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Agile Learning Facilitator (ALF) Training at Heartwood ALC (Atlanta, GA)

Are you looking to support young learners in taking charge of and individualizing their education. Are you wanting to create and maintain a healthy learning community? Are you looking to practice community-building and explore self-directed learning more personally? Do you have deeper questions about facilitating, the ALC Network, or how to adapt some of our structures for your own project? Do you want to find adaptable tools and practices for your classroom, homeschooler, unschooler, or family?

Who is this for?

  • This event is for anyone desiring to facilitate or support self-directed learners and learning communities. It is for parents, volunteers, educators, current facilitators, school founders, aspiring facilitators, Self-Directed Education community organizers, ALC startup groups and other curious minds. Whether you're connected to a specific young learner, a specific learning community or are just curious about Self-Directed Learning, unschooling, & ALCs, this training is ripe with opportunities to deepen both your understanding and engagement in Self-Directed Education.

What to expect?

  • The session begins with an in-depth introduction to the ALC framework and agile practices. From there, we will utilize an unconference-style format that allows us to direct our own learning experiences together from emerging needs and curiosities. We will delve into our own personal growth and co-learning by going deeply into Self-Directed Education topics. Those who have been active in SDE spaces for a while are aware of the ways in which SDE work can be a portal and a conduit to many levels of personal growth, community building, and social justice work. We call this process “de-schooling, ” and regardless of our level of experience, the process of de-schooling is never complete. We commit to our own processes of de-schooling in ALF training, because it has one of the largest impacts on our ability to authentically support young people in their self-directed pursuits. We intend to go deep in these types of conversations and experiences together this summer, both with fellow adults and with young people. Most importantly, we will foster connection and use that connection to amplify each other’s learning experiences.

Program Breakdown (2 options)

5-DAY PROGRAM: EXPERIENTIAL THEORY. 6/17-6/21 (M-F) $400, 8:30-4P

Join us for a 5-day collaborative workshop with experienced ALC facilitators and other ALC startup groups. We follow the rhythm Heartwood ALC keeps during school days: morning intention-setting, daily exploring, then regrouping in the afternoon to reflect. In the first few days, experienced facilitators make offerings to share the theory and practices supporting Agile Learning Centers. We build on these initial themes by putting forth a range of possible topics to workshop and discuss, while also inviting participants to request specific offerings or make their own. We co-create the experience together and engage directly with ALC tools and practices for self-organization and culture creation. We share resources, take trips, hear from experts, and get our hands dirty.

Experienced ALFs will be facilitating daily intention/reflection groups, as well as making offerings to dive deeper into ALC practices.  Workshops, however, are not limited to theory or discussions. Participants can facilitate sessions that involve movement, the arts, literacy, mathematics, group games — anything! We will co-create our own ALC (for adults) together so you can experience it firsthand.

Below is a list of possible topics we may explore:

  • Intentional Community. Intentional culture.

  • Strengthening the social justice + SDE connection

  • Sexuality education

  • Technology: Addiction? Inspiration? Avoidance mechanism? Productivity tool?

  • Media consumption

  • Learning differences in SDE

  • Supporting SDE learners who carry anxiety

  • SDE in the family

  • Chronicling play and progress (without ruining it)

  • Freedom, not license

  • Creating a culture of consent

  • Co-founders and/or facilitator burnout

  • Now that my school/center’s flow is settling in, what do I do to support and keep pushing

  • College readiness for the college-excited SD learner

  • Supporting teens

  • Supporting young people transitioning in and out of traditional school

10-DAY PROGRAM: EXPERIENTIAL THEORY + MULTI-AGE PRACTICE. 6/17-6/21 (M-F) & 6/24-6/28 (M-F) $750, 8:30-4P

There's only so much theorizing to do. A huge part is experimenting, being iterative, and continuously growing and changing. So, in addition to the Theory portion there will be an additional 5 days that will consist of actually playing the part of facilitator and simulating a week of school.

We are inviting our students to come in for a week of ALC in the summer (something they are excited to do!). The young people amplify the energy and offer us adults an opportunity to deepen our ability to hold authentic relationship in the adult-child interaction. This is an immersive experience into what a week in an ALC feels like with people of all ages. You will have the opportunity to practice using the tools, leading sessions, and supporting learner projects.

The day for adults will run from 8:30am-4pm, while the young people will be at Heartwood from 9:30 to 3:00. At the end of the day, adults will have the opportunity to reflect and de-brief on the days’ experience. This is the time for getting feedback via peer reviews, reflecting on the gaps in your own skills you’d like to close, and deepening relationships with other ALFs.


  • All days run 8:30 am - 4:00 pm, with generative, optional meet-ups in the evenings.

  • Light breakfast and full lunch will be provided each day.

  • Please indicate if you will need childcare so we might see about arranging logistics. Childcare will carry additional costs.

  • We are located at 3983 Church Street, Clarkston, Georgia, 30021

  • Contact us at

  • Accessibility: Heartwood is wheelchair accessible. Deaf, hard-of- hearing, and visually-impaired attendees are asked to indicate their accommodation needs on the registration form. All documents are written in English, and all general verbal communication is in English. Attendees who may experience challenges accessing verbal and written English are asked to indicate this on their registration form and we will reach out (please provide interpreter information, if applicable).

  • Pre-requisites: Download and read the ALC Starter Kit, read Free to Learn by Peter Gray and review the content on our Resources page. We may also send you some additional items to read and/or videos to watch before arriving.


  • Will I be able to work in an ALC after attending this program?

    • We can’t guarantee that. The ALC Network doesn’t manage the hiring practices of the various ALCs, nor is there a standardized prerequisite for being hired as an ALF. There aren’t prescribed jobs awaiting those who attend an ALF Summer. That said, the ALF Summer programs we are offering in various regions are designed to serve as a catalyst into this work, primarily through our support of self-organized ALC Startups that have already become ALC Network members. What we are offering is both a foundations workshop where you will be informed about ALC as well as immersive experiences. You will be a big part of determining what comes next!

  • I want to open an ALC. Will attendance at Heartwood ALC's ALF Summer allow me to do this?

    • Let us know on your application if you would like to attend as a start-up ALC and we’ll go from there. You will need to get the basic ALC Network membership at the very least, and then your participation in this program will only help you on your way to becoming a full-fledged ALC.