The Wildflower Foundation is interesting.

As part of my research I like to see what exists out there.  I notice there is a growing and perhaps not so well documented trend on ‘learning centers’ starting up.

Learning centers to me are alternative ways and solutions to approaching ‘schooling’.  I’m almost tempted to call them ‘unschools’.  The name is not important, the idea is.  That of moving away from such a reliance of traditional schooling.

Learning centers exist in many different forms, and that is the beauty of it.  Wildflower Foundation is the first one I’ve come across that is more of a network than a learning center, yet they appear to be bringing many ‘schools’ together who share the same principles and are Montessori focused.

Wildflower is a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them. At the core of Wildflower are these 9 principles that define the approach.

Founded in 2016, the Wildflower Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization that supports the Wildflower network of Montessori schools. Our organization is an organic system, comprised of people helping one another to create beautiful and inclusive spaces for learning that support children, families, and teachers as they follow life’s unfolding journey.

Their principles are also interesting, summarised as:

  1. An Authentic Montessori Environment: providing a peaceful, mixed-age, child-directed environment
  2. A Teacher Led School: committed to remaining small, non-hierarchical and responsive to the needs of children

  3. A Shopfront Setting: a neighborhood-nested school committed to working in partnership with the surrounding community to create an environment that is healthier for children

  4. A Laboratory for Innovation - committed to exploring new ideas and the ongoing, scientific study and improvement of our practice

  5. A Seamless Learning Community - blurring the boundaries of home and school
  6. A Commitment to Equity - working to create diverse, inclusive learning environments that work for justice as the foundation of peace

  7. An Attention to Beauty - cultivating a deep beauty in all things – in the design, culture and artistic expression within our school environments; in our interactions with one another; and in our relationship with ourselves
  8. A Focus on Nature - emphasizing the nonseparation between nature and human nature
  9. A Decentralized Network - advancing an ecosystem of independent wildflower schools that mutually support one another, and sharing our approaches openly for the benefit of all children

It’s also interesting to see how the press write about them, for example - Wildflower Schools Blossom Amid Discontent With Education.

As I dug in a bit further it was also great to see that they take inspiration from the self management and TEAL.

Mostly I’m documenting here for my own memory’s sake, but it’s also refreshing to come across new models and projects.  I even got distracted looking at property AGAIN as it has long been in my heart to start a physical space that supports those that don’t want to be in school full time.