Vision and principles

Free We Grow’s project At Dacres Wood is inspired by democratic and humanistic principles and endeavours to create a culture of trust and confidence. Through its democratic mechanisms, it creates spaces where children can raise questions and concerns in a safe environment and where they learn to express themselves, listen to others, and take responsibility for their decisions and the well-being of their community.


We believe that the world is a fascinating place, and that if children (and adults) spend time in the world, in nature, within communities, in a supportive and trusting environment, they will grow to care for each other and the world around them. The vision of the project At Dacres Wood is:

A democratic environment embedded in and connected to the world around us where children can grow socially competent and ecologically mindful and where their innate curiosity and instinct to play and learn is trusted and nurtured.


  • We trust and respect our children’s interests and decisions
  • We provide a space where children feel safe, listened to and respected
  • We provide room and space for free-play, imagination, exploration
  • We create an engaging environment with activities in which our children have the opportunity to interact with the world around us
  • We offer the space and support for children to learn about their rights as children and citizens, as well as create situations in which these can be put into practice