estled at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, the idyllic town of Bansko, Bulgaria, has traditionally been known for its stunning ski slopes, vibrant cultural scene, and rich history. However, beneath this serene facade, a quiet revolution is underway.

Families from around the globe have begun to recognize Bansko as more than just a holiday hideaway; it's quickly becoming a beacon for worldschoolers seeking a unique, hands-on educational environment for their children.

Worldschooling families are traveling because they are seeking a purpose in education to learn and experience and as families travel they bring their skills and expertise which can benefit the locals.

This transformation is a testament to Bansko's commitment to innovation and community, ultimately fostering an unconventional yet robust educational ecosystem.

If you've been keeping a pulse on the evolving landscape of education, you've likely observed the surging trend of microschools worldwide. These small, community-driven learning spaces see parents actively participating in their children's education, tailoring the curriculum to match individual interests.

This global phenomenon has found a particularly noteworthy foothold in Bansko, where the concept of microschools is gaining traction. Parents are increasingly embracing the opportunity to guide their children's learning journeys within a safe and personalized environment.

The surge in homeschooling is not only a local phenomenon but part of a broader global trend, with more families opting for this educational approach.

The rise of worldschooling, where families blend travel with education, further exemplifies the shifting dynamics in how families approach learning, creating a diverse and enriching educational landscape.

Bansko is now home to more than 300 remote workers in any given month, with the population surging during ski season. Although spending the morning on the slopes and being at work by lunchtime is certainly part of the appeal, Bansko ticks other boxes, too. Once the snows melt, the forests, turquoise lakes and rugged peaks of the adjacent Unesco-listed Pirin National Park offer plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking to cycling and horse riding. - BBC Travel

History of Bulgarian Education

Neofit Rilski, born Nikola pop Petrov Berin in Bansko in 1793, played a pioneering role in shaping the landscape of Bulgarian education.

Raised in a family deeply involved in trade and education, his father being both a teacher and a priest, Neofit Rilski received his early education at home and later pursued a monastic life at the Rila monastery, adopting the name Neofit Rilski.

Neofit Rilski Museum in Bansko- his childhood home, where his homeschooling started in 1799

In the 18th century, Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule, and the existing educational institutions were predominantly monastery schools with limited quality. Recognizing the shortcomings of this system, Neofit Rilski dedicated his life to revolutionizing Bulgarian education.

He advocated for a reorganized system with new schools, textbooks, and trained teachers.

In 1835, Neofit Rilski established the first secular school in Gabrovo, Northern Bulgaria. Here, he implemented innovative teaching methods, including mutual teaching, where advanced pupils assisted the teacher.

Neofit Rilski primarily taught Bulgarian language and went on to write the first Bulgarian grammar, laying the foundation for the development of native Bulgarian language education.

His contributions extended beyond language and grammar; Neofit Rilski's extensive intellectual pursuits covered various fields. He authored textbooks, including 78 tables for writing and mathematics, a Bulgarian-Greek and Greek-Bulgarian dictionary, and translated works from Greek and Russian languages.

He was a multifaceted individual, being a composer, architect, writer, geographer, painter, historian, weatherman, and healer.

Embracing a Diverse Community

Bansko, once recognized for its scenic beauty and affordable living, has evolved into a hub for worldschooling families seeking more than just a holiday retreat.

This transformation signifies a shift towards a unique educational environment, where families are drawn by a shared purpose in education – to learn, experience, and contribute. Andreas Wil Gerdes, a resident of Bansko, sheds light on this metamorphosis.

Three years ago, Bansko was a destination known for its inexpensive beer and attracted nomads. Today, it has transformed into a worldschooling hub, where families collaborate to create microschools and share their diverse skills with the local community.

This shift highlights Bansko's commitment to innovation, fostering an unconventional yet thriving educational ecosystem that benefits both locals and worldschooling families alike.

Nomads’ generation is defined by their freedom to work from anywhere, where the only requirements are talent and connectivity. They travel the world savoring diversecultures, becoming world citizens who view the entire planet as their home. They develop a nuanced understanding of global issues such as ecology and circularity. They become better equipped to align technologies with public purpose and integrate social concerns into business models and product design. With their deeper insights into local issues and indigenous communities, the new generation of humans is all set to usher in an era of responsible innovation for a sustainable future. - Andreas Wil Gerdes
‘After two weeks in Bansko, she looked at me and said  - "Papa, people are so friendly here! " ’#MayaGerdes in Summer 2021

The town's multiculturalism and emphasis on inclusivity provide a fertile ground for a global mindset, where personal growth and community enrichment go hand in hand.

The rich mix of inhabitants has catalyzed various unique initiatives, reflecting a spirit of shared learning and growth. For instance, a groundbreaking film-making project led by director Lara has not only put Bansko on the international map but has fostered a sense of purpose for local youth.

