Diana Marza is the Educational manager, Agile Learning Facilitator and one of School of Joy ALC founders and vision holders. Diana works to support new facilitators, parents and other adults in interacting with young people from a place of trust, equity, respect and authentic connection.
“I am a mother of two wonderful boys, and being a mom changed my life in a big way. As I realized that what I knew about being a parent would not support my kids to grow in a free, natural way, I started to read literature about this subject, I changed my career and I started to work with myself in many ways to become a more balanced and peaceful person.
So, in this sense I learned yoga for kids, I learned and worked (and made it a way of living) with non-violent communication, and made yoga a part of my day to day life.
At some point, after much reading about education, I realized that the current education system it’s not what I and my husband want for our children. Therefore, I started to search for alternatives, and what resonated deeply with me was self-directed education. Going deeper into this, I found about Agile Learning Centers and in the summer of 2017, as a family, we took part in an agile learning facilitator camp.
This led to homeschooling the kids, and after one year on this path, I met Diana who was writing a project for a grant to finance the creation of a “space” for children to pursue free learning. One more year later we opened SOJ.
I am deeply grateful for what we are creating for the children from our community and for the whole community, and hope that we can make the SOJ family bigger.”
Diana Cretu is the Financial manager, Agile Learning Facilitator, and founder/vision holder at School of Joy ALC.
“When my daughter Ana was 2 years old I knew that the traditional school system was not an option for us as a family, so I started to read about different models of education and self-directed education stood out for me. The idea of freedom to learn in an environment where children are not coerced but are able to explore their interests and find passion in learning more about them was the most appealing aspect.
Fueled by the research on children’s natural ways of learning and the life-long educational value of play we started School of Joy ALC in 2019 together with Diana Marza.
I am passionate about sustainability and I enjoy reading, gardening, tinkering and challenging preconceived ideas.
I love witnessing young people flourishing in an atmosphere of trust and empowerment, where they have the freedom to learn and grow in their own unique ways.”
Eliza Chirita is an Agile Learning Facilitator who works with School of Joy ALC to fully support self-directed education, and foster positive learning relationships with kids that are both rooted in trust, and empathy.
“I finished my studies at the Faculty of Letters and I admit that seven years ago I was almost sure that my dream job was to become a French teacher. I was always very fond of children and maybe this was one of the strong reasons for my wish at that time. That did not happen, because I was not highly motivated to follow that path.
After three years of working in enterprises, I realized that my place had never been there. So, I came back to my first passion – working with children. I am currently an educational facilitator in a center that is based on self-directed education. I constantly see, learn and believe that self-directed education mainly comes from everyday experience of life which involves communication, sociability, playfulness, curiosity and happiness. Children can choose for themselves, they can say or show when they are hungry or tired, sad or happy, they can choose their own activities, by fulfilling their intentions in their own way.
I love nature, because it inspires me and it is in fact our life. I love children, because they always help me to develop new sides of my personality and to understand when I have high or low energy. I also think that it is very important to understand myself and to find my inner peace before trying to understand the others. I love books, because I find in them the nourishment for my mind. At the same time, I believe that if my body and mind are in a state of joy and peace, everything inside and around me will work extraordinary.”
Sabina Pop is an Agile Learning Facilitator who works with School of Joy ALC to encourages authentic expression and empower children to pursue their interests and discover new passions.
“After I finished high-school, 10 years ago, I slowly realized that the educational system did not prepare me for life, that I was missing essential skills and I had no idea which was my place in the world. I, thus, spent the following years searching, trying to find and develop myself as well as the essential life skills that I was missing.
Somehow, even though I studied Business Administration in Hospitality Services and Environmental Protection Management, I always ended up working in education – first, as a Primary School teacher in a disadvantaged community in Romania, later as a homeschooling teacher and now a facilitator in School of Joy Agile Learning Center.
Throughout all these years I thought I will end up understanding what are the skills and competences that a young person should possess, in order to be happy and successful in the world, but as I live and I am more aware by the day, I see that there is no specific way in which a person should be or become.
The more I observe and spend time with children and teens at SoJ, the more I realize that all they need in order to bloom is an environment in which they feel safe, accepted and encouraged to explore life in their own natural way, that comes from within.
My contribution in School of Joy goes towards fostering this environment and, most importantly, letting Nature (inside and outside) be the guide. What came as a surprise for me in this process is that, while I let and observe them explore life freely, I healed from my limiting educational experiences and I became more natural myself. I am truly grateful for this.”