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Hi there.  I thought I’d post here to let readers from east Kent know about a relatively new initiative to establish a freeschool in Canterbury.  I’m on the steering group and its a lot of hard work but if it comes off it will be so worth it!  I have 2 sons, one who is already in a local primary in Yr 1 but struggling with some learning differences, and another who is 2.5 yrs old and will be starting school in the year our freeschool aims to open (Sept 2015). Those of us on the initial steering group met through our local natural parenting group and all felt we wanted something different for our little ones.  The impetus was not all about disillusionment with the current mainstream offerings, but more about a realisation that there could be a more gentle, autonomous, exciting and creative way to learn.  We are all parents, some of us our teachers, or ex teachers, and social anthropologists - a really good mix.  At the heart of our ethos is that children should love learning and they do this best when they lead their own education, learning through play and experimentation, with a delayed start to formal learning - in other words extending how children are nutured in playschool environments and taking the pressure off pupils, parents and teachers.  If a child shows they are ready to read and write, great, but if not then there is no rush.  The Scandinavian models of education have proven that learning to read comes naturally at around age 7.  For some children, especially boys and those who are summer babies, too much too soon can be really damaging.  Underpinning all of this will be a skills based curriculum which is truly creative, with a far greater emphasis on the importance of the arts than is currently the case in regular classrooms.  We are taking our cues from the child led approaches of Reggio Emilia and Frederich Froebel, as well as the Cambridge primary curriculum.  Integral to our vision is Forest School with the aim that all our pupils will be able to have at least 1 full day of forest schooling a week on site.  Overall we are looking at a strengths based model of education which will prepare our pupils for senior school and life.  We take much of our inspiration from the completely wonderful Sir Ken Robinson who continues to promote the nurturing of creativity so that we educate the next generation to think outside of the box and lead more fulfilling lives.

If any of you are local and would like to get involved in shaping how our school develops or if you’d simply like to express and interest as a prosepctive parent then please visit our blog at http://www.canterburyfreeschool.wordpress.com.  We need as many parents to fill in our confidential online survey which will help us provide evidence of demand for our application.  There is a link on the blog.  Our facebook group can be found by searching for Canterbury Free School.  Also feel free to PM me here if you have any specific questions. 

Sorry for all the waffle; I’m so genuinely excited to be part of this project that I get a little carried away!

Mummy to Archie, (16 Oct 2006) and Jody James (7 Nov 2010)

Ooh interesting, I’ll post the link on my HE group and on the Canterbury HE group too, as I imagine this might be of interest for some families who are home edding because of no viable alternative.

https://www.facebook.com/ByHook0rCrook/  - Freeform Crochet Art.

My blog:  http://freelyeducated.blogspot.co.uk/

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http://rosehowey.org.uk - HOME!

Hi Joxy…I’m on your home-ed groups because I’m probably, almost definitely, going to be taking my 6.5yr old out of school from September (I’m Louise G BTW) - I did thinkit might be of interest to those local FB groups but then thought perhaps people had made a very conscious decision to homeschool as a lifestyle choice (which I’m sure is the case for some) rather than because of a lack of a decent alternative.  Plus I didn’t want to be seen as cheeky peddling my wares IYKWIM; I joined because I’m genuinely on the cusp of homeschooliong and want to come along to a few gatherings before taking the plunge (tho I think I may have just got the green light from hubby with the condition that its only for his primary years!!).

We’ve already had expressions of interest for 50 children in the first week of having the online evidence of demand survey up and so far these have come from word of mouth - we’ve yet to start really getting the message out there.  We need as much parent support as possible, even if at this stage its purely a ‘yes, this sounds really interesting and in theory I’d consider sending my child(ren) there’.

Let me know.  I’d be happy to post on both the Folkestone and Canterbury groups if you think that’s OK given no one has met me in person yet.  Otherwise I’m very happy if you want to mention it.

Hopefully I’ll meet you very soon!

Mummy to Archie, (16 Oct 2006) and Jody James (7 Nov 2010)

a-ha, you’re efficient - I see you’ve done it already.  That’s fantastic, thank you! xx

Mummy to Archie, (16 Oct 2006) and Jody James (7 Nov 2010)

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