The Ponderosa offers care and education for youngsters (age 13-23) who have difficulty learning and developing within the mainstream educational system. Highly intelligent and sensitive youngsters with exceptional potential in terms of their unique development. Small scale, time and space, nature and creativity, as well as a dynamic, value based environment, create the conditions to safely develop skills and talents.
At the Ponderosa, care and education, art and science, technology and entrepreneurship are integrated as an inspiring project within a lively environment: a care and education community in which youngsters can develop in a natural way. It is a living learning environment shaped by a dynamic ecosystem, where mentors can observe the youngsters also from an ecological perspective, and approach them from an emancipatory concept of humanity Here, people can create together, to grow and change when the dynamical balance is the natural state of being, in order for skills and talents to be discovered and developed, for uniqueness to blossom.
The Ponderosa has proven to be a place for youngsters, who, because of their authentic way of thinking and doing, do not seem to fit in a static society based on standardised expectations and results. They think and learn differently and/or have exceptional potential in terms of their development. They commonly show a disharmonious (intelligence) profile, are extremely sensitive to their environment and have great difficulty functioning in large and busy groups. Often for years they have felt they could not live up to expectations and were judged by their inabilities rather than their qualities. In many cases this leads to the development of structural fears and insecurities.
They often show rapid mood swings and therefore flourish better within a dynamic environment with natural, unforced rhythms and structures. Room for individual customised care and the group process of caring for one another enables our youngsters to show their talents and give them a chance to grow into resilient and open-minded people with a natural potential for self development, adaptation and the courage to change.
We regard the development process as an ongoing path. We find it of utmost importance our youngsters can continue following their own way of learning. This is why we do not distinguish between secondary education age and the life phase following it and hold our own vision concerning concepts as ‘school’ and ‘care’.