The visceral and the virtual

This article was written in July 2020, we are now happily back at Dacres Wood!

Free We Grow online has been great. And going back to Dacres Wood is going to be even better. 

I cannot have predicted what FWG online was going to be like. I held so many feelings before we started. I was excited about the prospect of doing something new with everyone we all know so well. I was relieved at the possibility of remaining in connection with each other during these strange times. I was apprehensive about the prospect of being on screen for so long, of running meetings online, of working out how to hold space for self-direction and expression, about our distance from nature and from each other. Continue reading “The visceral and the virtual”

Being new…

Whenever I turn into the road and see the Dacres Wood site, I get a smile that starts from the inside and makes its way through to my face! It’s a feeling that I’m in the right place, and I am experiencing such good fortune to be part of Free We Grow – this secret world of cat ninjas – with their unique skills, talents, interests, and hidden depths to be revealed slowly and in flashes. It’s a precious thing and I’m happy to be at the start of this journey! Continue reading “Being new…”

Goodbyes

The week before term started in Autumn 2019 I visited Dacres Wood to deliver some materials, and as I cycled up to the gate I spotted a poster with a picture of a cat on it. LOST it read, REWARD if found. I recognised the cat, it was Ginger, the friendly mottled cat who had been a regular at Dacres Wood in our first year. Ginger was a little like the fox in the Little Prince to each child at Dacres Wood.  There are even areas of the woods which are named after her use of them.

That evening as I mentioned this to a friend, I found myself crying. I don’t know if I was sad about the potential loss of ginger, or about the loss I anticipated the children would feel. Continue reading “Goodbyes”

Ecologically minded – Part II

On a tidy up time forest check walk with one of the children, we hear a sharp rasping sound. We both stop as we spot a squirrel running up a tree. We hold still. We often see squirrels at Dacres Wood, but this squirrel is up to something. It stops, freezes. It starts to bob its head. Its tale shivers. It suddenly calls out abruptly like 5 taps on a snare drum. We also freeze and observe it for about a minute until it scurries up the tree and disappears into the canopy.  What was it doing? Continue reading “Ecologically minded – Part II”

A Wonderful thing happened to me this spring

A wonderful thing happened to me this spring.
I got to spend six days with Rowan, Sally and the amazing children at Free We Grow.
Actually I am in Dacres Wood right now.
I can ‘be’ here, in this ‘lived moment’, in the here and now, in this beautiful space, and the children remind me to be in the ‘here and now’, ‘to be’ with them fully, and with what ever appears. Continue reading “A Wonderful thing happened to me this spring”

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”

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”