Learning Space for 7 to 11 year olds

Welcome to our middle classes

Children can attend 1, 2, or 3 days a week.

We meet on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:35am to 3:15pm.

Wednesdays 7-9yrs

  • 09:35– 10.15: Yoga & Meditation/Walk in the woods and short democratic meeting.
  • 10.15– 11:30: The World Today with Laura
  • 11:30 – 11.45: Break
  • 11.45 – 13: Literature with Toria
  • 13-14: Lunch
  • 14-15.15: Students Decide with Laura.

Thursdays 7-9yrs

  • 09:35 – 10:15: Yoga & Meditation/Walk in the woods
  • 10.15– 11:30: Creative Writing with Toria and Nimrod (split session)
  • 11:30 – 11:45: Break
  • 11:45– 13:00: Science with Gemma and Toria
  • 13 – 14: Lunch
  • 14 – 15.15: Democratic Meeting & Art with Anisha
Fridays 7-9yrs
  • 09:35– 10.15: Yoga & Meditation/Walk in the woods and short democratic meeting.
  • 10.15– 11:30: Numeracy  with Gemma & Laura
  • 11:30 – 11.45: Break
  • 11.45 – 13.00: Topic with Laura and Toria
  • 13-14: Lunch
  • 14-15.15: Imaginature with Laura and Toria (learning in the woods)

Self-Direction

Teaching is led by the students’ curiosity and questioning. Students choose what they want to study individually or as a group. Together we decide our topic at the democratic meeting, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard. Research homework and written assignments are optional.

Creativity

We present the children with a uniquely creative approach to learning, which offers guidance while supporting and developing student autonomy. The topics interconnect science, humanities, and arts through the natural world in a fun, experiential, and imaginative way.

Stand-Alone Subjects

In literature, we study novels, poems, or plays chosen by the students which may connect to the topic. However, not all subjects fit easily into this approach. Languages need to be taught separately as do maths. Creative writing is free for the children to explore whatever they want. 

Democratic Meetings

In our democratic meetings students suggest ideas, initiatives, and even rules for their age group or even for the whole community. We discuss these and decide together so that our community is shaped for the students – by the students! In addition to the democratic meeting, we have student-led committees and student-led workshops. 

Topic-Based Learning

We have a termly topic that is chosen by the students and the teachers in our democratic meeting. It interconnects science, humanities, and arts to offer an integrated holistic approach to study that treats the world as one interconnected whole. It allows students to think freely, make creative connections with their learning, and see the big picture.

Students Decide

Every week the children have a self-directed learning session where they decide what they want to learn as a group or individually. It allows them to follow their passions or do something that stirs their curiosity on a particular day. They plan, document, and reflect on what they do with their independent learning.

RAINFOREST

One of the topics chosen by our students

Yoga & Meditation

We weave yoga and meditation practices into our daily programme to enhance children’s capacity for learning, self-regulation, and reflection. Children tell us they feel calmer, more focused and ready to learn. 

Jude loves concentrating on the yoga while Sally finds it funny and turns it into a game rolling around on the floor. She knows that, so long as she’s not interrupting anyone else’s learning, then she’s free to express herself.

Today Sally loves the meditation though; it’s a chocolate meditation! Everyone gets a piece of chocolate which they slowly, deliberately eat, noting the texture, taste, sensation in their mouth and then sharing their experiences with the group.

Then it’s checking-in time. Sitting in a circle, the children and educators share how they’re feeling today. Jude shares that he’s excited because he’s having a sleep over at his friend’s house tonight. Sally shares that she’s worried about her dog who has to go to the vets. The children then share similar experiences with pets and vets.

Science starts at 10:15am. The topic this term is The Body and today they’re learning about the digestive system. Their educator, Gemma, starts by describing the digestive system and asking them about what they already know. They then construct a digestive system using a variety of materials including a pair of old tights for the large intestine. They then introduce real food into their digestive system and process it all the way through until they produce ‘poo’ at the end. Everyone finds this highly amusing. They then consolidate their learning in different ways according to their abilities. Some draw what they’ve learned, other write about it, and some use a mixture of both.

At 11:30am it’s break time and snacks come out along with a number of soft balls, so a dodgeball game breaks out.

After break it’s time for art and the children and Gemma go into the woods behind the school to search for materials. Today they’re using clay and foraged materials to make body sculptures inspired by various artists. Sally makes a self-portrait with a ‘crazy mossy head’ and Jude makes a series of figures doing acrobatics using small branches inside the clay for support.

Lunch is at 12:45pm. Jude eats his lunch with some of the older boys and plays ball in the hall. Sally takes her lunch into the woods with one of the educators and some of her friends.

In the afternoon, it’s time for the democratic meeting. The whole community comes together for the first part of the meeting and then later splits off into different groups. The meeting is chaired by one of the children. For many of the children, the meeting is at the heart of their community experience and is the element that they most value. Everyone is free to add to the agenda before the meeting and then the chair goes through each item, listening to different opinions. Items are discussed, options proposed and then decisions are made by voting. Today we are discussing the Topic for next term. Ideas include Medicine, Engineering, and Astronomy. One of the children feels that they need more input from the educators to help them make an informed decision and so the educators agree to write a paragraph for each topic to help stimulate ideas for next week.

At the end of the day the children and educators all tidy up together. Jude is the tidying up monitor today and so checks that everything is getting done and then it’s time to go home.

(Descriptions are based on real events, but with children’s identities kept private.)

Meet Our Educators

 

Gemma Phelan is a KS2 teacher and home educating mum. She has a background in theatre and loves bringing learning to life. 

Nimrod Evron is our lead teacher. He works with this group teaching  games, yoga and meditation and also facilitates our ‘learn what you like’ session, supporting the children to learn about whatever sparks their imagination.