Taking the classroom outside: Changing how we learn and teach | Life-lessons

Homeschooling, charter schools, public schools, private schools, whatever you want your child to learn and however you want them to learn, there seems to be a place for them.

A woman who was inspired by the Freedom Schools of the Civil Rights era has created what she calls a thriving social ecosystem in which all Black, brown, and indigenous children are celebrated for who they are, and they learn from generations past.

There is no recess at the Kekere Freedom School. Its roots are based on liberation and wisdom through play.

“Because we can climb, and inside we can’t really climb anything,” says student Indigo Simmons.

“And then when we’re outside, there are more things to do than when we’re inside,” said student Kayden Rodriguez.

“For me, a huge part of what it means to decolonize childhood, to liberate kids through play, is to like let Black and brown kids play,” said Nuola Akinde, founder of the Kekere Freedom School.

Akinde founded the homeschool co-op for preschoolers through fifth grade. With a background in early childhood education, she believes the system is fundamentally flawed, and says by decolonizing the way we are forced to learn and educate takes us back in time to when test scores where not the most important part of a child’s education.

Essential principles include liberation through play, learning through play, access to thoughtful, curated learning environments, and access to materials.

Subjects like math and science are taught in non-traditional ways. There are also lessons about leaves and trees.

“And we’re gonna tag the trees with like, their scientific names and their common names,” Akinde explains.

Akinde wanted to create a joyful place for kids to learn about bias, while exploring and celebrating their diversity.

“Our kids are going to have new solutions we couldn’t have even dreamed of,” says Akinde.

Akinde’s goal is that when students move on to middle school, they have a deep understanding of who they are, what interests them and how to thoughtfully express themselves.

Tuition for the school is suggested at $1,100 a month, but families can pay what they can afford. They also offer a homeschool curriculum for kids to learn from no matter where they live. They currently have students across the world who take part online.


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