PEACE – Parents’ Empowerment towards Alternatives in Children’s Education

Our first PEACE get-together was a mixture of the old and new Clickers (Community Learning Initiative Center). Some of those who were part of our first batch of Clickers in 2010 came for a reunion and the old and the new got to know one another. The pot-luck spread was wonderful! Thank you all for bringing the yummy home-cooked and healthy foods! There were noodles, pasta with creamy mushroom sauce, spaghetti with home-made tomato based sauce, lightly seasoned but mouth-wateringly delicious mashed potatoes, all sorts of fruits and cakes – swiss rolls and chocolate cheesecake! (those who did not turn up, see what you have missed!)

A surprise birthday cake was rolled out for KV’s dad, who came with his family from Seremban, to join us in our gathering. It was his 74th birthday and he made a long silent birthday wish before blowing out the candles. He was all smiles as everyone clapped and cheered. Then a group photo session for the album!

A community was born

A befitting start to an evening in celebration of a community that was born out of a need for an alternative platform for learning that empowers parents and children. When education becomes overly controlled, regimented and exclusive, it is disempowering, to say the least. The role of community in schools have long ceased to exist when parents are summarily shut out of schools to assume the role of helpless bystanders waiting outside the school gates instead of being active participants in their children’s education.

Children going through parents’ painful divorces, children with learning challenges due to autism, dyslexia and other modern day syndromes that involve various issues of attention or the lack of it, or just simply, children who learn differently – they all need different learning paths that make them feel good about themselves, rather than being made to feel like absolute failures before taking their first steps in their life-long journeys!

A community was born even before we formed Clic in 2010. Twelve years back, we started FamilyPlace – Malaysia’s first parenting site that spearheaded a community of urban parents who yearned for support from fellow parents on all kinds of parenting issues and education. We obtained a government grant (DAGS) to achieve what we had set out to accomplish, and accomplish we did, with the successful implementations of various activities and initiatives to build community, including the formation of Mothers’ Meet (as a support group for mothers), playgroups, workshops and dialogues related to family education.

Learning Beyond Schooling (the book, was published in 2008 by Pelanduk) which became the impetus for dialogues, seminars and workshops on alternative education, namely homeschooling. We created a website (www.learningbeyondschooling.org) and Facebook (Learning Beyond Schooling) to further explore, experiment and experience learning beyond schooling.

PEACE is conceptualized by parents for parents. We hope to fuel dialogues on alternative learning paths for kids who are at schools as well as those who want to opt out of schools. We need to embrace and to adopt a new mindset on learning and how children ought to be educated. We need to discover more options where children can build on their strengths rather than struggle with their weaknesses. We need to be a support for one another because there are various challenges that families face today that are not easy to confront on their own.

In addition to that, we also need to offer teenagers a place to hangout with peers to share problems and experiences so that they do not feel like they are alone. Teenage years can be extremely challenging and stressful if the family is going through periods of dysfunction and other challenges.

So, if you like what you read here, do be part of our PEACE community! Be a friend of Clic by getting involved in our various talks, workshops and activities!

Looking forward to our next PEACE gathering next month!

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