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General News · 15th July 2016
Max Thaysen
We're putting together our fall offering from the Lakehouse Learning Centre.

Our purpose is to plan and oversee democratic, respectful, non-coercive learning environments on Cortes Island. We believe that children’s natural curiosity and vitality should guide their learning experiences. Our goal is for children to learn and to thrive both as individuals and as members of their communities. We currently have a base of operations in the Manson's Hall.

We need your input to ensure that our plans meet your needs. We've created a short, simple survey to that end. Please click here.

We would like offer some of our programming outside of public school hours, so that all Cortes youth may participate. So even if you're enrolling in public school, you probably want to fill out the survey.

Thanks very much for your interest and input.

Read on for more info about the lakehouse.

Lakehouse Learning Society’s CORE PRINCIPLES

Freedom is for everyone:
Regardless of a person’s age, credentials, or resources, we think everyone deserves freedom. Students own their daily routines by deciding what, when, and how they will learn. They have the power to say both “yes” and “no”. They enjoy freedom from manipulation, coercion, and physical or emotional violence. Each student, with guidance from advisors and mentors, determines his or her own requirements for success. Human behavior around learning is often dictated by the rigid roles of “teacher” and “student.” At Lakehouse staff, parents, and volunteers are released from the limitations of “Authority Figure” and allowed the joy of interacting naturally with students. They are free to share wisdom, offer classes, provide guidance, and just be themselves.

Freedom cannot exist without responsibility:
With increased freedom comes increased responsibility to ourselves, one another, our community, and the planet. We share the responsibilities of upholding agreed upon community laws, respecting Lakehouse property and the property of others, using money and resources wisely, and maintaining a successful and sustainable program. We share a commitment to co-create and preserve a place where all are welcome and free to thrive. In order to preserve our freedom, we must respect and defend the rights of everyone. A successful community balances personal freedoms and community responsibilities.

Community requires joint ownership and participation:
As a conscious learning community, we strive to model a cultural shift which broadens and deepens our concept of education. Education is more than developing a set of skills or acquiring a body of knowledge. Education is a life-long process which honors the journey of the individual while defining a larger purpose in the world. True knowledge is the result of meaningful engagement with the world around us. Ownership is reflected in the belief that everyone matters here, both in word and in action. Everyone has a role and responsibility in sustaining our community. In order to establish ownership each student, each community member, must ask two questions: “Who am I? and, “What does the world ask of me?” Our community provides the social context and support to answer these questions. The framework of our community encourages opportunities for learning through dialogue and building authentic relationships across ages and roles.

(Thank you to the Village Free School for permission to adopt their Core Principles)


Democratic education is a form of direct democracy in which all willing and interested participants are involved in discussion and decision-making. Decisions in Democratic schools and centres are made by consensus, majority vote, or a combination of the two. The Lakehouse community meets periodically and has the authority to make decisions regarding issues and activities at Lakehouse. Staff and learners each have one vote at the meeting and decisions are historically made by super majority vote of 75%.

Each learner at Lakehouse is free to plan their day in whatever way they wish so long as their activities do not interfere with others and they abide by local laws. When conflicts arise staff will empower learners to directly resolve conflicts (i.e. work it out by talking first) and assist in solving the problem, discussing the best course of action with those involved, and if needed refer the incident to a community process to find a mutually beneficial resolution (please see the “Conflict Resolution” section in the Parent Handbook for more info).

The following list provides critical information about the Lakehouse model so that parents can make an informed choice before registering their child in the Lakehouse program.

There is no adult-imposed curriculum. Learners at Lakehouse are free to choose how they learn, when they learn, and what they learn.

Decisions at Lakehouse are made as a learning community with children in the majority.

Lakehouse uses a conflict-resolution process modeled after the process used at Windsor House.

We do not recognize a hierarchy of skill sets (e.g., we do not value math skills over dance skills) and are supportive of each child’s unique interests.

We equally value each child and will not test, grade, or compare learners.

We encourage age mixing.

We provide an adult-to-child ratio of 1 staff for every 6-7 learners.

Lakehouse is secular and not political.

Lakehouse staff, volunteers, and mentors will share our enthusiasm without coercion.