Getting Community On The Curriculum

 

This January, a year’s work on a school in The Netherlands reached a milestone for Kaospilot Youth. We have been looking forward to sharing our work here for quite a while!

 

 

 

What is Kaospilot doing in The Netherlands?

I graduated Kaospilot last summer. During my last year as a student, I got the opportunity to parttake in one of Kaospilots professional courses, Creative Leadership by David Storkholm and Paul Natorp.

At this course, which I strongly believe is one of the best of its kind in the world, I got the opportunity to spend time in an explorative space with fascinating leaders from around the world who all came to Aarhus for this incredible experience.

During the course, I had a feeling of being the odd one out. I was the only one with barely any leadership experience except for the projects I had executed during my time at KP, and most of the other participants looked at me with curiosity as I was in some sense an example of the Kaospilot mindset they were being introduced to.

One of the people at this course was Karin van Oort, chairwoman of the Carmel college Foundation in The Netherlands. She is the spearhead of an organization with more than 50 schools and 38,000 students. When I told her about my experiences with rebuilding class communities at Grenaa Gymnasium after the pandemic, she expressed that they were still struggling to do exactly that in Carmelcollege.

We agreed to explore how the Kaospilot way of working could affect a paradigm shift in such a complex educational setting.

Since then, I have been working with teams of students and alumni of Kaospilot on understanding the Dutch school context, engaging Dutch students in the future of their school, and establishing strong relations throughout the Carmelcollege Foundation.

I’d like to show you where we are now, a year and a half down the line.

 

What challenge are you dealing with?

Like many other countries, The Netherlands is struggling with a drastic decrease in student wellbeing. They are experiencing alarming stress levels, feelings of loneliness, and a sky high pressure created by the focus on performance in Dutch school culture. There is barely any space for students to develop a personality, or to find and nurture a community around them. They don’t learn how to lean on and support their peers. Emotional intelligence is in no way on the curriculum.

The most alarming symptom of this development is that the suicide rate between students is growing at a scary rate.

Essentially, there are no real safety nets in place. The waiting lists for psychologists are longer than ever. Most individual schools don’t have structures that work proactively to elevate wellbeing.

 

“Karin and I share a vision of reform. That this project, among other initiatives, can become so impactful that Carmelcollege becomes a frontrunner for transforming education in The Netherlands.”

 

What do you hope to achieve?

In the Carmelcollege Foundation, this challenge persists at multiple levels.

The context of each school is vastly different, so we don’t aim to come up with a formula to implement at all schools. Instead, we wish to work with as many individual schools as possible with the goal of supporting them in their transformation towards having the wellbeing of their students in the centre of their focus.

There is a huge opportunity for cross school collaborations to create a larger impact, to trigger some sustainable transformations.

Furthermore, Karin and I share a vision of reform. That this project, among other initiatives, can become so impactful that Carmelcollege becomes a frontrunner for transforming education in The Netherlands.

 

Why does this project matter?

We all know in our core how it feels when a community is good for us. However, it is a rare skill to be able to create, foster and nurture a resilient community. I strongly believe that a paradigm shift towards school being a place where life long communities come into existense is our best chance at enhancing wellbeing – and save lives.

This video is from a process in a school in Oldenzaal, located in the very East of The Netherlands. Here, the students felt their voice didn’t matter when it came to how school was structured and what changes where implemented. The management of the school had a strong desire to shift that feeling, and we set out to give the students a voice. The video is from our final workshop after a yeaf of collaborating with the school. Here, the students presented ideas for change based on a research process created and facilitated by us, but executed by themselves. They then developed on the ideas in collaboration with school management.

We excitedly look forward to contiuning this journey with the Carmelcollege Foundation. There is much more to come!

Facts

Project lead:

Thomas Garde

Project duration:

2023-

Partner links:

Stichting Carmelcollege

 

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A school in The Netherlands reached a milestone