What is Wild School @ FDR Park?

Wild School @ FDR Park is a part-time, nature-based learning program for self-directing young people ages 5-12. Immersed in nature and supported by an intentional community, young people will let their curiosities and passions lead the way to deep learning.


Wild School will give young people an entirely unique learning experience. Focused on cooperation, collaboration, and problem solving, they will grow in community with one another and with their environment.


Our program relies on education best practices. We know learning happens best when young people are free to explore, experiment, play, question and interact in the real world, while being supported by a community and facilitators trained to support self-directed learners. 

Our Beliefs About Learning

  1. Learning: Learning is natural. It’s happening all the time.

  2. Self- Direction: People learn best by making their own decisions. Children are people.

  3. Experience: People learn more from their culture and environment than from the content they are taught. The medium is the message.

  4. Success: Accomplishment is achieved through cycles of intention, creation, reflection, and sharing.

How Wild School Supports Learners

Nature Immersion:  Wild School is founded on the belief that interacting with the natural environment provides endless opportunity for play, discovery, hands on learning, experimentation, problem solving, cooperation, and creativity.  Nature-based settings are the perfect complement to self-directed education as young people have endless choices.

Offerings:   Instead of mandatory classes that intend to teach adult determined content, Wild School students and staff center passion-driven education.  By participating in community meetings and the daily cycle of intention and reflection, students and facilitators share their interests and goals.  Facilitators, students, and outside experts create offerings based on shared interests that are available to any Wild School student.

Intentional Community:  Young people participate in active community building through collaborative projects, sharing learning, negotiating resource sharing, practicing dialogue based conflict resolution strategies, and participating in small group cycles of intention and reflection. Young people also experience the wider school community, composed of parents, experts in the Philadelphia community, and Parks and Rec collaborators. Young people have the opportunity to explore the freedom and responsibility of self-directing in community with others. 

9:00-9:15 Drop off

9:30-9:45 Morning Meeting for daily, small group intention setting

9:45-2:00 Self-Directed Pursuits + Offerings

2:15-2:30 Clean Up + Gather

2:30-2:45 Afternoon Meeting for daily, small group reflection

2:45-3:00 Pick Up

Sample Schedule

We are growing an intentional community of learners in Philadelphia committed to radically reimagining education while centering social justice + environmental stewardship. True community building means changing the ways adults support young people, finding ways to redistribute wealth, and practicing the value of people over process.


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Wild School believes that people learn best when they are empowered to choose what and how they learn. We rely on the agile learning model of self-directed education, which roots itself in the following:

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