THE PARKDALE FREE SCHOOL (PFS)

The Communications and Community Engagement Committee (CCE) is excited to announce the launch of the Parkdale Free School, a PNLT initiative that aims to organize free, informal classes and workshops across the neighbourhood!

Parkdale is a neighbourhood rich in knowledge, valuable skills and lived experience, and CCE thinks it is high time our community find ways to share these assets with each other—in settings that are fun, engaging and accessible to all!

While all PFS programming will reflect the PNLT’s commitment to equity, community-building and social justice, we take inspiration from the global free school movement in affirming instructors full autonomy to organize classes and curricula.

Click here to read the PFS’s Vision and Values.

Do you have something you want to share with your community? Want to help organize or promote a new vision of democratic education in your neighbourhood?

Click here to learn more about becoming a PFS instructor!

Current PFS Classes

Repair Café Toronto Troubleshooting Workshop
Nov 13th 6-8pm, PARC (1499 Queen St W)

Register Here 

The Parkdale Free School is proud to host a troubleshooting workshop by Repair Café Toronto:

Have you ever wondered why your toaster or DVD player just stopped working? Don’t know where to begin? Come to our free troubleshooting workshop and learn some simple steps to solving the mystery of broken stuff. Troubleshooting is a method for determining what caused your electrical or electronic equipment (or almost anything) to break.

This workshop will go through the logical process step by step. Bring a broken home appliance or some broken home electronic equipment to practice the troubleshooting method. If you can’t fix it then and there you will know why it isn’t working and if it can be fixed.

An important skill required to fix things is to figure out how to open them up and see what’s inside. If you don’t have something to fix, we will supply various small home appliances and the tools necessary to open them up and see how they work. The Instructor will be Paul Magder, one of the co-founders of Repair Café Toronto. Repair Café Toronto is a volunteer group traveling around the city putting on repair events on a monthly basis. Their volunteers help members of the community fix their broken things for free. Join us for this hands-on workshop on Nov 13th from 6-8 pm!

 

Radical Experiments in Land Stewardship
Nov 6th 7:30-9pm, PARC (1499 Queen St W)

Register Here

This reading group will explore the visions and strategies of movements working to expand community control over their local land and economy. Topics we are especially interested in discussing include:

-community housing movements
-indigenous approaches to land stewardship
-local food security initiatives
-anti-gentrification activist tactics
-feminist, anarchist, and/or Marxist perspectives on any and all of these issues.

We invite you to join us and share and expand your own perspective on non-profit-oriented approaches to provisioning a healthy, caring relationship to land.

In preparation for the first class, please read at least two-thirds of the readings below. Our initial discussion of these texts—coupled with a collective visioning exercise—will help in shaping the direction and scope of future classes.

While readings will certainly include critical theory, the focus will be on case studies of revolutionary experimentation. There are movements all over the world that have challenged and continue to challenge the dominant neoliberal/capitalist paradigm of land ownership and environmental exploitation. This reading group is an attempt to honour their struggles and take inspiration from their example.  

Can Masdeu: A Catalan Eco-Community Showing the Potential of Degrowth, Steve Rushton, Novara Media

Santiago Cirugeda,” Rebel Architecture, Al Jazeera

Argentina: Workers’ Management as a Response to the Crisis, Juan Cruz Ferre, Counterpunch

Un-gentrifying Portland: scheme helps displaced residents come home, Melanie Sevcenko, The Guardian

La Zad: Another End to the World Is Possible, Crimethinc.

Hope and Ka-ching: Workers of the world, apply here, Astra Taylor, The Baffler.

This Farm Is Occupied by Squatters Who Are Making Incredible Olive Oil, Diletta Sereni, Vice.

Inside Grow Heathrow: the UK’s most famous protest camp, Charlotte England, Huckmag.

“Who Killed the Women’s Land Movement?” Allie Conti, Vice, 2016

Self-discovery, Money and Corporations
Nov 6th 6-7:30pm, PARC (1499 Queen St W)

Register Here

This is a 3 part discussion series, focused on self-discovery, responsible spending and uncovering corporate manipulation. Participants in the class will explore these topics using different strategies, resources, spiritual practices, interactive activities and texts.

In the first class, we will make use of mindfulness exercises, laughter yoga, meditation, and spiritual practices that have been utilized for many centuries to discover their unique self.

In the second class, we will discuss how corporations mass-produce items and manipulate consumers into buying things that aren’t necessary.

In the third class, we will discuss a variety of ways that people can save money and spend it wisely; examine their spending habits and live inexpensively.

 

Radicalism, Activism and Change in Parkdale.
What Kind of Neighbourhood Is This…Anyways?
with resident instructors: BOB ROSE & DAVID ROSS

Nov 27th 6-8:00pm, PARC (1499 Queen St W)

Register Here

From “Flowery Suburb” to “Serious Slum” to “Revitalizing Village” and on to “Celebrating Diversity”, Parkdale is a neighbourhood with a long and chequered reputation. Are these images a gross simplification of Parkdale’s historical and current reality? What kind of neighbourhood is this anyways?

The course will explore the process of anti-procession work which aligns personal engagement and support work with community activism. What prepares the creation of an activist? It is the understanding of radicalism, the formation of radical identity and the ability to see activist options in real time, application frameworks. Anyone can do it if they open their heart.

PFS Course Calendar

**Asterisks denote a PFS “Cross-listed” Course. For more information about Cross-listed Courses, click here.