When I think about education, it’s not often that I think about it being tied to a specific location. Generally, education conjures up ideas of curriculum based on the class divisions of reading, writing, history, etc. But up until recently I hadn’t considered education as place-based. As I’ve started exploring the concept, I’ve really enjoyed how it ties together a lot of ancestral unschooling concepts with decolonization.
I mean, how silly is it that we DON’T consider place-based education as critical. The real truth is that I just don’t feel tied to the places where I’ve lived and I wasn’t even aware that it was something I was missing.
As with so many ideas around decolonization, once you see, you can’t unsee and I now am lamenting my lack of connection to place. What skills could I acquire based on the land on which I live? What knowledge might have been passed down to me by elders connected to the land? What knowledge about local animals and plants are hidden away? And most importantly, how do I now access this knowledge and how can I share it with my children so that they have a better connection to their home?
I think this is a critical part of rewilding. Rather than learning about far away places or a set of generic skills, I think I want to learn more about right here, where I am. Native plants, local histories, bushcraft skills based on the forests near to me, and most importantly, how it’s all connected together and where I fit in that web.
I am not native to this land, but I don’t feel that I really belong to any other place. So I think I’ll make this a priority for myself moving into the next year: connecting to this place where I am, connecting to the non-human life that is here.