoping to avoid the disastrous experience their first son Leonardo endured until age 13 when he bailed out of the system, they created a learning environment to stimulate each child’s curiosity and promote learning at the optimum moment in their developmental path. In this school, indigenous students learn alongside those from wealthy expat parents. Self-regulating governance insures respect of self, others, and school facilities.

 

 

 

 

This simplistic open classroom learning environment serves all learners who express interest regardless of socio-economic status. In its’ over thirty year history Pestalozzi School has never refused a learner for lack of tuition. In addition to an educational model, Mauricio Wild also created viable community based solutions to serve the parents of poorer students. Its purpose is to inspire students to learn and complete their education.  Much learning is conducted in nature, a second natural stimulating classroom. This model, at one time expanded to multiple locations, and aspired to serve primary, secondary, and higher education in a country which is only now awakening to the dire need to become a leader in educational reform in South America. Mauricio envisioned it to be the model for his country’s public education system.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

#8 Yachana Training Center, Napo River, Amazon, Ecuador was founded by Douglas McMeekin in 1995

This newly constructed training center and adjoining Yachana Lodge, an eco-lodge school, are the culmination of the Yachana Foundation’s 24 years’ experience in community-based solutions to poverty and environmental conservation along the Napo River in Ecuador’s Amazon region. US born Douglas McMeekin struggled without support for his dyslexia to succeed in earning his BA at age 28. In 1986, following business failures in Kentucky, he visited friends in Ecuador. He became aware and appreciative of the wealth of knowledge of the indigenous peoples. Intuitively he realized his purpose was to contribute to solving the social and environmental problems in the Amazon. He founded the Yachana Foundation in 1991. Yachana in Quichua language means “place of learning”. Failures of the existing bureaucratic educational system and its prejudice against indigenous and rural children focused his efforts to education of the youth. The foundation has improved lives through: building local community schools, health clinics, pharmacies, agricultural organizations, micro-finance projects, environmental sustainability programs, eco-tourism management and community development initiatives.  

 

       Photo credit: www.yachanafoundation.com  

       Photo credit: www.yachanafoundation.com

 

       Photo Credit: www.yachanafoundation.com

       Photo Credit: www.yachanafoundation.com

McMeekin proposes “a vocation should hold meaning and passion for the learner and education should be relevant to the vocation”. He further believes the young people of the Amazon to be the most effective agents of positive change for the social, economic and environmental stability in the region. As one of its guiding principles, The Yachana Foundation, advocates “the future of the tropical forest is inextricably linked to the well-being of its inhabitants”. To learn more visit: http://www.yachana.com 

 

       Photo Credit: www.yachanafoundation.com  

       Photo Credit: www.yachanafoundation.com

 

The first school, the Yachana Technical High School opened as a non-traditional boarding school in 1995 serving youth who live 3 or more hours travel from a public school. Government restrictions and factors beyond control of the foundation forced its closure in 2010. But new and greater opportunities awaited McMeekin. Selling the original lodge to a non-profit organization opened the way to create the new facilities within the foundation’s remaining 2500 acre reserve. The emergent education model McMeekin believes, “holds the greatest promise for educating Amazon and all remotely located Indigenous youth”. The lodge school and training center offer hands on, experiential learning in practical occupations for learners in 7 Indigenous tribes. These include: entrepreneurship, permaculture and organic food production, cutting edge yet simple, feasible technologies such as compost toilets, unique solar hot water, and bio-digester system, and a terabyte server system that runs

 

 

25 computers with LED screens and 514 watts total energy consumption with low heat production as a side benefit. The hotel school is Ecuador’s only eco-lodge that trains Amazon youth in hotel management and leadership and has received numerous eco-tourism awards. In close co-operation with the Ecuadoran Minister of Education, it employees certified teachers who provide long weekend classes in basic academic subjects preparing learners to meet traditional high school diploma requirements. Combined, these efforts develop leadership and technical skills that enable Amazon youth to remain in the rain forest region, find work or be entrepreneurs: a concept that could serve many remote regions around the globe. Ecuador’s Minister of Education currently cannot meet the minimum requirements established by law in the remote rainforest and fails to serve this portion of its youth; a gap Yachana may well succeed in fulfilling.

