Resilience and Renaissance: The Cole Kids Academy’s Remarkable Journey in 2023

In 2023, The Cole Kids Academy (TCKA) in Nairobi, Kenya, stands as a testament to innovation in education. This is a journey sparked by profound struggles of our oldest Cole Kid in traditional school environments near Portland, Oregon. Heartbroken by their distress and cries at each drop-off, we embarked on creating a more nurturing and inclusive space, The Cole Kids Club. This initiative blossomed into a sanctuary complementing the rigidity of standard schooling, tailored for families who sought an education beyond the conventional. Our approach included unique experiences such as visiting amusement parks to understand physics and technology, and attending numerous celebrations which aided their social development.

The unforeseen closure of schools and academies during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our transition. With the arrival of our second Cole Kid and the shutdowns, TCKA evolved from a supplementary club to our primary educational haven. This shift coincided with personal challenges, including job loss due to the pandemic, compelling us to take on dual roles as educators and parents. However, this also brought out an unexpected opportunity. The financial benefit from not paying hefty academy fees enabled us to purchase a larger home, better suited for both our family and the expanding educational needs of the Club.

This new setting became our hub for diverse activities – from setting up classrooms, planting trees as a lesson in environmental stewardship, to organizing sailing trips that taught resilience and independence. In this nurturing environment, we didn’t just set up classrooms; we created spaces for meaningful engagement with nature and our community. A heartfelt thank you goes out to our friend Lydiah and Friends of Creation for their generous donation of 10 trees. Their gesture culminated in a memorable tree planting ceremony on Kenya’s National Tree Planting Day, held in the scenic landscapes of Limuru. This event was not only a celebration of nature but also an homage to family members battling various ailments, symbolizing our collective hope and resilience.

Our proactive approach to community engagement led us to reach out to the Kenya Horticultural Society, Limuru District. In our quest to embrace diverse learning experiences, we requested to participate in their inaugural Mock Flower Show at Zereniti House. We are all grateful for the opportunity it provided. This event was a vibrant learning experience, where we delved into the world of horticulture, admired the stunning flower displays and absorbed the wonderful stories behind them.

Our journey took a significant turn as we moved across the world from Portland to Nairobi. This relocation was not just a change of scenery but a leap into a new cultural and educational landscape. As we celebrated our youngest Cole Kid turning one on January 1, 2023, we also embarked on the challenging yet fulfilling task of formally establishing TCKA in Nairobi. The process, completed on March 1, 2023, involved meticulous planning and navigating the intricate licensing procedures. Our curriculum was enriched with experiences such as attending the Africa Climate Summit, meeting influential figures, and integrating the local wonders of our community into our teaching. We even welcomed our first Academy pet, a kitten named Badi, which helped to foster a sense of responsibility and care among the kids.

Throughout this journey, our educational philosophy has been underpinned by the insights of influential thinkers in the field. John Dewey’s belief in experiential learning resonates deeply with our approach. He asserted, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” This philosophy is evident in our curriculum, which integrates real-world experiences and hands-on activities, moving beyond the confines of traditional classrooms.

Similarly, Maria Montessori’s principles of child-led learning have been a guiding light. In her words, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher… is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'” This sentiment is reflected in how we empower our students to take charge of their learning journeys, fostering independence and creativity.

The Cole Kids Academy’s evolution in 2023 is not just a story of educational transformation but a beacon of hope and innovation in a world that is rapidly recognizing the need for diverse, adaptable, and empathetic education systems. Our journey is a living example of how adversity can be turned into an opportunity, leading to a revolution in learning that transcends boundaries and traditional definitions.

As we look ahead, TCKA is poised to embrace new challenges and opportunities, remaining steadfast in our commitment to nurturing not just the unique potential of each child currently with us, but also of those who will join us in the future. We stand ready to welcome more families into our diverse and vibrant community while continuously expanding our educational embrace.

© 2023 The Cole Kids Academy LTD. All rights reserved.


“What I Spend On Child Care As A Parent Of Three.” HuffPost,

“Benefits of Homeschooling (5 Advantages + More).” Texas Home School Coalition,

Dewey, John. “Experience and Education.” Macmillan, 1938.

Montessori, Maria. “The Montessori Method.” Schocken Books, 1964.