My name is Mari Piggott and I am from Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I am an alumna of a democratic school and I am very passionate about alternative education. I am writing to you to explore the possibility of volunteering at an alternative, democratic, or free school starting in the fall of 2013.
Here’s a little about me: I was a student at Windsor House, a democratic, publicly funded, self-directed, parent participatory school, for young people from age 5-18. Growing up at Windsor House, I loved going to school, following my interests and learning in the ways that suited me well, such as experiential, inquiry and discussion-based learning. With only approximately 150 students, I knew just about everyone and had relationships and friendships with students much older and much younger than me, because we weren’t separated or ranked by age. I had trusting and respectful relationships with teachers and other adults at Windsor House because of the non-hierarchical philosophy.
Particularly in my later years at Windsor House, I was very involved in the running of the school and chaired and participated in many council and committee meetings. I was also involved in our judicial council and conflict resolution sessions between students as a participant and as a mediator. The well-being of the school was, and still is, very important to me and although I’ve technically graduated, I still volunteer at Windsor House and definitely consider it my community.
I have attended three IDEC conferences, the most recent of which was the one in Puerto Rico last year, and I plan to attend the one this summer as well. These conferences were wonderful experiences for me and I loved getting to meet people from all over the place, attend inspiring workshops and do a presentation with several other Windsor House people about our school. These conferences definitely fuelled my passion for democratic education even more. I would also love to go to an AERO conference but I have not been able to go to one yet due to scheduling conflicts.
I am currently working at an after school childcare centre for young people aged 5-12. I really like the kids and am pleased with the relationships that I’ve made with them this year. At my job, I try to be very respectful to the young people, particularly by letting them make as many decisions about their time as possible. However, the centre is very influenced by the mainstream system and all of the kids attend mainstream school, so I often feel restricted by the philosophy of the mainstream system. I would love to be spending time everyday with young people in an alternative school setting that would be more in line with my beliefs.
Besides education, my passions include being in the outdoors (hiking, camping, snowboarding, canoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding, etc.) playing music (guitar, violin and singing), doing circus arts (trapeze, juggling, unicycling, gymnastics, human pyramids, etc.), acting and being in plays, reading, and swing dancing. From age 7 to 17, I trained in a circus program and in the later years, I coached circus for ages 5-12. I did acting classes and workshops outside of school and also participated in all the drama classes and the yearly musical theatre productions at Windsor House. In my later years at Windsor House, I taught drama classes for younger students and was an assistant director in a play there. I have also taught music to young people both at my current work place and at a one-room elementary school. Another thing I’m very involved in is a peer counseling organization. Through this, I lead workshops for youth, ages 12-21 where I talk about global issues and encourage youth to have a voice in their lives and in the world.
I am very interested in learning more and experiencing different models of education and I would really like to go to a different alternative school and volunteer. I am hoping that one of you would like to have me! I would like to do this traveling starting in the fall of 2013 and I am open to coming for anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Please contact me if you or anyone you know is interested in having me at your school! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org