When Charley and Dakota were in kindergarten and first grade, April Peebler chose to step out of practicing law, withdraw her daughters from school, and develop a learning model using interdisciplinary studies in which all subjects—writing, math, science, public speaking, art, etc. — tied into a theme based on solving a real-world problem. In a group-learning environment, the children were taught through shared-learning, as kids inspire kids, and through project-based, hands-on, and “in-the-field” lessons often guided by specialists for various disciplines and experiences.
Also integral to the kids’ learning was Shakespeare theater training to develop confidence and public speaking skills. Brad Peebler shared his expertise in media technology, and since 2010 the Peebler kids and their learning-group peers have been making collaborative documentaries and presenting to groups on analyzing and solving humanity’s challenges as end-of-year projects. This interdisciplinary, solving-a-real-world-issue learning model has been applied to Heirs To Our Oceans, a program of nonprofit via senti.
The Peeblers believe that education reform is necessary, as:
- It is imperative for youth, starting in elementary school, to learn about the challenges they will inherit, be provided space and collaborative opportunity to process solutions, and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills to effectively navigate the terrain ahead in their best interest for their lifetime;
- Youth should be learning in their natural environment, connecting with it — one protects what they love, and they love what they connect with — not learning that our natural environment is to exploit for profit; and, most importantly,
- Human-constructed barriers that have segregated, alienated, and marginalized people should be broken down. Youth can come together in purpose, working toward a better world for themselves, together. They just need the support and opportunity to connect, learn empathetic leadership skills and learn the value of the natural environment that provides them life.
Through the commitment and tenacity of the several families who joined the Peeblers in 2016, an unstoppable ocean- and water-protecting family was formed. Heirs To Our Oceans has grown well beyond the first collective of middle schoolers in the San Francisco Bay Area to approximately 300 Heirs, from Nigeria to Kentucky to Palau, ranging from 3rd grade to high school graduates, and the movement is growing. Heirs continue to inspire more Heirs working toward a better future for and with each other.
When Dakota and Charley were 10 and 11 years old, the Peebler family decided to start actively solving the ocean and waterway crisis. Having spent time on the Northern California coastside and wading in tide pools as a place of learning and reprieve, Charley and Dakota came to learn that the health of their water planet was threatened by human impacts. They weren’t content just processing solutions. They wanted to do something about it.
In May 2016, the Peeblers formed the Heirs To Our Oceans program as part of a youth empowerment nonprofit recognizing the need for a movement to turn the trajectory of human impact on our oceans and waters around. They invited several families, who, like Charley and Dakota, were taught outside of brick-and-mortar schools.
What would our world be like if each of us adults treated every child as if they were our own.