#9 International Foundation of Holistic Education, Guadalajara, Mexico, founded by Ramon Gallegos Nava in 2005

            Photo Credit: www.ramongallegos.com

            Photo Credit: www.ramongallegos.com

Gallegos believes the purpose of his holistic model to be, “Holistic education is a thoughtful response to the ecological, cultural, and moral challenges of our age. It aims to inspire young people to live wisely and responsibly in a sustainable and compassionate society, and to contribute to the building of such a society”. To learn more visit: http://www.ramongallegos.com 

 

Located in Guadalajara, Mexico, this institution was founded by Ramon Gallegos Nava in 2005 for the sole purpose of bringing holistic education training to Spanish speaking learners. It offers bachelor through post-graduate degrees in holistic education. It serves students from twenty nations through low residency on line programs and hosts a large annual conference. It charges a minimal tuition fee affordable for many lower income students. Gallegos and his model have received world acclaim. The school has been a major contribution to the education revolution and a tremendous gift to thousands of Latin speaking learners and educational leaders. 

#10 Det Nodvendige Seminarium DNS, Tvind, Denmark, was founded by community members in 1972

         Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

Photo Credit: Unidentified student!

Photo Credit: Unidentified student!

In addition to serving its international student population, one founding member accepted the challenge of giving criminal youth a second chance, offering them the opportunity to create happy, purposeful lives. These youth live on campus in separate quarters. Within a self-supporting small group of teachers, they are loved until they learn to love and respect themselves. The experiment resulted in developing ethical, productive members of society and continues to thrive to date.

This is a courageous, innovative model of holistic education reinforced by the forward thinking of its founders. Its motto “The World Needs Teachers” is glorified by the caliber of educator its program produces. Its’ promotional slogan reflects its purpose. It reads, “One teacher can change a life. Many teachers can change a world”.  Training enough teachers to change the world is its hope. To learn more visit: http://www.dns-tvind.dk 

 

 

 

 In Tvind, Ulfborg, Denmark, in 1972, an essential teachers’ training school was established by an extraordinary determined community who, against all odds, first built the world’s tallest windmill with all recycled mechanical parts. It stands today as a model for the world. International in scope, this college is a descendent of the Folk or people schools started in Denmark in 1925 with roots dating back to 1844. 

 

 

 

Traveling by bus to Africa and European countries, camping and experientially learning first-hand what is needed as teachers, 16 students and their mentor plan and execute this essential phase of their education. It awards a bachelor of pedagogy degree through its affiliate One World University in Mozambique, Africa. Tuition based, built into its design is the means for each student to fund their tuition and expenses. DNS operates from a spacious biophilic environmental campus located in a rural area in the far north of Denmark, powered solely by its infamous windmill. It succeeds in producing intelligent, savvy, and compassionate educators sorely needed to redirect humanity’s misguided course. 

 

Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

Photo Credit: Connie Giffin

#11 Barefoot College, Tilonia, India founded by Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy in 1972

       Photo Credit: www.barefootcollege.com

       Photo Credit: www.barefootcollege.com

A non-governmental organization, Barefoot College has become a social movement focusing on women. It has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in poor rural areas for over 40 years, making them self-sufficient and sustainable. It delivers solar electrification, clean water, education, livelihood development, and activism. It teaches practical skills that enhance the life of the learner, their family and community. The current campus was built in 1982 by 100,000 local residents. It is currently opening 6 new solar electric training centers. It serves the poorest villages in multiple countries. No tuition is charged. Thousands upon thousands benefit from the work of the Barefoot University.

      Photo Credit: www.barefootcollege.com

      Photo Credit: www.barefootcollege.com

Located in a rural village in Tilonia, India, this college was founded in 1972 by Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy, a young privileged Indian college graduate who choose to spend his life helping raise the poor out of poverty through education. Unlike other models this school follows the will of the people and offers no degrees nor allows MA or PhD instructors.  Barefoot College began by its founder recognizing a valuable asset, its wealth of willing grandmothers, and teaching them to become solar engineers in 6 months. In repayment they each teach other grandmothers, often with languages other than their own of which they have no understanding. Still they learn. Together these solar engineers have succeeded in lighting thousands of villages. Unlike most similar efforts, these villagers are taught to retain ownership of their solar enterprise, thus assuring the projects benefit the people for whom they are created. Making a tremendous impact on society, these grandmothers brought electricity to light schools for their girls who attend family livestock during the day and classes at night. 

