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Sourced Education: Learning for Cultural Renewal

Vitality-Centered, Holistic, And Place-Based Learning for All Ages

Sourced Education is a scalable vitality-centered educational approach based on ten years of experimentation at Springhouse in Floyd County, Virginia. The primary principles of the approach include community as the crucible for learning, knowledge that includes the self, culture, and possibility, and the power of place-based learning. The purpose of the curriculum is cultural renewal.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

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Target group
April 2024
We believe the purpose and practice of education should be the renewal of our culture, not the perpetuation of the status quo. This shift will require fundamentally transforming the purpose and practice of education as we know it today. We believe the more vitality-centered learning communities we have, slowly but surely, we will move toward the cultural renewal we need at this time.

About the innovation

SOURCED EDUCATION: Learning for Cultural Renewal


We live in a world with massive problems where people are oppressed and the Earth’s resources are over-extracted. For all life to thrive, we must learn how to live in a new way. Learning to live in a new way is not easy. We need to transform the purpose and practice of education, so that we have places to practice a new way of living, with a community for the long-term.

The conventional educational system, that most of us are accustomed to, was created with the primary purpose of training a compliant workforce. This system has not changed much since its creation in the 1800s. It is still mostly characterized by standardization and norming, age-based cohorts, memorization and testing, grade-based performance review, separated subjects, and learning that is distanced from the larger community. It is often seen as a means to an end, with college admissions, career readiness, and the eventual economic success of the individual as the goal. This system continues to serve its original purpose of preparing each generation to participate in the dominant economic story, wherein money and economic gain are prioritized over the well-being of humanity, and the Earth.

Education is a powerful vehicle for change. It is through education that we pass down the values, skills, and knowledge that are needed to sustain the culture. We can choose to create learning communities that do not center the individual and the continuation of the status quo, but rather, work to bring about the cultural renewal needed at this time. When we radically transform the purpose and practice of education, there is great potential to affect change in deeper and wider ways. When a larger number of us learn how to foster vitality, one person and community at a time, we move toward a world where all life can thrive.

Springhouse is an intergenerational, vitality-centered learning community, where we practice a new way of living over the long term by practicing the following five principles daily: taking care of vulnerability, cultivating personhood, building beloved community, learning from the Earth, and loving and serving others. We created a curriculum that acknowledges the power of community when it comes to learning; prioritizes knowledge that fosters holistic human development, honestly and creatively explores our collective history and the cultural contexts we live in, and highlights the power of possibility. We also acknowledge that school is not separate from the place it is a part of. Our curriculum invites participation with the local community, prioritizes sharing what we learn with others, and highlights the importance of contributing to the renewal of the Earth. After a decade of practice we have found that these principles, and this curriculum, foster vitality within the learning community and beyond.

If we are to live in a world where all life thrives, we need more learning communities who will radically transform education in these ways. When we have more learning communities like this working together, we begin to move toward the cultural renewal we desperately need at this time.


In 2023, Springhouse created Sourced Education, an educational approach based on ten years of experimentation in Floyd County, Virginia. This approach assumes that our dominant culture is in crisis and that a fundamentally different approach to education is needed. Sourced Education prepares us to participate in the cultural renewal needed at this time by learning how to live life more fully and create the conditions for all Life to thrive.


Learning communities informed by Sourced Education are vitality-centered, intergenerational, diverse, place-based, and holistic.

Vitality-Centered:Vitality-centered means to honor Life in all its forms. In a culture that perpetuates an illusion that we are separate from Life, it is important that we learn how to align with the regenerative power of Life through community practices and a curriculum whose purpose is to take better care of Life. When people, communities, and places choose to center Life in their design, vitality is the fruit.

Intergenerational and Diverse: Sourced Education seeks to bring people of all ages together in the learning community. These communities may start with one age group but seek to be intergenerational over the long term. They also seek to bring together people with different backgrounds and experiences. When people of all ages bring their varied perspectives together, the diversity makes for rich learning and a resilient community.

