PDX Flying Squads

PDX Flying Squads are one-day-a-week self-directed community groups for youth ages 8 and up (please be in touch about other ages).

“A city that is really concerned with the needs of its young will make the whole environment accessible to them, because, whether invited to or not, they are going to use the whole environment.” -Colin Ward, The Child in the City

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Monday Flying Squad (ages 13 and up. Please be in touch about other ages): 10am-3pm. Starts September 20th. Facilitator: Bria.

We meet at Buckman Field Park.

Wednesday Flying Squad (ages 8-12. Please be in touch about other ages): 10am-3pm. Starts September 15th. Facilitator: Niall.

We meet at Peninsula Park in North Portland.

For those interested, we will also have an optional 2-hour online session each week, during which we will be chatting and playing FairPlay, a fun, open-world role-playing game.

Covid-19 Related Information:

We know that times are still uncertain and safety is on everyone’s minds. It is certainly on our minds! Flying Squads operate primarily outdoors, in small groups with a single facilitator, which makes them a safer option during the continued risk of the pandemic.

For everyone’s continued safety we will also be asking that all participants wear a mask for the entire day, other than when we are eating, outside and distanced. Unfortunately, we cannot make accommodations at this time for those who are unable to wear masks.

If anyone in your family has symptoms, please let us know ASAP so we can inform the group, and follow any contact tracing protocols. Being outside and masked there is low risk for transmission, but we want to ensure we follow any steps necessary for the safety of the group, which means informing everyone in the group if symptoms arise or someone tests positive for covid.

We will be taking public transportation as needed.

Our teen group will be meeting up with another Flying Squad from the Village Free School. This gives us all an opportunity to connect with other communities and expand our relationships. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sign-up here!

General Flying Squad Information:

Based in the values of Self-Directed Education, Flying Squads provide young people with time to practice making their own decisions in a nurturing community of human connections through which they can develop relationships and work on self-confidence with genuine feedback from peers and society.

Unlike school field trips, Flying Squad does not have a predetermined destination but instead practices the crucial skills of deciding together where to go and how to spend their time. Each day starts at a meeting place, documenting and reflecting on previous time together in a communal journal. The group then sets out into the world to explore common interests as a collective, experimenting on how to build community and deciding how to voice group concerns on the social justice issue of being youth in a city built for adults.

Even in the most caring of school and homeschooling co-op spaces, a definitive line is drawn on where children learn and what space and materials are and are not for them. By intentionally not using a learning space or having predetermined tools and materials, Flying Squad participants learn the important value of abolishing these distinctions as the young people involved interact with the world outside on a regular basis, carving out a space for themselves in their city. And as they do so, they learn perhaps one of life’s most important lessons: how to find self-identity while caring for and developing a community with others.

Flying Squads are perfect for unschoolers, self-directed learners, and anyone looking to deschool or engage outside the conventional system.

Our Squad focuses on learning through playfulness but also addresses concerns around social justice and youth rights. This group will be using the power of play to examine the serious issues of how society impacts them and how they can impact society. By experimenting with and testing the world through playing, exploring, and discussions, the young people involved learn a bit about themselves while exploring their city with a group of other young people.

Read about our pricing options.


Bria Bloom (she/her) 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.
Niall Giblin (he/him) grew up in Ireland and moved to New York City in 2012 where he studied Music Education at grad school. He briefly worked in the public school system before accepting his philosophy of non-coercive, self-directed creativity was not compatible with the conventional music classroom as it doesn’t foster care for all involved. Niall loves to connect to the world around him through his own music and is passionate about sharing in others’ creativity. He believes it is a gift to be around free, whole people who are fully accepted for who and where they are. Niall moved to Portland, OR in 2016 where he facilitates self-directed music offerings. His most favorite activity is running through the forests, taking in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Daveed Jacobo (they/him) 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 unschooling and youth advocate, a musician, and a photographer. Check out his work at davidjacobo.com. He hopes to not only inspire kids but to be inspired by them as well.

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