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Beyond public school

Students finding education in new ways

By Courtney Vaughn, Hi-Desert Star

JOSHUA TREE — One of the Basin’s newest and most innovate schools isn’t using tests or textbooks or even desks to educate its students.

The Livingschool, a small private school on the highway in Joshua Tree, is one of several alternative education options for children in the Morongo Basin. On an average day, children ages 5 to 10 are learning about suffixes, honing their gardening skills and making miniature-scale rudimentary models of windmills, to learn how wind energy works.

The nonprofit private school offers students on a home-school regimen the chance to learn essential skills and interact with other kids. Each school day begins with singing, followed by a daily verse and then a discussion about how everyone is feeling.

“It’s called the Livingschool because it’s an organic approach based on the needs of the community” Laura Lawler, one of two instructors at the school, said from a miniature chair in the main instruction room. Lawler and Anna Beck do everything on a child’s level, from sitting with them during instruction to making their own workbooks and participating alongside students.



On Saturday, October 29th from 6-9 pm, the Livingschool will host a cocktail party at AZ West studio (not ordinarily open to the public). Live music by rock and roll legend Wally Ingram & Friends ( $45 donation per ticket includes welcome beverage and delectable hors d'oeuvres. There will be a cash bar and an auction with fabulous prizes. Proceeds will benefit the Livingschool. Tickets are available at Grateful Desert (next to Natural Sisters) or by using the PayPal link below.

On Saturday, October 22nd at 3:00 pm, the Livingschool presents a special outdoor exhibition and concert titled Trust Everyone Under Thirty.  The event will feature some of the most exciting young musicians in the Morongo Bain including Lydia Knight, who at 11 years old has been writing and performing since she formed her first band at 6.   Knight also performs solo at Pappy & Harriet's and is a member of the Dead Man's Bones choir.  She will be joined by a selection of special guests.  Also featured in the event are special video presentations from Copper Mountain College Multimedia Department under the direction of Spelman Downer, who will be showing prize winning new works.

Trust Everyone Under Thirty was put together by Ted Quinn - who is part of the Livingschool Cooperative and also president of Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council.  The event is part of MBCAC's famous and much loved annual "Art Tours" - check out for more info.