Full Time Staff
Daniel Stee BA, Dip. ED, MAT, and Co-Founder of Foxglove Democratic Learning Society
When I was a kid I was so excited to go to school, because everybody that meant something to me told me that it was the place where you went to learn about everything you could possibly want to learn. I was always super curious about so many things, so, at first, it seemed like a pretty amazing place.
As I grew up I wanting to be a singer, or an actor, or a children’s book writer, but when I got to college I changed my mind, because I was never able to get over the fact that school had been such a bad experience for me. I mean, I had started out as a perfectly normal, curious, and intelligent human being and my experiences at school had mostly left me feeling the opposite of that. So, in the end, I decided to focus my life on being a teacher.
I decided to become a school teacher mainly because I wanted to help change the educational system. I wanted to help make schools the kind of place that any kid would love to go to. To me this meant that when a child goes to school they should be able to learn anything they want to learn, and learn who they really are and what they can really do. I tried to do this for almost twenty years, and it could be said that I failed, but along the way I learned two very important things. I learned that working with children and youth, and learning things right along with them, is even more awesome than what I had expected. But… I also learned that, despite the well-meaning efforts of so many teachers like myself, the educational system at large is not made for what I was trying to do. It was never made for this purpose, and trying to “fix it” is like… Well, at least those years of experience had taught me a lot about what I wanted to do next.
So, inspired by my daughter who also wanted to get out of schools, we got out. I immediately fell head over heels in love with the unschooling and democratic schooling philosophy and community, and, while I was supporting my daughter in her experiences, I also worked with various groups of the “unschooled”, both online and face to face. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of helping to bring together two groups of unschoolers that decided they wanted to create democratic community. I have also spent a lot of time searching for and researching communities who have been doing this kind of work over the past hundred or more years, and I’m so excited to be continuing this work with the community at FVFS.
Kodie Cherrille BA, TESL
I'm a writer, a music-maker, and a teacher. I believe that children can become valuable members of their society through discovering what is meaningful to them. This comes naturally through play, and through an education that allows children to pursue their own interests at their own pace. I strongly believe in a mentorship model of education that sees the process of teaching as that of guiding students to their own goals.
Since starting at Fraser Valley Free Learners in September 2016, I've found, and participated in, a philosophy of education that puts the interests of children at the front of their own learning -- democratic education. And since September 2016, I have been loving every minute of being a part of these kids' education.