A Place for Colorful Mismatched Learners to Thrive
September 15, 2020
mismatched learners

As school closures continued in May of 2020, Sonya Harris saw children struggle. A former special education teacher, Sonya was heartbroken and wanted to do something about it.

Already director of the nonprofit Bullock Garden Project in Glassboro New Jersey, Sonya knew what it was like to start a passion project. And so, she decided to pivot what she was already doing to start a nature-based micro-school to address special needs children who needed in-person education to thrive.

The doors to this new school open as this podcast episode goes live, complete with trailblazers (not “teachers”), outdoor space, safety health checks and a mission to embrace the differences of all the children enrolled.

Tune in to the episode this week and just hear how Sonya’s heart is fully immersed in this venture.

About Sonya Harris

Sonya is a multiple award-winning, former special educator and founder of The Bullock Garden Project, Inc. She founded the nonprofit in 2017 because she passionately believes in the importance of empowering children, teachers and families to grow their own healthy food and hopes to inspire youth to pursue careers in the green industry. After retiring from education, she founded Their Place to ensure that all children had a place to learn, grow and thrive. Sonya travels and presents to/trains educators on embedding garden-based learning into school curriculum as well as members of the green industry on the importance of partnering with organizations who serve children. Her ultimate goal is to see garden-based education help eliminate food insecurity for all children.

Jump Through the Conversation

[1:38] Sonya’s long-time desire to open a new kind of school for kids
[4:30] Virtual learning doesn’t work for everyone
[8:34] As a Black educator has had transformative conversations with her elementary students on race and differences making us special
[10:23] Talking about race with second grade students
[12:12] Accepting, appreciating and understanding those who are different from us
[14:25] The importance of teaching love and acceptance
[15:52] The challenge of pivoting and finding a location for the school
[23:15] The universe reacts to (and with) a stolen car
[28:20] Sonya’s Magic Wand: Smash the production-line educational model and embrace differences

Links and Resources:

Sonya Harris’ non-profit, Bullock Garden Project
Their Place Learning and Discovery Center
Episode 21: Realistic Expectations for your Micro-School
Their Place honors the life of Summer Taylor
Book a consulting call

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show.

Latest Episodes

Education as a Human Right with William Tucker

Every human on the planet has a right to an education. And, more importantly, a right to the education that they need and want. In Western culture, that often looks like traditional education…sitting in seats in classrooms and memorizing vocabulary and historical...

Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon

One of the challenges with traditional education settings is that you’re bound to the same place for nine or more months every year. Slow travel, or really learning about a culture or community is difficult, if not impossible. But the reality is that taking kids out...

What Do You Want from Education with Lainie Liberti

A question we don’t ask enough is what we want from education. Of course we all want well-rounded young adults when they’re done with school, people who can become productive members of our society and who also have a healthy worldview. But our schools are not...

Latest Blog Posts

Why Isn’t Educational Change Happening?

School change is so much harder than I thought! When I did my doctoral research on school innovation and created a hands-on learning school-within-a-school in the 90s, I had no idea that I’d spend the next few decades making tiny changes. Changes that often...

Instilling a Practice of Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Thanksgiving looks different this year. Traditions are being shattered in 2020 and new realities are emerging. Thanksgiving is no exception. After Canada’s Thanksgiving in October, COVID statistics jumped, reminding us that, sadly, the pandemic isn’t taking a break...

Building Interdisciplinary Learning into Traditional Classrooms

A traditional classroom setting is just that...traditional. Teachers must teach specific subjects for a required amount of time, often using prescribed curriculum materials that may be a decade old. There’s little consideration for the individual learner--their...


Coming Soon!


Listen to Education Evolution on Apple Podcasts
Listen to Education Evolution on Spotify
Listen to Education Evolution on Stitcher
Listen on Google Play Music

Related Posts

Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon

Imagine Seeing the World as One with Rekha Magon

But the reality is that taking kids out of their comfort zones and letting them learn and live in other areas can teach them about kindness, purpose, building relationships, and so much more.

Immersive Project-Based Learning Abroad with Joann McPike

Immersive Project-Based Learning Abroad with Joann McPike

THINK Global School was founded on the idea that students should learn the things that matter in the grand scheme of things, rather than what we’ve “always” learned. The structure is so interesting and immersive, and it’s one that I hope gains some traction in the future.

Sign Up for Podcast & Blog Announcements
and Get our Free Guide:
Five Interdependent Hacks to Lead the Creation of a Learner-Centered Culture!

By providing your email address you are agreeing to receive email communications from Education Evolution.
You can unsubscribe at any time.