The children are our future and no matter how cliche that sounds, it is the truth. That’s why it’s vitally important we foster their growth, physical and non-physical, so they can become the future we want and desperately, need. In today’s world, there is no place kids spend more time than in school. With this reality, the nature of this environment is perhaps the most important factor in their journey. Unfortunately, the current school system is getting more in the way than clearing the path for them to shine. Children, and in fact, all humans, make the greatest gains when exploration is embraced. It seems obvious to me that a setting that encourages exploration while also providing regular engagement with the richest exploratory environment there is, nature, would be ideal for nurturing future leaders!
“Magic” Happens When Children are Allowed to Explore Nature and Foster Their Unique Genius
Nature has always been a fertile place of discovery and learning through observation. From philosophical giants like Aristotle, the father of science, to Isaac Newton, nature has provided the insights that have led the scientific theories that have shaped our world. When an inquisitive human mind is allowed to explore nature and foster their unique genius, “magic” happens! We need to enable this synergy to take place.
This is why children need to stay connected, or, unfortunately, get back their connection to nature. Richard Louv has written about this in his three books, which include Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. This is also the motivation behind our presentation at the Children and Nature Network International Conference happening in Vancouver from April 18th to 21st, 2017 where Louv is presenting the keynote.
Exploration is What Science is All About
It is what art and creativity are all about. Exploration has taken us from a cave and fire to summit the tallest mountain peaks, navigate the depths of the ocean and even, put us on the moon. When we tell children to memorize and regurgitate information or restrict their independent style to conform with an imaginary ideal of the average human, we take away their wings. We also sideline the discoveries, accomplishments, and solutions of the future. This needs to change.
This is why the creation of facilities like the Xploration Centre can have a profoundly positive impact on our future. The health of our planet, our species and our relationship to the world around us rely on a qualitatively different education than is found in the public system today. When an awakened group of motivated individuals come together to create such a paradigmatic shift, it’s worth celebrating! This is happening now and it couldn’t be better timing.
From my formal training and experience in education, philosophy, health, and outdoor recreation, certain insights, gaps, and needs have crystallized in my mind as they apply to the healthy development of children. As a parent myself, my investment in these realizations goes beyond theory, a job or a discussion. The potential for my own children to thrive now and as adults is something front and center in my mind each and every day. The thing is, it’s not enough just to have my own kids flourish. As they grow up, they need to engage with other children and subsequently, adults, that will compliment, support and reflect their best selves. The value of a community approach that can both nourish my own children and provide them with peers to learn with and from, is a concept that is too often missed in the existing school system that echoes with negative consequences into all our futures.
Out of the murky waters of the existing school system comes hope…
There are schools that currently exist that offer a different approach to education and consequently, the possibility of a world that we and future generations can be excited about. However, they are far and few between. Thankfully, there are people with vision who care. In fact, right here on Vancouver Island, from the hearts and minds of conscious parents, enlightened educators, and heart-centered visionaries, a new paradigm has sprouted.
The Xploration Centre is scheduled to be the first of a series of facilities that plans to roll out in the United States, Canada and anywhere else there is a desire and will for a better future nurtured by better education. The vision has been inspired by Phillip Moore’s 42-year stint running the Upland Hills Farm School in Michigan and the Conscious Teacher training offered via trimtab.in. Gordy Bal, a Victoria technopreneur and the visionary founder, has carved out the first opportunity for the Victoria community through his charismatic interaction with Phil, Dr. Shefali and the team of change-makers that have come together to make a dream a reality.
A Rare Vision of Education
This rare vision of education captures both the fostering of exploration and the invaluable interaction with nature that is instrumental in allowing each child’s genius to be revealed and nurtured. While we continue to race forward with innovation and integrating technology in every aspect of our lives, creating a place that gives children an opportunity to be their unique wonderful selves grounded in the natural world while being encouraged to explore with the fuel of their innate inquisitiveness can be crucial to a balanced development.
We will need children that both appreciate nature and feel comfortable being pioneers in reshaping a world that continues to subdue individuality into the faceless mass plugged into a virtual existence commanded by consumerism and big data. If humans are to offer anything more than the artificial intelligence robots that are inevitably going to replace many of our roles, it will need to happen in the areas of exploration and the fuzzy relationships we have with all life on Earth
Whether you have children or not, this is something that is important to all our futures and the quality of life on this planet. This is clear by the success the Xploration Centre has already experienced in its short time of crowdfunding. I urge you to check out this campaign, learn more about this vision and become a part (in whatever way you can) of this mission for a better future through an enlightened education paradigm.