Community Education advocates and supports the creation of innovative programs and collaboration between all members of communities for the purposes of advancing community learning and sustainability.
The strength of community education is also its weakness . Community education’s strength is that it deals with many different and varied components of education within the community. It’s weakness is that this makes it very hard to describe what we do. Tony Townsend
The aim of 'Community Education' is to equip communities with the skills they need to undertake the activities they wish to undertake; it is essentially about educating communities or groups, not just individuals.
The field of Community Education is about providing the knowledge and skills for people to not only be self-sufficient and independent, but to create and utilize the interdependencies that must also exist in civil society. It is about creating a participatory learning culture that incorporates principles and practices of respect, mutual aid, inclusiveness, lifelong learning, skill building, self appreciation, entrepreneurship, and leadership development – the puzzle pieces that make up community life and learning.
We are the learning strands of communities. We are the youth workers and the youth leaders. We are the preschool and out-of-school time instructors and supporters who work with children and their care-givers. We are the adult education counselors, teachers and volunteers in continuing education programs, in workforce development programs, in workplaces, in colleges, in prisons, in museums, in immigrant serving agencies in family resource centers, in senior centers, and in other community-based agencies.
We are those who inform the public about the risks to the environment and its beauties, and what we need to do to sustain healthy lifestyles. We are muralists and local media producers that educate and engage people about local issues. We are change agents adept at working with community members to identify needs and resources, and then to meet those needs through educational services. We facilitate cooperation and collaboration among those involved in the participation and delivery of multiple resources. We provide training in leadership and curriculum development that tie formal to informal learning. We offer help in strategic planning, communication development, public relations, and program evaluation, among other transformational activities .
We are so many people addressing the multiple needs of individuals, families, organizations, and communities - providing an array of academic, recreation, health, social services, using the common thread of learning, to prepare people of all ages for active and healthy community life.
Build the linkages between the myriad incarnations of Community Education and ensure that the mission is about sustaining communities through education and learning.
Build partnerships with all institutions, (education, government, businesses, service organizations, neighborhoods, families, philanthropy and civic associations), locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, and guide where we are welcome the process of creating collaboration.
Reach out to and engage groups not currently being supported by formal education institutions or who would benefit from training. Learn from other informal and indigenous learning systems so that we are informed about the traditions and knowledge that shape people’s lives and values.
Tap into the knowledge and expertise of community educators throughout the world. Set up structures to share this knowledge with one another so that we benefit collectively what we each individually have experienced .
Constantly review, evaluate and adapt to the political, economic, societal, technological, environmental, and demographic shifts occurring in our communities, nationally and internationally.
Community Education is a vibrant and ever changing field, unique and interdependent, adapting to the needs of communities by responding with programs and/or processes specific to the local area.