            Photo Credit: www.barefootcollege.com

            Photo Credit: www.barefootcollege.com

It is a model for utilizing grassroots solutions to resolve human created destruction by capitalizing upon the power of co-operation and collaboration to achieve miraculous like results. Barefoot College strongly believes, “Empowering women as agents of sustainable change” is a viable solution. To learn more visit: http://www.barefootcollege.org 

#12 Project NatureConnect, Friday Harbor, WA, USA, was founded by Michael J, Cohen in 1985

Located in Friday Harbor, WA, USA, this institute was founded three decades ago based upon the founder, Michael J. Cohen’s, Trailside Outdoor Programs and the original National Audubon Society Expedition Institute program and curriculum he developed 55+ years ago. For over 40 years Cohen has himself lived outdoors and educated learners in natural areas year round. This institute offers low to work exchange tuition to students from multiple disciplines offering essential education to enhance their existing course of study or serve as their major. BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Ecopsychology are internationally accredited and conferred through Akamai University in Hawaii. Certificate and credit courses are provided through Portland State University.

 

 

       Photo credit: www.ecopsych.com

       Photo credit: www.ecopsych.com

Eco-psychologist, scientist, author and musician, Cohen founded and, at 86, continues to coordinate Project NatureConnect, a distance learning degree program and extended education workshop from The Institute of Global Education, a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization. He chairs the Department of Integrated Ecology from his headquarters on San Juan Island, Washington, and networks his Natural Systems Thinking Process globally. Future plans for the institute include nature based workshops offered in Cohen’s natural setting on San Juan Island. To learn more visit: http://www.pnc.org 

 

      Photo Credit: www.ecopsych.com 

      Photo Credit: www.ecopsych.com 

Reconnecting learners in all professions with their biophilic link to nature through their 54 natural senses in order to restore balance and harmony to their once nearly perfectly functioning earth home is the project’s purpose. Cohen states what he does is, “operate a self-organizing Education, Counseling and Healing with Nature program within the balancing love and intelligence of the life of Organism Earth instead of the walls of a school building”. He does it with love and gusto! Since nature has no spoken language, it is difficult to adequately express the power of his process in words. It is sensed, through 54, not 5 natural senses, the senses with which all humans arrive at birth.

 

Photo Credit: www.ecopsych.com 

Photo Credit: www.ecopsych.com 

#13 Self Organizing Learning Invironment (SOLE), Newcastle, UK, founded by Sugata Mitra from his Hole in the Wall experiments beginning in 1999.

School in the Cloud or Cloud Granny as it is affectionately called allows learning to happen anywhere by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and ability to work. Currently headquartered in Newcastle, UK, this project is the outcome of India’s social researcher, Sugata Mitra’s, innovative “Hole in the Wall” experiments using a free access computer to study poor Indian children’s learning patterns. It has been replicated in numerous studies in multiple countries. The addition of a caring person standing behind children, offering simple encouragement, was Mitra’s source of inspiration.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit:  www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

Photo Credit:  www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

A similar, virtual resource educational bank available to all learners with content provided by elder professionals based on their knowledge and experience is now being developed. This project will further expand the potential of the original concept and utilize a rich resource in the process. For recent stories of SOLE success visit: www.tedsole.tumblr.com   

 

Photo Credit: TED 2011 Delhi, India

Photo Credit: TED 2011 Delhi, India

Now supported by a TED grant through the University of Newcastle, Self-organizing Learning Environment virtual learning pods employee mediators (grannies) to interact, support, and encourage learning.  It is a grand co-mingling of psychology and technology to produce a valuable support system for underserved learners. Growing to be a successful model in several countries, and gaining global attention, a major enterprise to move it to global status is sought. 

 

 

Photo Credit: /rongrypmagmail.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/first-school-in-the-cloud1.jpg

Photo Credit: /rongrypmagmail.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/first-school-in-the-cloud1.jpg