Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Long before Beyoncé told everyone to quit their jobs, there was a Ted Talk where Dr. Satish Kumar boldly said “when you leave your universities do not seek a job, go and create a job” he continued by saying when you become an employee you suspend your imagination”. The point he was trying to make is that we are all designed to be creators not consumers.
While doing research on holistic education we ( Megan and Tatiana) were intrigued by Dr. Kumar's passion for education reform, and more than ever we understood why our vision for reforming education could no longer wait.
After returning from the pandemic and witnessing the devastating academic effects it has had on children within the public school system, especially children of color, it became more apparent than ever that there is a dire need to usher in a new paradigm of teaching and learning. SOL Learning Center is a way for us to assist in promoting a more holistic whole child approach to learning and a means for us to truly contribute to the betterment of education and our community.
After completing our teacher preparation programs we both spent years trying to master the art of teaching and learning (which is impossible because there are infinite ways to teach and learn new things), we often found ourselves frustrated by the bureaucracies of the public and private school sectors.
It's bizarre to spend thousands of dollars studying at the best universities to enter a profession where you are undervalued. (all teachers know the look we give each other when we’re participate in professional development that isn’t meaningful, or when people who do not know our students try to tell us the best approach based with little to no context)
Our creativity was often limited to decorating classrooms and bulletin boards, to ensure that students and families felt welcomed in spaces that would other wise feel like a prison (I’ve always found it extremely unsettling how often some schools are compared to prisons).
Many teachers despite their expertise lack the autonomy to design curriculums to meet the needs of their students, and in other cases, there are novice teachers juggling how to learn the latest model for teaching and learning, while managing large numbers of students who all have different temperaments, learning styles, and needs.
Whether teachers are veteran or novice, they all have to balance being in compliance with the latest initiatives, the increasing pressure to keep up with pacing guides, and mastering the latest technology, with less and less time to build meaningful relationships with students and families in order to transform whats in their heads and hearts, to create learning opportunities that are best for unique learners.
Don’t get me wrong there are truly amazing teachers out here doing it all; this often involves taking work home, purchasing materials to provide equitable learning opportunities for students, and learning awkward dance moves! I know because some of my closet friends are those super amazing educators. (I admire them and will call on them when SOL is ready to expand and hire more holistic educators!)
Ok, my mini rant is over, now back to the Ted Talk...
In Dr. Kumar’s speech, he goes on to describe how innovative education programs strive to teach students how to live, and be happy. This is done by modeling to students that they can use simple materials to create amazing things, and encouraging them to observe patterns to understand how we are all connected.
At SOL, we are intentional about building relationships with our students, our goals are not strictly academic. We strive to build students’ confidence and to teach them the skills they need to live and be happy.
Our curriculum is designed in collaboration with children, through activities that not only stimulate their heads, but also, their hearts and hands.Channeling my inner Queen B “You won’t break my soul!” and I’m telling everybody that at SOL Learning Center we learn holistically through head, heart, and hands!