Film Making Session in Progress with #LaraOlbeter

The project educates and empowers the next generation with skills that provide a distinct advantage in an increasingly visual-centric world.

An Intellectual Crossroads

In an unprecedented move, Bansko has taken a bold step towards traditional educational augmentation with a twist of innovation. Establishing a community-driven public library symbolizes intellectual unity where families contribute, share, and celebrate the written word.

In addition to the exchange of knowledge, it has weaved a tapestry of familial relationships, bringing about a resurgence of German language and literature in the younger generation, thanks to families organizing the reading sessions with the younger generation. 

Bansko is also open to diving into the avant-garde. An inviting illustration of this is the recent workshop conducted by an eminent artificial intelligence expert, Arta Statovci.

The event wasn't just a foray into future technology; it was a practical, hands-on learning forum where children and their parents discovered the realm of AI, demystifying its complexities and exploring its potential in everyday life.

The Nexus of Education and Adventure

Education in Bansko is no longer confined to the four walls of a classroom. The very essence of the learning experience has transcended into a space where adventure and academia meld.

Families, groups of friends, and travellers come together for skiing, mountaineering, and the warm glow of campfires, where stories are shared like heirlooms.

Recently parents have started a ballet session fo kids, imagine experts coming together to create a community learning.

This dynamic interplay extends further into skill-sharing, with digital nomads generously offering their expertise during these gatherings.

From culinary secrets to AI lessons, these interactions enrich the educational fabric that traditional institutions often struggle to replicate.

A day in Bansko

A Paradigm of Homeschooling Community

A robust community of homeschooling families is at the heart of Bansko's transformation. They are the architects of this new educational outlook, which values experiential learning and community involvement.

Their presence has breathed life into the town, fostering a symbiotic relationship where local culture is embraced and celebrated, and international perspectives are integrated with local customs.

The self-sustainable lifestyle many of these families adopt creates an environment where children can flourish, taking on responsibilities that contribute to the community's well-being.

Whether it's mingling at the local bakeries or supporting the neighbourhood markets, the youth of Bansko is learning traditional academics and the invaluable lessons of everyday life that will shape them as responsible global citizens.

May be a doodle of text that says "Aulutrato Ballet MUM & ME BALLET CLASSES for kttke ones EVERY TUESDAY FROM 1400-1500 NIKOLA VAPTSAROV COMMUNITY CENTER CONTACT MAJBRITT: +491634066319"
#MajbrittKristensen sharing her
15+ years of international Ballet experiences

Reflection from parent:

I loved today’s class. It was so different from the ballet classes I remember from my childhood and yet so “child-friendly” and meaningful. World-class amazing.

The group of kids from mixed ages and nationalities was already “aware” what was happening there and what to expect; their joy was spontaneous; the mastery of Majbritt Kristensen whose every move was so profoundly perfect; her kindness and patience to the little “swans”; the rhythm of the activities; the fact that they watched an inspiring piece from the Royal ballet and were so interested - it just felt great and I am thankful and happy for my kid and for all kids that will ever be part of experience/education like that. - Daniela Slavova, CoFounder of HWF Bansko, BULGARIA 🇧🇬 (19 March 2024)

The Collective Perspective

The allure of Bansko as a world schooling destination is not solely about the town itself but the collective vision taking shape among its global inhabitants. It is a vision that values education as a multifaceted gem, with each facet representing a unique opportunity for growth.

The collaborative spirit that infuses every aspect of Bansko's evolving educational landscape—from skill sharing to communal adventures— potently demonstrates how education can transcend boundaries and inspire a generation poised to meet future challenges.

May be an image of 8 people, ski slope, lake and mountain
Families Hanging out near the Bansko Dam

In conclusion, Bansko is not just another charming town on the global map; it is a symbol of innovation and community, endeavouring to provide a holistic educational experience that is as diverse as it is dynamic.

Its journey towards becoming a world schooling capital is an inspiring narrative that beckons families from all walks of life to consider the limitless possibilities in this corner of the world.

As Bansko continues to redefine the contours of education and community living, it invites us to ponder: Could this be the model for the cities of tomorrow, where education and life conjoin, shaping not just minds but spirits, and in doing so, shape our world's future?

Home/World Schooling - Home/World Schooling Families Bansko is a Facebook Group, Co-founded by Daniela Slavova, where you can find information/ guidance about the local activities.

Worldschooling Bansko Bulgaria - Worldschooling Bansko are Worldschool pop-ups in Bansko Bulgaria since 2021.

Bansko Families - Bansko Families is a Facebook Group, cofounded by David Ekstrom and Andreas Wil Gerdes, where you can network and share insights.

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Feb 6, 2024
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