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”

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?”