“Paulo Freire Freedom School is a joyful and just community dedicated to environmental sustainability and social justice that embraces creative, collaborative and compassionate teaching and learning.”
To Know: Real knowledge comes from experiences that are authentic and engaging. Young people learn when learning is connected to the real world they live in, to the things they are studying throughout the day, and to issues they care about. At Paulo Freire Freedom School we create learning environments that support powerful teaching and learning. Learning environments produce powerful teaching and learning when they are student-centered, experiential, holistic, authentic, expressive, reflective, collaborative, democratic, developmental, constructivist, and challenging. Learning can be hard work, but at Paulo Freire Freedom School we believe that learning can also be a joyful experience. Our students are encouraged to pursue individual passions, to explore their issues with peers, and to experience the satisfaction of knowing how to navigate through complex ideas and problems. To know is freedom. To know is to have power.
To Dream: At Paulo Freire Freedom School we do not shy away from thinking about the environmental and social problems facing the world – instead we immerse our young people in thinking about them. Our curricular focus on social justice and environmental sustainability is reality-based, but grounded in hope. Students not only learn about issues and problems, but are encouraged to think about solutions. Students are required to act on these solutions through an integrated service learning program. Participation in the democratic structures of the school help students develop leadership, conflict resolution, and peace-building skills. At Paulo Freire we not only learn about the world as it is today, we also dream about it as it can be and work towards the fulfillment of that dream together.
To Rise: At Paulo Freire Freedom School we believe that children grow not only academically and physically, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually as well. The growth they experience in these areas is interconnected with their academic success and with their health and happiness as a whole person. We are committed to supporting and challenging every child to rise to their full potential. At Paulo Freire Freedom School we create developmentally appropriate learning environments – each designed to support students’ unique developmental needs and capacities. Within these carefully designed learning environments individual students are supported and challenged to grow and become…to rise and transform…to develop into integrally whole human beings (body, heart, mind, and soul).
Our tagline, ‘To Know, To Dream, To Rise’ (which we believe perfectly encapsulates the heart of our mission), comes from A Cafecito Story: El Cuento del Cafecito by Julia Alvarez.
Our logo and our initial brochure (see Academic Program) were designed by Steve Farley from a Mayan glyph that means ‘to rise’. When JoAnn and Santo founded the school in 2005 they hoped to develop a partnership with a sister school in Guatemala. The original ‘To Dream’ statement included these words: “Paulo Freire Freedom School will be partnered with a school near Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Through the development of personal relationships, our students will gain an intimate understanding of the social, economic, and political circumstances of another culture.” It continues to be our hope that a partnership like this will one day become a reality.