Democratic education does not follow a curriculum but rather interests of the child. There are no SATs, children are never tested and there is not a final exam when children reach 11 years old. If you decide that this is the right education for your child you need to be aware of and agree with this. Democratic education follows an emergent curriculum that stems out of the children’s interests and the various workshops that are offered in the environment. It is important to remember that in a democratic environment children are free, but that this freedom comes with responsibilities. Therefore this is freedom without license, meaning that the children are free as long as their actions do not infringe on the rights of other children and adults.
THE MORNING MEETING
The meeting is an essential element of democratic education. Children and adults have the same voice in it and when ready, children will lead the meetings. There will be some decisions that will be taken by adults ‘behind the scenes’ as it were. This may take place with regards to issues that involve safeguarding or child protection concerns or which may be administrative or burdensome on the children who need a ‘fresh mind’ in order to carry on in their play. Where children freely show an interest in issues relating to the running of the school, their participation will be possible. But when children are asked to take many decisions all the time they may feel anxious and overwhelmed, therefore asking children to decide on everything can put an emotional burden on them. The adults at Free We Grow understand that they have a responsibility towards the children to hold the space for them, therefore in some cases they will hold extra responsibilities . At the meeting children will be encouraged to listen to each other and wait until one finishes to talk.