Over the last 2 years as a nonprofit, our practices and thoughts haven't strayed much from the core philosophy – but certain language and explicit practices have been absent from our values statements. Therefore, we are updating our educational "needs" in the following ways:
Much of our changes are language shifts: being more explicit about the things we cared about. These are systemic changes that have always guided our approach to the classroom, but may not have been self-evident by our documents. First off, we've combined and eliminated some actions toward systemic change:
- "Support Multi-Age Classrooms" and "Support Interdisciplinary Learning" have been combined, as many of the benefits of these practices align and are in the same literature.
- "Support A Reflective Space" has been removed, as although this is an important practice and a pinnacle of Dewey's pedagogy – it is not necessarily an action toward systemic change. This is part of the experiential learning process.
- "Stay "Buzzword" Free" has been removed, as again it is not necessarily an action toward systemic change and can be combined with supporting teachers generally.
Then, we've added clarifying remarks to some of our existing actions toward system change. We wanted to ensure the language was clear on what we support as an organization:
- "Adopt Critical Pedagogy" -> "Adopt Critical Pedagogy & Build Democratic Schools", which both elaborates on the goals of critical pedagogy, expands on an unfamiliar term for many, and adds in specific language for systemic objectives.
- "Demand Inclusive Spaces" -> "Demand Anti-Racist, Inclusive Spaces", clarifies using specific language that HRP firmly supports anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) practices and believes systemic change is necessary for all marginalized groups.
Finally, we've added three new actions toward systemic change. These are ideas that frequently appear in our resources, podcasts, and writings:
- "Reimagine Spaces & Promote Free Play": Play is the fundamental cornerstone of learning, and being able to freely imagine and be a creative individual is the pinnacle of growth and development. To develop a space that promotes free play, rather than only guided play, is the goal.
- "Prioritize Mental Health & Social-Emotional Learning": Now more than ever, students need the proper supports to cope, channel, and recognize their emotions. Schools need to change systems that not only disengage students, but cause them trauma.
- "Ensure a Thriving Public Education": Although HRP supports all schools working to promote a human-centered education, we have a firm commitment to public education. Simply stated, a democratic society is not possible without strong public schools, and we know that public schools make a huge difference in many students lives. Our org exists to promote pedagogical shifts to recognize that as it exists, public education is not currently working for everyone, showcasing how we can reimagine the system.
You will see these changes reflected in all of our resources in the coming weeks. It's our commitment to always be a beacon of what it means to be a progressive educator – and a key part of that process is reflecting on what matters to you and if your values are represented in your work. Being purposeful is one of, if not the most important, concepts. We deeply appreciate everyone's support of Human Restoration Project and will continue to promote these impactful and lasting cornerstones of the movement.