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The Hive

A different kind of school

The last 6 weeks in the Dominican Republic have passed by so fast that I didn’t even realised it. I don’t know how or where, but I can state that we are at the end of the sixth week, that most families are traveling either further or back to their countries. I have been planning to write about Hive School since the beginning of coming here and here I am after 6 weeks and in retrospective I am putting down this text.

As I believe everything happens for a reason I also think it is for a reason that this text has not been written before.

First, this school was established a year ago at the initiative of a woman who came here and started teaching several children with her daughter. Slowly the number of children grew and today about 60 children go to school: a small number of locals and the vast majority of children of people who travel and are here for a reason called worldschooling.

The school functions and is conceived as a self-directed learning school where children themselves take responsibility for their own learning with teachers who are facilitators of opportunities and knowledge.

Hive also operates through FN’s Sustainable Global Development Goals (17 of them) and for each 6-week session there is one theme within which they learn, work, research and craft.

Recently, they learned about hunger and sustainable development through food growing, so they visited local farms, talked to people who grow food, people who do not have enough funds and those who come to them. They planted plants, studied how they grow and develop, went for walks around school and looked for fruits, ate various foods, talked about healthy and unhealthy foods, followed natural cycles, prepared food, drew, wrote, read, learned about fairtrade and so on.

I went to school with them 3-4 times a day and had the feeling that they play the vast majority of the time, and yet today at the final presentation they showed the diversity of what they were doing within the theme of hunger.

Also, this is a school that has very little school in it and I say that positively because no one there forces you to do something you don't want to, a place where you always have the right to say no, where you can always play, where little is set for you or instead of you.

Much of this has been done around children and for children in a different, alternative way.

Also, unlike other schools, workers can bring their babies to work, so two teachers have their two babies with them every day - one 6 months old, the other 4 months old and these babies are equally, if not more, cared for by other children in school. The children have two buildings at their disposal and the environment around them, two swimming pools in the courtyard of one building and a kitchen where they are served meals and where they gather.

The first day of our stay we all went together to the beach where we bathed, played, ate.

Tired and hair full of salt and sand we went back to school for lunch and the rest of the day playing.

What have we learned in the last six weeks?

That our time and autonomy over it means more than we already believed. That freedom is individual. That the right to one's own boundaries is something that everyone should practice on a daily basis. That it is collectively wonderful and tiring at the same time, that we are social to a certain extent and then we get satiated, that you achieve a lot in this school because there is an inner motivation of both children and teachers.

We stay another 6 weeks. With fewer days at school and more of your own field trips, days at home, on the beaches and the surrounding area.

The next topic is education. It will be interesting to see how it will be dealt with and what will result from it all.

Maybe in 6 weeks I will write another text about school.

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