Calling all Self-Directed Learners and Innovative Educators — Nature Play ALC is Crowdfunding!

Marcus Letts
Origin Club
Published in
9 min readJun 6, 2017


Pledge from Thursday June 22nd to help seed an Agile Learning network on Evia Island, in Greece and across Europe. Ready, set, pledge!

Nature Play is hoping to become Europe’s first Agile Learning Community (ALC). We’re seeking to catalyse an Agile Learning ecosystem on North Evia by hosting ALF Summer Europe: the first ever Agile Learning Facilitators (ALF) training on the European continent.

To make this happen we need your help!

  • This campaign will support 6 talented and enthusiastic educators by offering them a mix of full and part scholarships.
  • This group will include both pioneers of self-directed education in Greece and ALC startup founders in Europe who want to attend our summer training but cannot afford the full workshop fee.
  • Your pledges will directly equip these educators with the tools and the confidence they need to go forth and multiply this Agile Learning Network on North Evia, all over Greece and throughout Europe.

Every pound makes a difference, and just £15 is a whole 1% of our target. So pledge now!

Your pledges will:

  • Cover the training costs of small group of committed Agile Learning Facilitators (between 3 and 10 on a mix of part and full scholarships). These ALF’s will be equipped and empowered to actively seed a European ALC network, encouraged to grow in parallel to the one already thriving in the USA.
  • Pay for Nature Play ALC’s membership of the ALC network.
  • Build a digital platform for Nature Play ALC and the ALC network in Greece.

If this sounds like fun to you, go ahead and pledge today!

Here’s Bear giving a TEDx on Agile Learning

What is ALF Summer Europe?

This Agile Learning Facilitators Training is a co-creative, experiential training and incubator for a network of self-directed education projects in Europe.

It is for social entrepreneurs and change-makers who want to create learning spaces (like schools and homeschool groups) and societies that put ideas and concepts of Intentional Culture Creation, Self-Directed Education and Self-Organisation into practice.

The retreat is also directed at parents, teachers, facilitators of children’s activities and education enthusiasts who are looking for radical and practical ways to transform education at home and in the world.

Who’s behind this?

ALF Summer Europe is being co-produced by a diverse and global team!

  • Our lead Agile Learning Facilitator Eric Bear will convene a small team of fellow ALF’s all the way from the USA (via Cairo)!
  • Event participants will be further supported by Liliana Carrillo — Agile Learning Facilitator, Certified Agile Project Manager, Scrum Master, Scrum Product Owner, Digital and Social entrepreneur, researcher of smart/agile cities and smart/agile communities at the University College of Artevelde (Ghent).
  • ALF Summer Europe is being coordinated by Marcus Letts of One Planet Productions, the project development agency dedicated to North Evia behind Origin Club, Transform Evia and Nature Play startup ventures.
  • And finally, this unprecedented European training will be hosted by Stagones eco camp; a natural building demonstration site and event space hidden within the unique surroundings of North Evia’s mountains, forests and beaches.

What is Nature Play ALC?

Nature Play ALC is an Agile Learning ecosystem in the making located on the Aegean island region of North Evia in Central Greece. We’re learning from the exponentially growing ALC model in the USA to help nurture a distributed network of Agile Learning Communities in our region, in wider Greece and across Europe.

We’re already directing ourselves all the time. Everything we do is a choice. Conscious or unconscious, every individual is always in the driver’s seat of their life, their experience. What if we raised kids knowing this? What if we raised kids to pilot their lives on their own?

— Bear, Agile Learning Facilitator.

Specifically, we’re building momentum towards a diverse offering of activities and experiences for children and young people in the municipality of Limni-Mandouthi-Agia Anna on Evia island. Initially these will include:

  • Pre-school in the mornings.
  • Youth clubs in the evenings.
  • Forest schools and work experience days.
  • Weekend pop-ups and agile expeditions.
  • Week-long summer camps.

We hope to make Nature Play ALC accessible to local children by adopting a complementary rather than confrontational approach, and also affordable to everyone — including the island’s refugee community — by actively cross-subsidising our offerings. We intend to play to our environment’s strengths by taking seriously the opportunities for innovative educators and volunteers to join us in this co-learning adventure of a lifetime, whether on short or long term placements.

So, what’s the story?

Something is stirring in the hearts and minds of three young families in love with their children and natural surroundings on Evia Island in Central Greece. Inspired by the exponential growth of Agile Learning Centres in the USA, we’re holding an intention to help cultivate a vibrant and colourful social movement behind self-directed educational models in Greece — a land where homeschooling is illegal and the state curriculum is compulsory.

— Marcus, Nature Play co-founder.

We believe that Agile Learning Facilitation offers a flexible and iterative approach to self-directed education that could inspire a cascade of disruptive innovation in the coming years as pressure on an underfunded and outmoded school system continues to grow. Specifically, we’re dreaming of a distributed educational cooperative — hosted by Agile Learning Facilitators in pop-ups and more dedicated learning centres across the region — holding space for agile learners of all ages, from pre-schools and youth clubs to summer camps and innovation labs. We envision ALF Summer Europe to be a new beginning for young people on Evia Island — and potentially the catalyst to a brighter and more beautiful future for children all over Greece.

