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Fundraising – Day 4

We’re so deeply touched by the support we’re getting for this amazing project. THANK YOU ALL for everything you’re doing – contributing, sharing, spreading the word about our good intentions.

We’re having such a wonderful start – more than 30% of our total raised in just three days! Wow! Thank you.
Feeling slightly uncomfortable about having spent the past three days almost constantly asking everyone we’ve ever known for money… Perhaps losing sight of the vision a little, which is not about money at all.
We’re outside, running our regular weekly group Mighty Oaks today and tomorrow, so will enjoy some time with our feet on the earth again!
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We’re Building Our First Classroom

We’ve found a wonderful teacher and a lovely assistant. We’ve got a fab little bunch of children and hopefully will attract even more…

We’re lucky to have a very generous and benevolent land owner who is equally as excited as us and has given his permission for us to do this in his gorgeous woodland in North Norfolk.

We’ve got a team of parents and helpers ready to come and prepare the site.

All we need now is a fully kitted out classroom, ready for September!

In keeping with the surroundings, we want to create a beautiful low-impact self-sufficient room that will sit as harmoniously as possible within the landscape.

We’ll be using untreated timber and materials that will age and weather to become part of the natural setting. Solar panels will provide light during the winter season, there will be wood-fired heating and cooking facilities, and a rain water harvesting system will provide for washing.

As well as year-round use by our class, we also intend to employ the room to extend our range of creative and personal development workshops, that will benefit the whole community and beyond.

Imagine Going to School in the Woods!

Leaving behind the road…then the car… following the red ribbons, winding through deer tracks, past ponds and magnificent trees, to arrive at a sun-filled and sheltered clearing, where a gorgeous little classroom sits, clad with waney edge board and cedar shingles.

Teacher has already arrived and lit a fire in the wood burner. The kettle is on, and she’s sitting out on the steps knitting, or playing her flute. As the first child arrives, she puts down her work and rises to greet them, shaking their hands, being fully present with each child and where they are in that moment, that day.

There is space for sitting at desks, where each child learns to read and write by creating their own unique reading books, richly illustrated by the child’s own imagination.

But much of the day is spent outside in the woodland, in exploratory adventures, immersed in the richness of seasons, inseparably intertwined with trees and plants, foxes, badgers and bees…

Learning there is a whole-form whole body experience – specially tailored to suit each child’s individual temperament. The children are surrounded by quality, by things being done well, and beautifully, with great care and consideration. They absorb what that feels like, and it becomes their own benchmark for living.

Here is a calm and peaceful space for learning… a place of wonder, of reverence, where children can be free to be child-like… and be loved and cared for, to be empowered to learn at their own pace, to deeply explore their own unique passions, and nurtured to grow to their fullest potential.

A Beginning

We understand much of the way we live life as ‘the way things are’, yet the world we think we know so well is constantly changing. Nothing stays the same. This planet has seen countless ways, countless forms, conditions and myriad life forms emerge and fade throughout the 4,000 million plus years that the Earth has existed.

12,000 years ago the very place you sit right now was covered in mile thick ice. Just 200 years ago, there were no cars, no electricity, no corner shop.

All evidence suggests that we are already beginning to experience another major shift. An increasingly hostile climate, coupled with shrinking land mass, the potential for super virus epidemic – any one of these could suddenly and radically change life as we have comfortably known it.

Already the institutions we have known are dissolving.
Housing ladders are losing their rungs. Job security is already an outdated concept, as is the idea that happiness comes from financial wealth. People are waking up to the sheer unsustainability of the mass acquisition and subsequent discarding of material goods.

What use are these in a new world where truly creative thinking is necessary to ensure our very survival?

We will not help the children of tomorrow by teaching them to regurgitate the facts of history. They will not thrive if all they learn at school is to fit into an archaic and failing system. Indeed, it is dangerous to be training our new generations to sit still and be quiet.

If they are to survive and flourish, they will need to be strong, self-directed and profoundly innovative. They will need to be emotionally secure and spiritually aware – fierce and also gentle, ambitious and compassionate, holding themselves and all around them with reverence, to be able to powerfully lead themselves and others into a new era of human existence.

Mighty Oaks Foxes is a beginning.
Our school is emerging in which these qualities are called forward, and each child has the opportunity to grow fully into who they truly are – lovingly supported and respected as they evolve through all their developmental stages. They will be nurtured and encouraged to grow in every dimension – acquiring emotional intelligence as well as academic, spiritual understanding as well as scientific.
They will become Masters of their own experience, learning how to move through the world with great intention and awareness, in their journey to becoming Magnificent Men and Women.
And in this process, as their parents, we will also have the opportunity to grow deeper into who we truly are.

Our greater vision is to create an open source modular micro schooling system – with individual satellite classes all connected, sharing resources and information.  Under this unified umbrella, different classes might operate completely different systems – whatever each local group chooses works best for them.

We can work alone on these ambitions, but I am aware that if we can come together with these intentions, then something even greater is possible. Not only for ourselves and our own families but more importantly, for our community and our species.

“The end I envision for my children’s education is not the mastery of subject matter… For the end we envision lies not in the amassing of facts or concepts which, in itself, has little more intrinsic value than the accumulation of shoes, baseball cards, or sports cars, but in the responsible exercise of freedom – the freedom to learn, to create, to grow, to be – unfettered by prejudice, their own or that of others, unhampered to the highest degree possible by others’ expectations and their own preconceptions, fears and self-doubts, uninhibited by dependencies not freely chosen.”

David H. Albert – from “And The Skylark Sings With Me – Adventures in Homeschooling and Community-Based Education”

Background to Mighty Oaks

Mighty Oaks is a non-profit group, run completely by volunteers, with any money after expenses invested directly back into Mighty Oaks. We currently serve 30 families with 37 children every week, and always with an increasing waiting list to join.

We offer an invaluable support group and lifeline to parents of young children.

Established six years ago, Mighty Oaks has been a great success, offering a unique opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children and a supportive network of other families, in beautiful rural woodland in north Norfolk.

For a long time we have had a dream about expanding what we do to include children of school age, offering a kinder and whole-form way of education.

http://www.mightyoaksgroup.org