Culture

Project World School: Breaking classroom barriers

By Michelle Tupy

The “unschooling” program provides teens with temporary learning communities in Cusco and the Amazon.

Project World School: Breaking  classroom barriers

(Photo courtesy of Lainie Liberti)

Exploring Incan culture, learning about traditional Peruvian food, visiting Machu Picchu and traveling to a conservation centre to investigate the local wildlife sounds like a dream trip for many; and for a select number of teen world schoolers it is in fact just that, a dream come true. Project World School is bringing the idea of world schooling to the forefront with temporary learning communities being offered firstly in Cusco and the Sacred Valley (June 2015) and secondly, in the Amazon Jungle (August 2015).

This ground breaking project was founded by mother and son team Lainie Liberti and Miro Siegel who have been traveling and world schooling for the past five years – and they have no desire to stop any time soon. As accidental “unschoolers” they have learned more through their travel than traditional education methods could ever provide and want to offer this amazing opportunity to other world schooling teens from around the globe.

The creation of Project World School was actually a natural move for the mother and son team. As Miro moved into his teenage years, he and his mother started to notice that community was becoming a more important factor in terms of their travel. After an invitation to speak at an alternative education conference back in the states, Miro had an epiphany of sorts after being able to connect with his peers, other like-minded teens who thought the same and shared similar ideals and goals. Not long after, they flew back to Peru and started planning their first immersive teen learning retreat.

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An inspirational mother-son duo (Photo courtesy of Lainie Liberti)

The Cusco and Sacred Valley learning community is defined by Lainie as a retreat with an emphasis on exploring Andean culture, history, archaeology and traditional artisan disciplines with a trip to the enigmatic Machu Picchu. It is more than just a history lesson. Lainie and Miro are still working on the program for the Amazon retreat however it is likely to be equally as fulfilling in terms of education and enjoyment opportunities. The overall emphasis on the rain forest retreat will be on conservation, sustainability, natural medicines, ethnobotany and biology.

Lainie and Miro have a grand plan for their learning retreats. They hope that the teens involved will take more away from it than just what they learned. They envisage that these self-directed teenage learners will go back to their homes and communities to share greater cultural awareness and knowledge, create change and become thought leaders in their own right.

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(Photo courtesy of Lainie Liberti)

In order for this to occur, the retreats are not only just a series of events for learning. Participants are encouraged to lead and follow in a supportive atmosphere of immersive discovery. Each day of learning will build upon the last, with every exploration and learning event leading the teen group into unchartered study directions.

Lainie says, “Our learning communities merge immersive learning experiences with personal and social development focusing on global citizenship, cultural sensitivity and most importantly developing relationships through ethics and conflict resolution.”

Lainie and Miro’s vision is one which should be shared as widely and as loudly as possible. Their aim is to inspire and ideally be a catalyst for great change in the lives of others. If you would like to learn more about the learning communities, you can visit their website here.

Michelle Tupy is a ghostwriter, focusing on the business, lifestyle and travel genres. Check out her website here. She quite happily spends most of her time behind the scenes writing blog posts, Facebook commentary, articles and e-books on behalf of busy managers. Michelle is the creator of the love story anthology entitled “Love Alters – A Love For All Seasons” and is currently working on a book about an impending road trip from Cusco, Peru to Niagara Falls, Canada entitled “And Off We Went”.

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