Self-discovered, self-appropriated learning

“I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning”. Carl Rogers

What a two years we’ve had at Dacres Wood (Nearly two years! We’ll celebrate at the end of this summer term). And what an opportunity it’s been to learn freely about ourselves, about others, and about our interests. I say ‘we’ because I can’t help but include Rowan and myself in the group of learners, and I think that this is just how things should be. Last week, Rowan and I were tidying up after pickup and stopped to admire some of the creations from the day… drawings, sketches and posters for the climate strike that took place on May 24th. Among the creations, Rowan had sketched a beautiful rhino, and I had painted a big blue whale, and we were both so proud! Continue reading “Self-discovered, self-appropriated learning”

Open Day – Saturday, June 29

Free We Grow is delighted to invite you to our next Open Day, Saturday 29th June from 1 till 4 PM.

In this occasion, we are dedicating the afternoon to the exploration and reflection on the topic of Empathy.

As part of the activities for the day, we will be screening the documentary Love, Hate and Everything in Between by filmmaker and director Alex Gabbay.

‘The documentary looks into the world of neuroscience, psychology, education and technology to explore the extraordinary relevance of empathy in today’s increasingly interconnected world.
Man’s capacity for kindness and compassion is overshadowed only by his ability to be as cruel and destructive. Can empathy resolve issues of aggression and subjugation, where wars, politics and economic sanctions have failed? ‘

Film will be projected at 2 PM with a duration of 55 minutes.

After the film we will have time for reflection and exchange of thoughts.

Please note that film is suitable for children over 12 years old, due to the graphic nature of some of the scenes. Activities for smaller children will be available during the projection of the film. There will be always an adult from FWG to accompany them and look after them while parents are watching the film.

Entry is free and there are 20 spaces available. Please email us if you would like to attend or have any questions about the event:

During same day and times, Dacres Wood Nature Reserve will be accessible to the public, as part of  the Friend of Dacres Wood Open Day. Everyone is welcome to come and wonder around this hidden gem in the heart of Forest Hill.

We look forward to sharing with you this fantastic day!

Upcoming Information Meeting

Free We Grow next Parents’ information meeting will take place on Sunday 28th April 2018 from 5 to 7pm.

If you are interested in hearing more about the project, meet our facilitators and some of the founders and view the venue come along to the meeting.

If you have any question email us at

Show and Tell

I want to talk about sharing our stories with the people around us. At Dacres Wood we don’t live in a vacuum. Every member of the community has a home life, things that they think about, issues they are grappling with, and things that they like to spend their time doing outside of our three days in the reserve. Continue reading “Show and Tell”

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”