Place-Based:Learning communities informed by this approach are situated in one place over time. They are a community who share the purpose of learning for cultural renewal and are committed to their place.These communities participate in their local community through service, sharing their learning, and contributing to the renewal of the Earth. They are also connected globally for inspiration and to support others in their learning.

Holistic: Holistic learning awakens the whole person by engaging all of the senses and attending to the developmental needs of the learner. A holistic approach strengthens a wide range of capacities within the learner, including but not limited to our ability to reason, experiment, create, empathize, make connections and appreciate differences, and collaborate with others. When each stage of development is lived wholly and fully, vitality is the result.


The following principles guide what and how we learn in Sourced Education. They inform learning in all stages of development as we move toward the cultural renewal needed at this time.

Community is the crucible for learning and transformation: We learn how to live life more fully when surrounded by those whom we trust and who love us for who we are. A strong community is essential to learning that is aligned with Life, and it starts with shared values and a common purpose. The life of the community needs care to remain vital.

To participate in the cultural renewal needed at this time, we learn about ourselves, the cultural context we live in, and what is possible when we align with Life:To better understand the power of Life, we get to know ourselves, the various contexts we live within, and the power of possibility. We learn in holistic and interdisciplinary ways, and what we explore and how we learn depends on the age and stage of development of the learner.

We participate in and serve our local community:We learn about ourselves and the world in an immediate community we trust. Our learning moves beyond that community when we participate and serve in the larger community we live within, share with others what we learn, and contribute to the renewal of the Earth.


Sourced Education is only effective if the leaders in the learning community live the curriculum themselves. When they do, they naturally pass down to others what they hope for in the world.

A vitality-centered learning community has a comprehensive and vital staff development program to support those who facilitate learning in the community. Staff also have clearly defined roles and responsibilities related to the shared vision and mission and agree to practice the shared values of the community. Some examples of staff leadership development in a vitality-centered learning community include: peer mentoring structures that allow for self reflection, weekly meetings that inspire learning in the community leaders and provide opportunities for professional development; quarterly meetings that allow for staff to reflect holistically on their work; participation in community practices like singing, dancing, and meditation; and a regular time for staff to attend to their relationships with one another.

The founders and leaders of the learning community learn along with others who join the community. Staff heal and transform themselves through their own participation in the learning community. All people in the community are respected for the gifts they bring, as well as their vulnerabilities, including those who lead the school.

Learn more about Springhouse at and on our Hundred innovation page at

Learn more about our community print shop, Sourced Press, at Our new book Sourced Education will be out in April 2025!


How Our Creativity and Resilience Can Build Stronger and Wiser Communities - Education Reimagined
Spark Series: Jenny Finn and Springhouse School
Learning with Purpose and Vitality: IowaBIG and Springhouse
STC Forum: These Schools & Districts Responded Adaptively & Creatively to COVID
Regeneration: Partnering with Life - Education Reimagined
Sourced Design: The Art of Coming Alive with Springhouse’s Jenny Finn
Sourced Design Around the World - Springhouse
From our first partner community – a learning community working with Sourced outside of Bogota, Colombia:There is a legend that says that the time when the condor and the eagle will fly together will come. A time of integration, where north and south, technology and tradition, rural and urban, young and old, will work together towards building a new world. A time where polarities merge towards higher systems. This time has come to us. Working with Springhouse towards designing the learning ecosystem we dream for this Colombian mountains is an expression of this legend. A cross-cultural collaboration towards building learning communities that provide environments for life to flourish. Springhouse is a manifestation of what we have imagined, providing inspiration and concrete resources to materialize what we have dreamt. ~Felipe Spath
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Implementation steps

Read our books on Sourced Design and Sourced Education
Join any of our adult programs to learn more.
If you are ready to start a learning community, join our school founders program.
Curious about the whole school- youth and teen programs included? Learn more here!

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