At Dandelion, we welcome all families, and this includes families who home-educate their children, having withdrawn them from conventional schooling.
To compliment the home-educating approach we offer two options:
1. Children (aged between 6-11) can attend an off-site ‘Dandelion Heath Day’ from 9am-2pm, every Tuesday.
This session is managed by qualified teachers who create an exciting day in the wilderness of woods and heathland. Children are free to choose from a range of planned activities, or free to engage in child-led/self-directed activities, improve tool use, play team games, and learn new skills, all under the supervision of experienced teachers/forest school practitioners. Children take part in a wide range of forest school activities, and all participate in philosophy around the fire at lunch. A packed lunch is bought from home, but a warm snack is provided by us.
2. Children attend The Heath Day, above, and benefit from an extra session (on Fridays) at the Dandelion site in Marsham.
This session can be as little as 9-12, or a full session of 9-2. This session has all the fun of The Heath Day, with the added bonus of more structured opportunities to engage in mark-making, toy making, snack time philosophy skill-building, AND lunchtime philosophy.
Flexi-Educating : Dandelion Style!
Dandelion is a strong advocate of Flexi-Schooling.
This term refers to a system whereby children attend Dandelion for 2 days, and attend a mainstream setting for 3 days per week.
This approach works extremely well for:
- Children who are gently phasing into mainstream, they then fully enter the system when they are ready, not when their age dictates it!
- Children who need a little more support, and are struggling to cope with being in a classroom full-time
- Children who prefer an alternative, more active, child-led approach to learning, for a little longer!
Dandelion teachers share aims with the second setting, and work towards common goals; always adhering to our child-led approach, where children are free to choose their own play and activities; where they are free to play, explore, imagine and learn, at a pace , and in a manner that suits them.
This is what our parents think about our Heath Day and Flexi-Educati0n approach:
I’m just beginning on the path to get an autism diagnosis for Alexander and forwarded Dandelions report to the GP for a telephone appointment. When I described Dandelions the GP said it sounded ‘amazing and perfect for Alex’. In addition we’ve had the Local Authority visit for Home Educating and the officer was very happy with the education Alex receives in Dandelions and home combination.
Dandelions allows Alex to socialise and learn in an outdoor setting. He especially loves Heath days: often leading us on family walks there to show us where he goes with his friends. Alex struggles with noise and cannot concentrate in crowded or noisy indoor settings, he also was afraid of heights from a young age. At Dandelions he has flourished in confidence, has firm friends and with kind support and encouragement can climb really confidently now. After one Heath day last term Alex described a lava game he was playing where himself and a group of friendy climbed up on the fallen tree and jumped down: he said he felt a ‘bit frightened but was brave and jumped’ and was so proud of himself they kept climbing and jumping down.
Patrick and Lisa
Like many parents, we’re worried about the pressure placed on young children in conventional primary schools, but home-education wasn’t for us. We’ve found flexi-education to be the perfect solution for our Year 1 daughter, Esme. She’s attended Dandelion for two days a week and her usual primary school for three.
When we picked her up after her first day at Dandelion, we knew that flexi-education was the right choice. Esme looked like a weight had been taken off her shoulders. There was none of the stress we saw at the school gate.
Dandelion has given her new confidence, resilience and independence, and its Philosophy For Children (P4C) is a wonderful tool for children to make sense of the world. Dandelion has also been a release valve for some of that school pressure. Luckily, Esme going to three days a week at school hasn’t disadvantaged her socially or academically; we think she stays more enthusiastic about school this way too.
Dandelion’s Emma and Hayley came to meetings to help us make a case to our primary school. They have supported us, and Esme, all the way.
We really hope more parents are able to flexi-educate their children!