What if the hackerspace and mentors were accessible all the time so that a space was created where kids could dream big and create big, and have a consistent community? What if we didn’t have to run all over town, but built something that made sense, together, in one place? What if the hackerspace was not the center of the universe, but one of it’s many stars? We are working with a group of independent, enthusiastic young learners to build a collective not-a-school, a program that empowers kids to be in charge of their own education while giving them the support, resources, and experiences they want or need!

This January, we will be starting a part time program in our Oakland location, with the intention of adding a full time program for all ages, hopefully in Autumn 2016. Initially, we are focusing on middle school to early high school age kids who can commit to 2-3 days a week. We will be expanding the ages as our community needs.

3 Day Option $575/ month
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays

2 Day Option $395/month
Monday, Tuesday
Monday, Wednesday
Tuesday, Wednesday

REGISTER: 3 Day 2 Day

####Please join us on Wednesday 2/3/16 at 6:30pm for our information night!

#####How did this program come about? Curiosity Hacked has always been based on the foundational value that learners should have control of their learning. Because children primarily learn through movement and action, making and hacking has been a wonderful catalyst towards self determination and direction, as well as a deep understanding of concepts and skills that allow them to realize ideas both big and small. In makerspaces all over the world, kids are finding themselves through the creativity and innovation, and we are honored to be a part of that movement. Yet, making is not new. Humans have been makers for as long as we have been human. It is part of a larger truth: Humans (especially young ones) are naturally curious. The concepts and skills we approach in the Oakland Lab (and in all our programs) are connected to a broader scope of knowledge. In the last year, we have been expanding what we do at Curiosity Hacked to bring a more holistic picture of what education through kinesthetic learning can look like. Sciences and History seamlessly interwoven with Maths and Language Arts, while creating a pathway for kids to construct their own values and goals around the chosen themes.The results have been incredible. This is the epitome of what we mean by “Curiosity Hacked.” To not just be curious, but to shape shift and construct and modify the means by which we learn, so that we have a limitless view of learning. Adding classes this year was a big step towards the goal of showing all the things a makerspace could do, but the older kids seem to want more than a la carte classes, and another idea was born. As I started looking at the possibilities and talking to the kids, we decided to build a collective not-a-school, a program that empowers kids to be in charge of their own education while giving them as much structure and support as they need! All of this is to say that our programs have always grown organically as we continue to push those boundaries, and we are ready for the next step!

#####What will this program look like? Kids will be spending their time with us in a myriad of ways. They will be identifying and documenting their own interests and goals, supported by experienced mentors who will balance helping the kids taking their interests as far as they want to go while also putting opportunities and ideas in their path to open up new possibilities. They will be using our constantly expanding network of experts and thought leaders (both in the Bay Area and around the world) to inform their pursuit of their interests and passions. The kids will have unlimited access to the technology, tools, and materials the Lab has to offer. They will be traveling around the Bay Area on field trips investigating and investing in the amazing place we live. They will exploring community service, social justice, identity, and relationships through experience and collaboration. The kids will also be selecting a theme every few months, which they will explore as individuals and as a collective. Lessons will be offered that dive deeply into an integrated study of core subjects, based on the theme the kids have chosen. The kids can then use this information to build and curate an exhibition, which will be held for friends and family at the end of each theme. Because the core group of kids involved wanted to start this spring, we are also being flexible and open to adjusting as needed.

#####What will a typical day look like? It is difficult to say what a typical day will look like, since so much of what will happen will be driven by the kids and their inspiration. We will, however, hold a rhythm that feels right. A morning meeting to go over important items and set our goals for the day and a closing documentation of the work and experience that day. Certain classes that the kids have requested will usually fall on the same day and time. We want a structure that keeps the energy going, while also being flexible enough to change if an opportunity arises.

#####So, are you like a free/democratic/Sudbury school? You will certainly find elements of democratic education at CHILL. The kids have an equal say in most decisions, make choices on how and what they invest their time on, and create the environment that best fits them as a community. But, you will also see a bit of forest school philosophy (we spend at least one day a month in the woods), Montessori in how we and the kids are choosing to organize our space, Reggio Emilia communication and documentations, Agile Learning practices, object based learning, worldschooling and more. All with a hacker/mentor/entrepreneur mindset. We believe in taking the best of all pedogogy and infusing it to best serve us, our families, and our community.

#####What days and what is the cost? We are offering two options this spring: a 2 day and a 3 day program. We understand the busy schedules of families, which is why we have a 2 day option, but many of our kids want 3 days. One day a week will primarily be spent outside the hackerspace in the community on field trips. This spring, we are offering CHILL on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, from 10am-4pm. The cost for 3 days a week will be $575 monthly, 2 days will be $395 monthly.

#####Who are the mentors? We have already been interviewing mentors, a process in which the kids are heavily involved in. Mentors are an essential part of this collaborative environment. The kids have met several candidates and have chosen their first mentor. If we have enough enrollment, they will be interviewing and choosing a second mentor. Initially, the positions will be part time (starting in January) with the possibility of full time next fall. We are interested in educators who are ready and willing to use making as a catalyst to child centered learning and familiar (or willing to become so) with Unschooling, Agile Learning, Free Schools, and the Alternative Education movement. We are looking for candidates who are deeply interested in developmental and constructivist pedagogy, and who genuinely enjoy working with middle and high school age youth. We are less interested in whether or not they have a credential and more interested in finding mentors who are invested in supporting self directed learning!

#####What the kids are already saying:

“I wanted to join this new program because it’s like homeschooling and school but not, with the benefits of both. I get to hang out with friends and go to cool places. I want to learn about the things I’m into but also learn about the things my friends are interested in too. I already take a cool video game design class at the Lab and it’s cool; I want boatloads more of that.”

“I’m excited that I can be with friends learning about things I’d never even heard of before I heard about this program. I’m also excited that I’m going to learn how to learn about things I want to explore.”

“I am excited about this creation because it gives me a fresh start. I just love the idea of having a place to learn with my friends, a place where I can be myself.”