FWG’s OPEN DAY – Oct 14

We are very excited to announce Free we Grow’s Open day on October 14th from 12 to 5pm. This is a wonderful opportunity to walk in the woods of the Nature Reserve and to meet FWG’s team and some of its community members. Tea, coffee, cakes on offer.
That day we will be screening the UK film premiere of ‚Be free or be dead’ from 2-5pm, an awarded 2017 Italian film of a homeschooling family. Anna and Lucio the directors of the film will be on site and do a Q&A session. Both, the open day and film are family-friendly. The event is FREE. Donations welcome.
Film synopsis: Anna and Lucio decided to take an alternative decision regarding the education of their daughter Gaia: let her leave the “traditional school” and try a more familiar approach, that aims to respect the time and the interests of the kid. Gaia is now attending a democratic project, where kids have granted their own capability to decide how, when, what to learn and even who to learn from. No grades, no homework no school benches… in theory everything seems perfect, but when effectively put in practice some doubts arise. Is it really possible to learn outside the “regular” school schemas?

The places we didn’t know existed

In preparation for the first day at Dacres’ Wood, I made a map to give to the children.  The map was a sketch of the reserve made into a puzzle. I had named some of the main landmarks I could see and invited the children to explore the forest and find which is which. I knew at the time that this map would be temporary. That with time and play, names would change, places would morph, and legend would emerge. But little could prepare me for the richness, depth and intricacies of the meaning of place in the children’s world; and I challenge any cartographer to capture the contours of a world which shifts with season and story, dips through dimensions and holds the hand of imagination.

Continue reading “The places we didn’t know existed”

The Small Meeting

It’s a sunny day sometime last term and I’m standing in the kitchen making some coffee. Lunch has just finished and a few children are outside in the woods playing Harry Potter. Rowan is out there too playing the part of Voldemort. Some other children are indoors making constructions with straws.

All of a sudden, Rowan rushes in and in a serious tone she calls over to me.

“Sally, I need to call a small meeting with you”. Continue reading “The Small Meeting”

Learning to lay off

The day the children started cleaning the bricks was magical for me. I’m not exactly sure how it started. One moment there was a pile of old used bricks covered in hardened mortar, and the next there was a production line of workers meticulously hammering and chiselling the mortar off, piling the bricks into countable piles and checking for quality control. It was even more organised than that, with a boss giving out jobs and instructions and organising breaks for the workers to run around the forest in turn and rest tired hands. Continue reading “Learning to lay off”

Are gorillas grown up monkeys?

Seed dispersal

Last term (spring term) we started a science club. This came about when a visiting parent suggested it in the meeting, the children cheered, and there it was, up and running. Friday afternoons, dedicated to science. It would be fun, it would be experiment based, the children could propose experiments or themes they wanted to explore, and no one would be forced to take part. We started by doing lava lamps and gigantic bubbles. Both afternoons were fun and the children’s understanding of the properties of materials was probably enhanced. Continue reading “Are gorillas grown up monkeys?”

FWG – Open day

Join us in our open day at Dacres Wood on Saturday 28th April from 1pm to 6pm.
Besides screening the film/documentary ‚Being and Becoming‘ (directed by Clara Bellar) at 3:00pm which explores the choice not to school ones children, to trust them and to let them learn freely what they are passionate about, we will have snacks, drinks, and kids stalls.

‘Sitting Down’ v ‘The Upside-Down Jungle’

Every day I spend at Dacres Wood I learn something new. Last week it was how to identify animal tracks left in the snow and what moorhens like to eat. The week before that it was wood carving and bricklaying. The past week or so however, for me, has been a lesson in how to hold different kinds of spaces at Dacres Wood. Spaces for quietly concentrating, dreaming and making; as well as spaces for group play, discussion and laughter. Continue reading “‘Sitting Down’ v ‘The Upside-Down Jungle’”