About Acorns and Oakwood

The story of the beginning of Acorns has been widely published. It began when a small group of dedicated parents took control of their children's primary education... all years before notions of Free Schools or the so called Big Society. 

When She moved to Devon with her family Sharona Parker found it was simply impossible to find a local primary school that would embrace Flexible education. Sharona only wanted her daughter to go to school for two or three days a week to enable more quality time with the family…The frustration was unbearable… It took no time to realise that if she couldn’t find a school then she would have to start one! So with the help of three other mothers she started a group that would grow into Acorns. “We wanted a more proactive, inclusive approach to education, one where parents could, if they wish, have more involvement in all aspects of their children's education. The thought of delegating such a vital element of a child’s early life to complete strangers seemed at best curious”.

Acorns does not exist to replicate, compete or replace main-stream education but to provide a more flexible education for young children. One which brings education to life, fostering a sense of wonder and crucially help children (and adults !) re-engage with nature.

There was no interest in adopting superficial green measures, like bolting a couple of raised beds to the playground wall, or teaching forest school on tarmac! More a desire to deliver creative and respectful ways of engaging with nature and at least to try to make a meaningful contribution to current climate, ecological and social debates. Although very much a work/experiment in progress, Oakwood is a site where the whole environment provides an influential crucible brimming with opportunities to learn from and work with… in short an education for all. Within the woods there is a “classroom without walls”, a fire pit where children learn to use and make fire safely for cooking, providing warmth and of course to enjoy the simple magic of fire. The woods often become the classroom, where experienced teachers deliver a wide range of inspiring, creative and practical lessons.

© 2016 by Kay Astle for  Acorns, Oakwood

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