Self-organized pedagogical community
We are a self-organized, self-managed pedagogical community, consisting of parents, educators and children. We are motivated by our desire to look for and to experiment with a different pedagogical approach in educating children.
Our team began as a children’s hangout with weekly meetings of parents and children. Then, the group was enriched with the introduction of educators and now has its own space in Agria, Volos. Educators and children meet daily while parent-educator meetings are held weekly.
In our daily morning meetings, we do not adopt a particular pedagogical system but we choose the independence and the flexibility in organizing the school environment and our pedagogical attitude. We have composed data from the new, radical and modern pedagogy and we have defined the content of our educational framework.
Our pedagogical principles
We respect children and their right to gain personal experiences. We promote self-care and independence of the children, believing that through the individual satisfaction of their basic needs, the free choice of activities and the self-management of their relations, children acquire real contact with themselves and gain faith in their abilities.
We have developed a scientifically organized environment that gives each person the necessary freedom to express themselves, to develop their creativity and get to know their powers. The children express their feelings and live as equal members of the community without the enforcement of 'adult' ethics. Reward and punishment are absent in our team. However, limits are not absent. Their existence offers security to children and ensures the smooth functioning of the group and cohabitation between different people.
Learning is an experiential process to us that starts with the active participation of the individual and takes place through experience and trying. The person itself decides what, when and how she/he wants to learn. We respect each child's time-rhythm and we make sure that the environment is organized in such a way as to provide rich stimuli for collective and individual activities that meet the needs of all children.
We create the framework to avoid any form of dogmatism to be nurtured. We do not cultivate national and religious beliefs in children, but we make sure that school enhances the acceptance of diversity (race, gender, disability, etc.), free expression of the children’s views and the critical contact with reality. Furthermore, we understand that children need to discover their body, their needs and their eroticism and we do not penalize any of these.
The morning community works with mixed ages (children 3 years and older), so younger children have the opportunity to observe the work of the older ones and older children have the opportunity to offer assistance to the younger children and to be co-educated.
The role of educators-companions is supportive with the purpose to lead to the gradual conquest of independence and not only aiming at imposing or serving the child. "Help your child to act on his/her own and find the ideal limits of this help beyond which the adult becomes an obstacle" (Maria Montessori).
Operation of adult team
The meeting of parents and educators makes decisions, and (self)manages the community issues. Decisions are not made by a majority, but they are shaped based on the wishes and needs of all community members. The community does not work with assignments, but personal devotion of each person involved is essential. The project is based on personal participation and is oriented towards mutual assistance and solidarity. To ensure our independence from government and private bodies, we operate based on contributions from community members and actions for financial support that we organize.
In the current sociopolitical conditions, we propose the existence of self-organized educational communities that respect the needs of childhood and operate on the principles of solidarity, freedom, trust and sharing.