Human. Nature


School without Walls is dedicated to the question of what a school can be. It is an educational experiment that invites children into a different experience of learning and explores, through theory and practice, how would it be if the whole world were a school. It is an aesthetic research expedition through Berlin's diverse natural and cultural places, dedicated to personal and global sustainability, an exploration of nature, human nature, and the link between them.

Our thinking in this project is influenced by the question what makes an "educated" person in the 21st century? We see the crucial role of education in helping people to develop a deeper awareness of the world around and within them, to nurture a broader perspective and understanding of different life contexts (historical, geographical, natural, social, cultural), to develop local and global outlook. Such education also supports people in developing qualities that enable them to make informed decisions and adapt to changing life situations, to find their place in the world and be able to find a common ground with people different from themselves.

This project aims to create a space where participants’ personal capacities (physical, intellectual, emotional and creative) are strengthening, where their ability to pay attention to the world around is expanding, and where they can sharpen their focus on things that correspond to their natural inclinations, preferences and interests. Our task is to have confidence in people's curiosity, to give impulses rather than answers, to support them when needed.

What happens

This project is a long-term frame for other smaller projects. Each time, whether it will be a workshop or a course a group of children and young people goes on an aesthetic research trip. The focus is on human and nature and their relationship to each other. How does nature live in cities? What is nature without people and people without nature? What is human nature? What is human impact on nature? What happens when nature and body meet? These and other questions that children and young people develop according to their own interests around "circularity and seasons", "structure and freedom", "movement and silence", "being alone and together", “senses and perception”, form the starting point for aesthetic research. In addition to developing their questions, participants reflect on their personal and shared experiences in and with nature. In search for individual answers and solutions, they are accompanied by a transdisciplinary team that enables holistic and phenomenon-based approach and supports each child in developing their personal exploration skills.

How it happens

The mixture between artistic interventions, body-related explorations, traditional aesthetic-practical procedures such as collecting, handcrafting, sketching, painting, printing, photographing, etc., and also scientific methods such as research, documentation, conservation, comparison, relating, etc. enable children and young people to view and deal with their questions from a variety of perspectives. Thoughts, images, experiences, emotions and aesthetic impressions are collected by the participants during two weeks as their personal research maps.

An important aspect of this pilot project is that it is context-based. Depending on the theme, this "school" space wanders through the whole city. It is important for us to find a balance between indoors and outdoors. The project takes place in different locations in Berlin: in the Botanical Garden, Grünewald forest, urban garden, museum, library, design studio, theatre, on the river, in the kitchen, on the streets. These places are not only connected with questions of content, they are also intended to facilitate unusual and unconventional work processes.

We pursue the following pedagogical approaches:

  • Phenomenon-based learning

  • Research-based learning

  • Self-directed inquiry

  • Embodied culture

  • Multilingual work

  • Learning in nature

To continue reading about our educational philosophy >> click here.

First edition of School without Walls >> Senses Series