The First Educational Stage


(according to Célestin Freinet, Education Through Work: A Model for Child-Centered Learning, trans. by J. Sivell, Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Pr., 1993)

In order to learn, develop, improve, rise up and grow, children need to work efficiently by using appropriate tools and techniques.


Daily Workshops

Village work

  • carpenter

  • mason

  • cartwright (maker of carriages for horses)

  • weaver

  • blacksmith

  • spinster/seamst-er -ress

  • cook

  • electrician

  • architect

  • water collection/filtration/ purification

  • design of energy source/systems

Field work

  • ploughing (use of horses)

  • preparing raised beds and deep dig plots

  • sowing/planting

  • maintaining: hoeing, fertilizing, watering, weeding

  • design and layout of watering system

  • trimming/pruning

  • harvesting

  • building (greenhouse, etc.)

  • carrying

  • commerce

  • transportation (use of horses/ mules)

Tools and/or machinery (where appropriate)

Types of work:


These workshops should start operating in nursery school and kindergarten...

Since teachers will probably be unskilled in such things [because of their “over-intellectual” modern education] they will have to either trust in the resourcefulness of the children to discover things by trial and error; or, it would be pertinent to appeal to farmers, housekeepers and artisans among the children's parents [or to skilled members of the local community] to come and give short, practical lessons from from time to time.

I believe we will one day see in our classrooms children sewing, weaving, cooking, running a business, building, sawing, working metal, hammering, driving screws, creating and transmitting energy using motors, rails, belts and flywheels; as well as inventing [and designing new ways of doing things].

The school has never taken into account this need for creative action [… performing such] instinctive activities founded on human aspirations, which are, and will remain, the basis of civilization.

It's high time to […] start at the beginning by offering children the kind of work to which they always feel a powerful attraction; and we should expect the resulting activities to be adapted to the environment, essentially grounded in real life, naturally ordered, powerfully motivating, and able to exalt the feeling of power that brings courage, confidence, daring, good humor and joy. For these qualities constitute the first and indispensable step in the majestic ascent of individuals, from the down to earth struggle with physical matter in the context of their human and social environment, towards the differentiation that represents the dawn of thought, through the effort of observation, experimentation and comparison, which are the dawn of science.

You like to say people should get an education so as to be able to work efficiently. We turn the problem on its head, and I've told you why: PEOPLE SHOULD WORK EFFICIENTLY IN ORDER TO GET AN EDUCATION, GAIN SKILLS, IMPROVE THEMSELVES, RISE UP AND GROW.

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My addition to this is that all students will take survival courses to, not only, learn the essence of human technology (i.e., to learn the skills necessary to survive), this will also serve to get the kids in touch with Nature and to understand their interdependence with Her by working with what Nature provides to design their own basic survival structures.

Also, students will take a Permaculture Design Course (when they reach the age of seven). Thereafter, they will be responsible for designing their terrain, housing, living area and community, in a respectful and sustainable way, while living interdependently with each other, striving to reach self-sufficiency.

Another thing that will be integrated with this is the learning of the native plants/fungi and landscape; they will learn the healing properties of various native plants and will be able to apply them when necessary - for very basic complaints/symptoms, injuries and illnesses (such as head aches, colds, sore throats, diarrhea, etc). They will also learn how to propagate such plants/fungi when applicable.

Every summer there will be organized a Vision Quest, whereby those who may desire (various ages) will be able to prepare for spending four days on their own (without food), in various secluded, natural areas in the vicinity, waiting and/or praying for a vision (from their Higher Self, Great Spirit, God, Allah) or just to get more deeply in touch with themselves and what they are doing in their life.

Meditation sessions will occur daily (mornings and evenings), to be participated in voluntarily. Occasionally, I would like to set up a Vipassana session (which consists of 10 days of complete silence, not looking at anyone, and not eating after noon – though warm lemon water will be offered in the afternoon).

Various activities/sessions will also be offered daily such as music training, Tai Chi, martial arts, various dance forms, art activities, and other unspecified special events/visits. There will always be the possibility of / opportunity for visits from various special guests/speakers/workshops.

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Additional link for Freinet: http://www.ph-karlsruhe.de/fileadmin/user_upload/dozenten/schlemminger/articles_publies/01History-Freinet1.pdf