Mission

(Spanish translation)

The mission of the Virtue School is to help youths (and those who want to immerse themselves) to get back in touch with nature and to retain time-honored knowledge and essential skills - which are currently being lost - in the process of completing the curriculum required by the state.

If students want to go on to college, okay. They will be prepared for it. Meanwhile, in Virtue School they will work to develop self-reliance by entering into a relationship of interdependence with the land. To bring this about, Permaculture and Survival 
courses will be integrated into the program - along with the learning of all the necessary skills you need to have a self-sufficient community. These would include crafts, such as blacksmithing, carpentry, masonry, ceramics, glassware, milling, cooking, textile work: making clothes, work and care of animals, etc. Also, such disciplines as art, music, healing and meditation will be included. Further, as a complementary part of the project, students also have to design and build everything they need to have a vibrant, functioning, self-sufficient community - including their own energy sources and providing their own food and water, while interacting with their environment. The goal is to create a network of self-sufficient schools and communities as an alternative to today's education and way of living.

 One of the methods of education which have influenced the project is the
educational system of Shchetinin. This video illustrates it: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ratyoUnzHb8).

 One of the most significant elements of this method is that children complete the curriculum "necessary" by the state, by themselves, at an early age. Some other major characteristics are:

    * The distinction between "teacher" and "students" is softened
    * There is no division into age groups
    * There is no distinction between learning and the development of creative abilities
    * The phrase "you're wrong" is not part of the vocabulary
    * The divergence between school and real life is minimized

 While a lot of things about this school are to be admired, it has some weaknesses. When this video was
shown to some classes at a traditional school in Madrid very few of the students liked it. Their main complaints:

    * no free space or free time to be by yourself,
    * there's no way to know if what you are learning is "correct" or not,
    * the school is totally "unreal" and doesn't prepare you for the "real world," and
    * the kids are "too happy" - something just isn't right.

At the end of the video one of the former teachers adds a few criticisms: 

    * the students all follow the vision of one man,
    * the love of Homeland borders on the obsessive and
    * the individual is submitted to the collective.

(Note: the Virtue School will not emphasize any Nationality or Ethnic Identity - though it is important to seek one's ancestral kin or "roots," this can be sought within a "Global" perspective of relationships -- without having One identity dominating all of the others).

  Another characteristic which can be seen as a pitfall of Tekos - and other "free" schools such as Sudbury and Summerhill - is that they all prepare the students to fit into "the System" as it is. The vision of The Virtue School is to combine the ideas of Tekos, Constantin Freinet and Permaculture, whereby the students design their own program of study, while also designing and constructing their environment and community.  Thus, they are, in essence, creating a new system whereby they are
self-sufficient and in harmony with nature. Ideally, some of the students will go on to build other like-minded schools and self-sufficient communities all over the world. Why is this important?

As Bill Mollison (the founder of Permaculture) once said, "If you have a dysfunctional system, don't try to change it. Rather, determine what that system was supposed to deliver and design a better system to help deliver that purpose or service. If you have done the thing correctly, then people will come to you. The old institution will wither and die."

  Thus, that is the "goal" of The Virtue School. As such, there will be no dogmatic protocols which dominate the school. The main objective is to combine self-discovery with community and society building, while working together in a "new" education project which aims to conserve ancient knowledge and much-needed skills, while reconnecting with nature.