Roots: Radical Learning

An alternative school concept

Imagine an Education that is...

  • Child-led & play-based
  • Non-hierarchical, non-judgemental, non-punitive
  • Focused on child-led conflict resolution, building empathy and emotional intelligence

Roots is an exciting new project, growing from the passion of a group of parents and educators in creating a radical environment where our children can thrive. Born out of conversations visioning an alternative education for our children, this approach fosters not only a love of learning, but also cultivates a deep emotional and social development.

“Life is about being, and becoming.”
– Carl Rogers

Our Program

Our Vision

Let children be who they are

Roots will be a space where freedom and wildness allow children to explore their fullness in a safe and honouring way, while a trust and belief in the power of play cultivates an organic love for learning. We strive to create a space based on a foundation of understanding and embracing each individual human being — our feelings, our thoughts, our ideas, our problems, our personhood. A space where children are respected and heard, and a non-authoritarian, non-judgemental and non-punitive nature to our curriculum and communication will be the bedrock of this approach. Set in a predominantly outdoor space extends this work into a respectful co-existence with our natural world.

Conflict doesn't have to be scary

We believe it is vital for children to have the opportunity to express their feelings openly and without judgement, and when conflict occurs between children, it is our role as teachers and adults to help facilitate a dialogue between the children with neutrality - not through adult problem solving, but through the needs and words of the children. Through this process of child-led conflict resolution, where we relinquish control of its direction and trust the process and outcome from the children, evolves a deeply felt empathy and understanding of self and other.

Lots of different ways to learn

A supportive program of non-obligatory teacher-led curriculum will span from sensory play (shaving cream, potion making) and skills experiences (woodworking, cooking) to exploratory academic classes (science experiments, literacy), while leaving space in trust for the emergence of other child-created, teacher-supported activities. Building relationships of equality between children and adults, and moving away from the authoritative system that we associate with the mainstream, we have the opportunity to build kinship with children based in mutual respect; thereby earning their trust by way of our own actions rather than because of a titled role or through the use of praise and punishment.

Our inspiration and lineage

Significant inspiration has been drawn from the successful Play Mountain Place in Los Angeles — an humanistic free school and one of the world’s longest-running alternative schools, where one of our facilitators has trained and worked.

What we offer, and what we ask

Practically, Roots will be a three day a week programme for home-educated children, with running costs funded largely by parental fees. We are committed to making ourselves as accessible as possible to people of all backgrounds and experiences, through outreach, parent-participation, fundraising, and sliding scale fees. We will offer a high facilitator-to-child ratio, and provide staff with specialised skills in child-led conflict resolution and non-violent, compassionate communication.

Why we're doing this

Community is at the heart of this project — we strive to create a respectful network of children, parents, carers and educators that can all learn from each other regardless of age or position. There is no similar provision within Oxford, and we feel this could be of great interest to the large home educating community, those interested in alternative education, and those who do not feel that mainstream schooling is serving their child as they would like.

This project is still in development, so there may be some changes as we evolve. Please reach out to us with questions, curiosities, to gather more information, or to signal your interest.

Community Meetings

We get together once a month at Florence Park Bandstand. Feel free to come along, bring a picnic, and meet our community!

We will be hosting more frequent get-togethers to develop and bring the site to life over the summer. More information is coming soon!