A Brief History
Flying Squads started in a library in Brooklyn in the fall of 2018. But the concept behind them began years earlier, when I was working to co-found the junk playground, play:groundNYC, which wonderfully gives children free choice, but still within a confined space.
At the time, I was reading Colin Ward’s gorgeous book, The Child in the City, which discusses how, to truly be free, children must be a part of the city itself. Children need to feel comfortable on their own streets and must be welcomed in public spaces– a concept that no longer exists in today’s modern culture.
And so, I spent a year running a program helping children “get lost” in the city (called Ramble the City), but that too still felt too top-down, dictating where and why children went around to various spaces in the city. Ultimately this led to Flying Squads, a program specifically designed to encourage young people to take back their city and to again be accepted in society as autonomous individuals in a communal space.
Now in our second year, we are thrilled to announce that our project has grown, with Bria and David starting a second community in Portland.
—Alexander Khost (what’s my title… Initiator? Provocateur?)
(Flying Squad PDX) grew up unschooled, and now is a passionate advocate for Self-Directed Education and children’s rights. Bria loves to work and play as an SDE facilitator, and has experience doing so from her work in free schools, alternative spaces, and her experience as a parent. She spends her time exploring questions and ideas with young people and adults, supporting young people in whatever way they need, laughing often, and marveling at all of the positive risk-taking, creative thinking, and passion that lives in self-directed communities every day. Bria is also a martial artist and a dancer, a happy Portland cyclist, and a writer. She spends a lot of her time reading and discussing education and parenting ideas with anyone who is interested.
(Flying Squad PDX) is a Self-Directed Education advocate and facilitator. He has a passion for children’s rights, Self-Directed Education, and social justice. He was born in Los Angeles and raised between Oregon and California. A second generation immigrant of Mexican and Guatemalan descent, David and his family moved constantly to find work opportunities until finally landing in Salem. He graduated with a B.S. in Sociology at Portland State University. After working for three years in public schools, David sought to find alternative education styles that focused less on conforming and authority and more on creativity and autonomy. David is an avid photographer and a working musician. He hopes to not only inspire kids but to be inspired by them as well.
(Flying Squad NYC) is a father and children’s rights advocate. He volunteers running Friends of the Modern School
, supporting the history and maintaining current models of anarchistic education. He works with young people at the homeschooling coop, Brooklyn Apple Academy; he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education’s online magazine, Tipping Points
; and he is the founder of Voice of the Children, promoting and facilitating art and activism for young people.
He previously founded the Teddy McArdle Free School, a democratic free school in New Jersey, and more recently co-founded play:groundNYC, a junkyard playground for children on Governors Island in New York City.