Little Lake Learning Community is an unschooling community and Agile Learning Center serving ages 5-18, and based in Ypsilanti, MI.
We’ve been open since 2010, operated collaboratively by the learners, staff, and parents of our community.
At the Little Lake Learning Community, our philosophy is fundamentally based in trusting young people to know what’s best for themselves. Our community practices are rooted in principles of autonomy, learning as natural and inevitable, experiences as greater than content, and growth as a process. Our community seeks to support learners to take ownership of their own education. All choices about what learners want to do with their day are considered educationally valid and there is no compulsory curriculum. Learners are able to freely explore their interests and find new resources and interests in a community of nurturing adults and other interested learners. Play is an integral part of learning. Through play, people explore new avenues of thought, are engaged intrinsically, and often run into problems which they themselves want to solve. Learning that is not integral to a person’s experience is often either uninteresting or forgettable. We strive to meet learners where they are at, and help them to learn what they feel is important to them. In doing so we aim to cultivate a learning space where young people make decisions for themselves and take responsibility for their education and continuing development, and more broadly still, themselves as individuals.
Young people are not oblivious to the world around them, in fact they are curious. All people learn at their own pace, whether they attend a traditional school or not. Our community fosters individual development according to a schedule that each learner feels comfortable with. Eventually reading, writing, math, science, etc. become important to the learner because they need to know these skills in order to meet their own goals. In short we strive to build a community where learner make the decisions which impact them.
In addition to an open curriculum and resources for diverse interests, we run our community on consensus with all decisions made by those that are affected by the outcomes. Using facilitation tools developed by other Agile Learning Centers, learner, staff, and often parents intentionally create community culture, make decisions on how the community functions, and navigate sharing a learning space together. Through participating in this process, young people learn to take action when they want to change something, consider the interests of others, and practice negotiating solutions that work for everyone.
- We believe in the power of democratic education to transform the lives of young people and help build a more vibrant, just, and sustainable society.
- We believe that young people ought to be active co-creators of their own learning and valued participants in a lively learning community.
- We believe in education that develops critical thought, care for others, and prepares the whole child (social, emotional, physical and intellectual).
- We are excited to work with you to rethink education and unite it with our mutual commitment to democracy, youth empowerment, and social justice.