After watching my own high school age daughter go through mainstream education, I became very dissatisfied with our current system of education. As much as we hear that the education system needs to be overhauled (and it seems like every five years there is another initiative to improve the system), I, for one, don't see any progress. The only "progress" is a system of more control, tighter security, and less freedom for students to find a path of their own choosing. At least when I attended school there was no need for "zero tolerance" policies, cameras, locked doors and identification badges.
The prospect of creating a community of like minded individuals where students and teachers can relate to and respect each other will create the real change that the world so desperately needs now and in the future. The change to a society based on mutual trust and compassion can only be truly realized with these values being re-established with the younger generation.
Although adults like you and I can now see the mistakes we made and our failures, we can only share that with others, with the hope that at this time in our evolution real change can take hold and grow. Our mission then as adults is not to teach the correct way of doing things but to share and gently offer guidance. For some of us that have had life changing experiences or others that just awaken one day, we realize that change must come from within each of us. To hear that calling from within and to make changes that will affect future generations, one must understand the interconnectivity of everything on the planet.
That is why I believe the "holistic" approach to education is the best bet to turning our world around. It does not take an acute sense of observation to see the destruction of the environment, the selfishness, the corruption and the precarious situation of our society today. People wonder how we arrived here at this point in time, and they may feel that it is too late for redemption and believe the end is near. Perhaps the end is near for things as we know them today and that is also okay, because in the normal cycle of life and time, endings just make way for new beginnings. This time, though the new beginning must be "new" and not based on the same warmed over notions that have failed repeatedly.
This is why it is so exciting that the concept of a school like the Greenshire School is being considered. The education concepts and the teaching through sharing, mutual respect, and community will hopefully instill in our young people that all is not lost. Just being in an atmosphere that is peaceful, connected, and respectful of the environment will send a powerful message to the students that attend. Most of the best lessons I have learned have not been taught to me from a book or otherwise. The best lessons that I have cherished are by another's actions or example. So by creating the correct environment in a natural setting will set the tone that life can be different at this particular school.
Today's students are so disconnected and herded into sterile classrooms and "taught" what a group of men and women in a state capital somewhere feels is best for the students to learn. Students are not treated as individual people any longer. They are just part of the next wave of "human resources". My experience with high school age students is that they just want to be respected as people and to be able to pursue what is meaningful to them. The high school students that I know are also very capable teachers in their own rite. Unfortunately, most of these wonderful people never get a chance to exercise their greatness. I learn something almost everyday form my seventeen year old daughter and her friends. They are all smarter than most adults acknowledge.
I truly believe that beginning a school like the Greenshire School will be a shining example of how things could be and need to be. This school will not be for everyone, as there needs to be a genuine understanding of what this type of learning environment will provide for these students. There are still those that believe that fierce competition, focus on the prize, and grades as a measurement of success, are the only way to continue our "progress". How many people that have been lucky enough to capture the prize have found that the prize did not make them happy? What it comes down to is that we really have nothing but each other and the planet we live on. Destroy the planet and continue to create a 'dog eat dog' mentality and society is doomed to failure.
Will the Greenshire School change the world tomorrow or next year? Maybe not. But it is obvious that we cannot expect change to begin using the current methods of operation. Changes are made by individuals that lead by their actions and not words and sound bytes. It is time for an educational experience like the Greenshire School. The time is right and the philosophy will truly make a difference in the lives of the young students who choose to attend. I wish you and Jim much success in this exceptional endeavor.
Brian Bogusz CHHP
Certified Holistic Health Coach