The Wisdom of Letting Go

Donella Meadows, author of Thinking in Systems: A Primer, suggests that the best way to create change in a system is to transcend paradigms. She suggests that we “keep oneself unattached in the arena of paradigms” and recognize that all paradigms are a “tremendously limited understanding of an immense and amazing universe that is far beyond human comprehension” (2008, p. 164). The author writes that when we “listen to the universe” we live from a place of “radical empowerment” (2008, p. 164). Can we surrender to this degree and root our actions in the immense aliveness within? Margaret Wheatley, in her book Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time, writes “Certainty doesn’t give us

Honoring the Individual Experience

Honoring the individual experience is the first step as we try to facilitate a paradigm shift towards sustainable education. In his book Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, philosopher John O’Donohue says, “each person is the custodian of a completely private, intimate world” (O’Donohue, 1997, p. 40). The inner life is so deeply personal and intimate. No other person on the planet will ever experience life exactly the way we do, and it is detrimental to ignore this rich inner life. Parker Palmer, a pioneer in recovering the heart of education, warns us that “if we don't start getting as concerned about educating that heart, that human inwardness from where work of every sort flows, we are mi

Emergent Learning is Engaged Learning

Traditionally, curriculum is paced and delivered according to established standards. The learning and subsequent results are pre-planned without allowing much room for learner-initiated exploration. After realizing that this was the norm in our current education system, I wondered, What if things were different? At Springhouse, we engage in learning that is different - learning that is emergent. A pedagogical approach commonly found in Reggio Emilia-inspired learning environments, emergent learning refers to education that is responsive rather than prescribed or predetermined. According to Elizabeth Jones, co-author of Emergent Curriculum, in her NAEYC article entitled “The Emergence of Emer

“What Goes Around Comes Back Around”

What does a sustainable community look like? We don’t have to look far for models of sustainable interdependence - healthy natural ecosystems are living examples of what it takes to sustain the web of life, and we have a lot to learn from these living systems as we work on building our own socially and ecologically sustainable communities. One of the biggest lessons of living systems, according to physicist and Systems Theorist Fritjof Capra, is that “both ecological communities and human communities derive their essential properties, and in fact their very existence, from their relationships.” Vibrant relationships within a community allow for complex feedback loops where individuals and th

“If You Don’t Initiate the Young, They Will Burn Down the Village Just to Feel the Heat”

At Springhouse, we value healthy psycho-spiritual development. It is part of our mission to foster the healthy development of youth, young adults, and adults. We see that our society is struggling in many ways as we are faced with complex problems. One of these problems, writes depth psychologist and wilderness guide, Bill Plotkin, is that many adults in our culture are developmentally still in their adolescence. The implications of this lack of mature adults is that our teenagers do not receive proper guidance or support. We take heed in the warning of the African proverb: If you don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village just to feel the heat. We know that adolescence is a t

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Springhouse Community School is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It is also a community of people with respect for diversity. The school emphasizes the dignity and equality common to all persons and adheres to a strict nondiscrimination policy regarding the treatment of individual faculty, staff, students, family members, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. Springhouse is an equal opportunity employer. In accord with federal law and applicable Virginia statutes, the school does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, disability, or status as a veteran in employment or in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the school.

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