Why Evia Island?

Framing Nature Play as Europe’s first ever Agile Learning Centre is a key part of our wholehearted response to a convergence of crises in Greece, the EU and across the world. We hope to apply best practice in agile learning and regenerative culture design to our specific locality of North Evia; a political and cultural context where a vivid, lived experience of crises converging has become a daily shared reality.

By holding space for our children to learn and grow in a self-directed way — supported by an intentional culture and agile management tools — Nature Play will offer people and projects on North Evia an opportunity to connect the dots between important questions rarely or never posed in public spaces. We hope one complete story will gradually emerge; a common vision and strategy — or “place DNA” — for the regenerative development of this unique and abundant bioregion. This symbiosis of people and place is our passion, because we know that only together can we learn how a new way of living and working together is possible.

In what ways can we help to Transform Evia?

Where is this happening? Tell us more about the actual learning environment!

The Aegean island region of North Evia is a fertile and biodiverse paradise of mountains and beaches between 2 and 3 hours outside Athens by car. We’ve got plenty of friends on Evia island who share our passion for self-directed learning and intentional culture creation. Friends who have generously pledged access to a diversity of spaces which can host Nature Play ALC sessions from September 2017.

Accessible spaces include:

  • Paliomilos permaculture project: a 20 acre olive grove in the process of diversification to polyculture.
  • Hotel Rovies: a local integration hub for dislocated people on North Evia.
  • Villa Averoff: a luxury resort complete with yoga studio and a community library.
  • Averoff Estate: a forest school on the border between olive grove and pine forest.
  • Stagones eco camp: natural building demonstration site, permaculture gardens and event space. Hosts of ALF Summer Europe in 2017!
  • Vlachia community centre and school: an underused, municipality-owned site in the most beautiful location you’ve ever seen.

With the above in mind, our vision is to develop a distributed ALC model which coordinates activities in a diversity of dedicated and pop-up venues, reaching across an entire local municipality in scale.

Who is this for?

  • An initial founding core of “three families in love with their children and natural surroundings in North Evia.”
  • The children and youth of our local municipality. Our vision is to inspire a new generation of authentically Greek inventors and innovators, equipped with everything they need to remake the world in a regenerative and supportive way for the benefit of themselves, and their grandchildren to come.
  • Parents and children of Chalkida and Athens. This is a unique opportunity for immersion in alternative environmental education, only 2 hours outside a major European hub.
  • Innovative educators in Greece and across Europe. We’re dreaming up a regional hub for the development and dissemination of Agile Learning tools, models and trainings.
  • World-schoolers, unschoolers and homeschoolers in Greece and across Europe. Let’s play to our strengths and grow an Agile Learning ecosystem on a paradise Aegean island that is attractive to young families right across Europe. Whether you come for a week-long summer camp or stay for the rest of your lives.

Why are we doing this?

Our bigger picture mission is to transform Evia into a leading European destination for regenerative culture design and applied social economics. In our hearts and minds, this vision and strategy begins and ends with self-directed learning and intentional culture creation. That’s why we’re building and planting this new story on a foundation of agile principles and practices.

We’ve observed the ALC model growing exponentially in the USA, and we’re stoked to be bringing this model to Europe. We hope that our innovative take on this approach will lead to even further replication and adaptation in a land where an archaic state curriculum is compulsory, and private universities have been illegal since 1970.

What do we need?

  • We’re offering a mix of full and part scholarships to help train up a core group of talented and youthful Agile Learning Facilitators. This is about seeding an Agile Learning ecosystem in Greece! We need to raise a minimum of €1,500 to make this possible. The more funds we raise, the more ALF’s we train.
  • Stretch goal #1 — We’re signing up as members of the ALC network, and making a long term commitment to help bring these tools, models and trainings to Europe, in partnership with other innovative educators across the continent. This is your opportunity to sponsor our membership during our startup phase, which costs $95 per year.
  • Stretch goal #2 — We’re adapting the ALC network’s existing digital platform to help us share our experiences, and gradually encourage a network of ALC’s to pop-up all over Greece. Your donations will help us translate this resource, as well as the ALC network’s starter kit, into the Greek language.

Call(s) to action:

Thanks for reading, we hope you’ve been moved to support our campaign. If you’d like to make a difference today, right now, here’s how…

  • Make a pledge! This is the best possible way to show your love, no matter what you can afford. Every pound makes a difference, and just £15 is a whole 1% of our target. So pledge now!
  • Share this invite with your friends! Post it! Like it! Tweet it!
  • Offer us advice and connections! Do you know anyone in love with their children and natural surroundings, just like us? Or anyone immersed in the world of self-directed education? We’re hungry to learn and grow into our brand new mission field, so please encourage anyone with advice or connections to reach out and say hey!
  • Refer an Agile Learning Facilitator! Do you know someone special who might like to become a European ALF? Then please share this Medium article, and encourage them to register for a full or part scholarship in ALF Summer today!

For more information visit our webpage at or email Marcus Letts on



Marcus Letts
Origin Club

Marcus Letts is a design thinker and event producer from the UK. He lives on the isle of Evia in Greece with his wife Emily and two young boys, Seth and Lucas.