Only, we don’t have to worry about building the ship. The LIAS Principles – that learning is active, collaborative, meaningful, supportive of mastery, and focused on expanding horizons – remind us that kids are the captains of their own development. Our role is not to fill kids with knowledge and skills but to be a compass that offers direction, guidance, opportunities, and support to find their own way.
Doing this is harder than it seems, particularly when most of us have a lifetime of assignment-driven schooling. Our instinct is to mimic a controlled, tightly scheduled, and rigid learning environment. But true learning is messy: it isn’t quiet or neat or easily captured in a worksheet. It is noisy, dynamic, and full of mistakes and spills and arguments. It is engaging, passionate, and so exciting that kids don’t want to go home.
|Virtual Vacation Leader's Guide|
|A Virtual Vacation to Japan|
The Virtual Vacation approach is something I would recommend to any youth organization that seeks to engage youth in learning about the larger world. This approach weaves in a variety of academic disciplines and offers activities that bring distant people and places alive.
Prior to her current position at The HOPE Through Housing Foundation, Ms. Neufeld served as the Collaboration Manager for Mustangs on the Move, a consortium of community-based organizations that provides after school programming to high school youth in Northwest Pasadena. She also worked for Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL) Pasadena, a multi-city after school initiative launched by the Irvine Foundation, first as a program evaluator then as Associate Director. Ms. Neufeld holds a Master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. She currently serves on the Si Se Puede! Learning Centers Advisory Council of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, on the 2012 BOOST (Best of Out of School Time) Conference Leadership Team, and is a part of the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Work Group.