Heather’s obsession is helping to create education and training systems that are truly human-centered.
She is a social entrepreneur, an educator, and a problem solver. She founded Classroom Connections in 1997 because she was worried about the education system and the kids in it. Since then, Classroom Connections has evolved from a grass-roots resource hub for schools to an award-winning producer of innovative education/training materials that are in use across Canada and around the world.
From 2010 to 2017 Heather spent most of her time working (and living) in Maskwacis, Alberta. During this time, she worked with in partnership with Samson Cree Nation community members to develop the Change It Up training initiative, which provides self-development and employment skills to young people who have dropped out and lost hope amidst horrific social conditions. Programs have ranged from general Employment to Entrepreneurship (with over 30 business start-ups and a social enterprise restaurant, Nipsis Cafe) to Trades (facilitating college entry without high school). All with retention rates over 80% and employment rates over 75%. These programs have changed lives.
It has all been good. But Heather feels that it isn’t enough.
If we, as a society, really want meaningful change and a narrowing of the gap between privileged and non-privileged Canadians, we need systems change. Drastic change.
To that end we are focusing on two key initiatives:
1. Change it Up: The CiU Program has been successfully delivering strengths-based, trauma-aware, learner-centred soft-skills training within First Nations communities since 2012. We are now offering CiU Professional Development to train others to use these foundational concepts in their work with clients, students, participants or patients. If you help people, we can help you do it even better.
Find out more and register for upcoming training at www.ChangeItUp.ca
2. Unschooling School: UnSS is a movement of international educators and parents with an emphasis on public education. We have built an online community and resource centre to encourage kids, parents, and educators to work together to make school less like, well, school by personalizing education and increasing choice. Join the movement...
Join us www.UnschoolingSchool.com
I invite you to learn more here:
Peter Gray: Mother Nature’s Pedagogy: Insights from Evolutionary Psychology
ASDL: Trusting children to learn