Introduction to Self Directed Education

Intro to SDE Self-Directed Education (SDE), Natural Learning (NL) and Unschooling Written by Je’anna Clements, pro-bono for the Pestalozzi trust Self-Directed Education, also called Natural Learning, and Unschooling, is fast growing in popularity around the world. However, many people struggle to understand exactly what it is. Summerhill School, which opened in the UK in 1921, and Sudbury Valley School (SVS) opened in the USA in 1968, were both founded on the idea that young people can be treated with kindness … Read More

Stealth Games and Birdsong

posted in: Nature Immersion

Underwater clouds erupting from sticky brown mud. Kids everywhere in the shallow pools, toes warmed by mud that squishes between them. Fish, tan-colored, each with a distinct thin black line from gills to tail down each flank. While we’re in the pool, the fish are invisible. But when we leave, long before the dust settles, sleek bodies emerge. They dart and glide in and out of mud clouds. They rest and see and listen and smell. The mud cave undercutting … Read More

Changes in the Landscape

posted in: Nature Immersion

We enjoyed a beautiful, windswept day at Reeds Brook this week. Caitlin Thurell and Sylan contemplated the location and movement of the giant ice floe since been last week. They noticed the stream crossing would be much more difficult this time. The water was incredibly high, and the rain had melted every bit of ice or dislodged them from the banks and washed them down he river to the sea. Last week, Birch and Juniper noticed how slippery the ice … Read More

Mud Season Arrives

posted in: Nature Immersion

We enjoyed a bright, warm day at Reeds Brook this week. During arrival we played Towhee, a game that challenges us to sneak up on a mother bird who is protecting her egg from predation, and freeze whenever she stops singing to look our way. Inevitably people make mad dashes, having to freeze in awkward positions, fall over, dive and roll around. It’s a great game for all ages to become involved and active. We are trying to steal the … Read More

Spring Session Begins

posted in: Nature Immersion

We were excited to see old friends and meet new students at the beginning of this session. With Jason’s still-healing ankle, older participants enthusiastically helped small ones make their way up the impossible icy sledding hill, and once they found their way into a sled, gave them a push off in a good direction. By their smiles we could tell they were all really enjoying each other, one of the reasons we love creating space for mixed age play. We … Read More

Journey to Self Directed Education

posted in: Nature Immersion

Being with young people was one of the earliest out of the home responsibilities I had as a teen. In my early teen years I participated in the Red Cross Babysitting Course and soon after began working for families in my neighborhood. This evolved into many years of full time work as a nanny in my late teens and early twenties. By age 19 I was grocery shopping, preparing meals, and providing childcare for a family with 5 children. I … Read More

Winter Camp Reflections

posted in: Nature Immersion

As I sit by the fire, Clover asks “How do you make oatmeal?” I offer my tea pot, and she puts it in the coals then gathers snowballs for water. As she nudges it closer to the embers the snow quickly begins to melt. When the chunks of ice started to melt, she grabbed a stick and starts stirring. “See! They melt better when I push them closer.” As the last ice chunks melt into smooth liquid water, Clover says “I … Read More