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What's possible in a pause

Wild Seeds Agile Learning Community has been on pause since we began summer break back in June. We ended our pilot year knowing that a physical move was in store. At the time, we imagined that we would accomplish our move over the summer with plenty of time to launch Pilot Year 2 in early Fall 2022. Instead, we’ve been at a standstill as we work to establish and finalize our agreement with our new space. Our goal is to resume programming in January 2023, and we will share updates as soon as we have them.

This pause has created a lot of slowed down sweetness, the perfect seedbed for developing deeper connections among our team and for new ideas and dreams to take root. It’s also created time to go back through our experiences of the year, take inventory of our community’s needs, and build a stronger foundation that will ground and sustain Pilot Year 2.

We are eager to begin our next program year, and we wanted to take some time to make the work we are doing within the pause more visible to our community. Below is an overview of the various projects we've been working on as time has elapsed.

  • We spent much of the summer in deep reflective dialogues about our last program year. One way we’ve organized our reflections is through inventorying our community’s needs and what we have in abundance. Our needs/abundance assessment has helped us hone in on the policies, procedures, and practices needed to better support our community going forward. Some of our biggest areas of focus include: clarifying communication channels and protocols, creating practices around proactively reducing harm, accountability and repair practices, relationship building and more invitations for families to participate, building tools and partners to help us better align actions with core values.

  • We’ve fully aligned our Wild Seeds program with Agile Learning Centers. We have been using agile tools and processes in our program, and as we shift into Pilot Year 2, we are ready to transition to Wild Seeds Agile Learning Community, or Wild Seeds ALC. Alignment creates a pathway for families to better understand the practices we use and provides our community with the opportunity to connect with a wider network of unschools across the world.

  • We’ve been co-creating policies and procedures around all of the work we do so we are consistent, transparent, and more predictable. We have plans to better build out our Wild Seeds Family Handbook and create a new Facilitator Handbook to make onboarding more transparent.

  • We’re in the process of working with a systems optimization firm to help us develop a project management system that will support our work and capacity moving forward.

  • To better describe who we are and what we are doing in each of our programs, we’ve revamped our website. It was originally written last year, when Wild Seeds was still a dream, and it has felt pressing to clarify our messaging to better match who we are and what we are actually doing. We’re also starting a blog to share more about the magic that happens at TDP.

  • Considering how important it is to welcome folks into our community in a way that feels aligned with who we are, we’ve updated our enrollment and hiring processes, and we are exploring ways to build our advisory board. While we haven’t begun practicing yet (because hiring and enrollment are still on pause), we are eager to test them out, hopefully later this fall.

  • Understanding that relationship building, mutual aid, and inviting families into our work is so important, we are building out a longer term calendar that creates space for family events, community events, discussions, and other connection opportunities. This will allow us to better plan ahead and manage our capacity. This year, we will also respond to our community’s requests to co-create a monthly zoom meet up to discuss aspects of unschooling.

  • In addition to our core values of intersectional unschooling, environmental stewardship, and collective liberation, we are actively co-creating a core value around access. This includes describing our beliefs and practices about how we make our programming the most accessible and clearly acknowledging what accommodations we can and cannot currently support.

    • For transparency, we are co-creating checklists that families, young people, facilitators, and other community members can complete to better understand if our programs, space, and capacity for mutual aid currently support stated needs. If not, we can use the info to guide access work in the future.

  • We have clarified our organization’s structure, really leaning into understanding where power lies and how it functions, and we’ve begun building our governance and advisory boards. Understanding how power functions in our org will pave the way for more authentic conversations around power-sharing, accountability, and access.

  • We’ve been developing age-mixed small group practices, activities, and experiences that will help us better use that time to explore core values, relationship building, power dynamics, reducing harm in interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution through a transformative justice lens, and creating space for young people to more intentionally shape their community and learning program.

  • We’ve officially become a nonprofit corporation in PA, and we have been working with our lawyers to complete the big tax exemption form that will be filed with the IRS.

  • We’ve taken down our outdoor classroom tent, and we have begun packing up our indoor space to prepare for a move. Since there is a delay with our new location, we’ll need to secure storage space for the interim.

  • We’ve been deepening our partnership with Eclectic Learning Network. Maleka Diggs will support our advisory board work and continue creating a space for us to decolonize our practices in and around unschooling in community alongside young people.

  • We’ve been exploring potential partnership and collaboration with Natural Creativity Center (an unschool located in Germantown). We’ll begin by supporting one another’s needs around substitute facilitators, and we will explore other possibilities as the year progresses.

  • We’ve continued support Dandelion Sprouts classes and launched a Fall Exploration class series led by Teacher Bri.

  • We’ve continued supporting unschooling families with consulting services, diploma/graduation support, and by providing Common App recommendations for those seeking college admissions.

  • We are building a partnership with SpiralQ, and we will march in their Peoplehood Parade on Sat. 10/15 with any TDP community members interested in joining us.

So much has been possible with this pause, and we may never get the gift of time like this again. Soaking up every moment of it, we continue to dream and imagine and build. We cannot wait until we have the space to invite you all in to take a look around and help us co-create the future of Wild Seeds ALC.

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Your journey is eerly similar to ours @kokuroko.tribe from the pause this summer, plan to launch yr 2 in Jan all the way down to looking for storage as while suring up next physical space to move would love to chat with you all about your journey. Would you be open to that ?


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