Updated 2018-10-15

The Learning Co-op

A mixed-age cooperative learning program that promotes and supports self-directed education and democratic decision-making as an option for all learners and all families.
Sidney Morris, Betsy Carnie, Kaila Allen-Posin Co-coordinators
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451 South Road
Chilmark, MA  02535
United States
Falmouth, Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard


The Learning Co-op is an emerging group of learners of all ages that work and play together in the creation of an association that supports all community members to have the option of choosing self-directed education and democratic decision-making. It has no fixed permanent location or full-time employees, but makes use of both existing community facilities and natural resources in exploring one geographical area at a time, with the help of ad hoc facilitators as needed. Occasional family gatherings serve as a forum for exchanging information about learning experiences and an opportunity to become more familiar with the practice of self-directed education.

SDE Optimizing Conditions

ASDE surveys all SDE communities/programs about how they provide, enhance, or align with each of the Six Optimizing Conditions for young people to succeed in SDE.  Survey answers:
  1. Responsibility – Supports learners to pursue their individual interests.
  2. Youth Autonomy – Provides adult support in the role of 'playranger' to ensure both freedom and safety in the pursuit of individual interests.
  3. Access to Tools and Technology – Supports learners to find mentors and resources that empower them to observe and participate in the life and work of their communities.
  4. Adult Allies – Adults act as 'playrangers' and 'learnscapers' to support learners in their free play and pursuit of individual and common interests.
  5. Free Age Mixing – Nominal inclusion of ages 6-16, plus any other interested participants.
  6. Community – Committed to a consensual process of decision-making that honors all perspectives and works toward the best possible outcomes for all participants.

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