Educational Alternatives Summer Gathering Manifesto
Education often forms part of an ideological battleground, and it appears that we are destined to form part of it, or change the paradigm completely. Are there really no alternatives to conventional schooling? From home education to democratic schools, distance schools, non-directive educational communities, alternative projects, play groups in nature, unschooling…each and every person who takes place in these experiences aside from the conventional school system forms part of a wider collective that is looking for something different for the children and adults that accompany them in the adventure of learning and growing. Because of this, in recognition of what binds us together, in celebration of our differences, and with the knowledge that there is strength in unity, it gives us great pleasure to announce the Educational Alternatives Summer Gathering.
At the gathering we shall have conferences, debates, talks, workshops, presentations, games, songs…but above all we’ll have time to meet each other, find each other, recognize each other and generate synergies and affinities to enjoy and share.
We’ll look for ways to help each other, to be in contact, and ensure that freedom of education is a reality. Together we are stronger, the participation of any of us could be crucial in changing a mind, an idea, a life…
Therefore we offer the possibility for anyone, or any group, to be a collaborator in this gathering. The idea is that the gathering will lead to a process of communication and collaboration between all the members of the community who are looking for alternatives to conventional schooling and education.
In a world where there is more and more political pressure to ensure the compulsory nature of state schooling, to extend it to the first years and months of life, it is important that the collective who want something different to an out-of-date hierarchical model should be listened to and respected, because not only is another type of education possible, it is happening here and now. It is fundamental that we know how to transmit to society at large the validity and sense of other models of learning, and, as in any movement, the more people actively participating, the more force is generated, the clearer we can explain ourselves. But at the same time we realize that the success of experiences away from the conventional compulsory school model can also depend on factors such as a local support network, the necessary human warmth of our fellow travellers or a little inspiration when it is sorely needed. This understanding makes it even more important that we join our energies together to learn from each other, to learn from the different paths that lead to such similar places, or indeed from different destinations, but crossing paths as we go along. We’ll meet in Ugena! We’ll see each other there, we need each other.