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Springhouse envisions a culture of lifelong learning where people feel true belonging to themselves, their community, and the Earth.

Springhouse Community School: A Living Laboratory for Sourced Educational Design

Floyd, Virginia
Springhouse Community School is the home of a new educational design that orients around vitality. Springhouse offers a day school program for 7th-12th graders, rites of passage programs for pre-teens and teens, and personal development programs for adults including The Well program -- a 9-month residency for adults focused on culture change work.

Springhouse Community School- Reimagining Educational Design

“Imagination may be the most essential, uniquely human capacity - creating both the dead-end crises of our time and the doorway through them. ”

Bill Plotkin

The way education is currently structured does not support life. In fact, it often snuffs it out. It wasn't created to support vitality. It wasn't created to cultivate community. Rather than curiosity, it often fuels competition. The reasons for its birth are causing it to be obsolete. We need new educational designs that foster vitality, courage, creativity, compassion, and clarity. The design must strengthen and bring out the life in all of us.

Springhouse is a learning community where the Sourced educational design was born. Sourced is a scalable educational design oriented around vitality that was born from the living laboratory of Springhouse. After seven years of experimenting Springhouse articulated a design oriented around life and continues to experiment on the ground. with new (and ancient) ways of learning.  The school is now a place where educators can come to experience the Sourced design and learn the principles to take back to their learning environments or to create a new one. 

Springhouse is the first fruit of Sourced. At Springhouse, we have chosen to focus on serving pre-teens, teens, and adults. Other learning communities and schools that arise from the Sourced design will look different within the context of their communities and what they need. We chose to work with adolescents because we believe this phase of development is neglected in this country and this particular community. 

Adolescence is a relatively newly defined phase of human development and requires more attention than it is currently receiving. In the US, teenagers are suffering as we can see with rising numbers of teens addicted to various substances and technology; loneliness and lack of belonging being reported at higher levels with bullying and violence in schools increasing; and teen suicide being the second greatest cause of death in young people. To create healthier culture, we must better support our teenagers. We need healthy communities to raise vibrant, healthy, and prepared teens.

Too often we make teenagers the problem. We must have the courage to face that the way we structure education might be part of the problem. We need a new design for why and how we learn. Using the metaphor of a house in disrepair, we cannot simply rearrange the furniture and make superficial refinements to a structure that is fundamentally problematic. We must look at why and how education is the way that it is. We need a new design, one oriented around LIFE.  The Earth has been sustaining itself for over 4 billion years, therefore to design our educational structures based on the living systems principles of the Earth makes sense. 

Springhouse Community School is a living laboratory, where the Sourced design emerged. We are designing education in such a way that is in alignment with LIFE. The educational design, starting with the pedagogical foundation and rippling through the curriculum and practice methodologies, supports and fosters vitality. Orienting around life giving values, and building from the foundation of Sourced design, makes for an educational experience that is alive, creative, and sustainable. 

We have visitors apprenticing with us regularly at Springhouse to learn more about the design that we are developing, refining, and articulating. Designs and structures that cultivate and support LIFE is contagious and we are finding this to be true as interest in our learning community grows. To learn more about the Sourced design that Springhouse is an example of, and the Immersive Learning Labs where educators can experience the design on one form, click here

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Innovation Overview
Target Group
3 000
Tips for implementation
Springhouse is the first example of Sourced design and is the home of Immersive Learning Labs, where educators can come to immerse themselves in the Sourced design; a scalable, educational design oriented around vitality.
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See this innovation in action

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