Ages: 5.5/6 - 11 years old (depending on individual readiness)
Opening Times: Monday to Friday 9:00 – 15:00 (We also offer a wrap around service before and after these hours.)
We are a team of qualified, bilingual (English Spanish) primary school teachers, artists, chefs and educators that have created a flexible alternative to mainstream education, a place where children are at the centre of everything we do.
A place where children are recognised as citizens with rights, the right to be heard, to be seen, the right to follow their own interests and the right to have those interests developed and create their own projects; we call it a Democratic Learning Community.
We use the National Curriculum, not as a base but rather as a very loose framework to assist children´s development. Whilst we have a very relaxed atmosphere we do track each and every child´s learning, each and every day that they are with us. We want children to grow, to develop, to be as passionate about learning as we are. Every child´s learning journey matters.
We don´t do tests, we don´t do SATs. We do individual continuous assessment. We know each individual child and work closely with parents to ensure that every child reaches their full potential, whatever that is, because learning takes many different forms.
We want children to be happy, confident, creative thinkers and independent. Children learn when they want to learn and how they want to learn and adults are around to facilitate this learning and they learn with them. Children decide which resources they need and how to use them. They choose their own projects or join other children´s projects. “I like it in here because I can do almost everything”, a child says about his experience with us. And it is true, anything can happen, chemistry experiments, fashion design, curating exhibitions, theatre, shopping for food ingredients, video production…
Learning is real and experiential. Children tender the allotment for Geoff and Johnny (our chefs) who help them learn how to cook. (We are vegetarian.) Elvis, Butter and Snow White, our three chickens provide us with eggs, they roam around while the children play. We make full use of Alexandra Park and we travel the city in search of new experiences. Manchester is our classroom.
We use art as a way to express ourselves and to explore new ideas. Ainhoa, Alice and Jon, our three artists, are at hand every day to work with the children, to listen to them, to help them to be reflective and develop critical thinking skills about their learning and their experiences. They work to create a live environment that inspires children every day.
We believe that children learn everywhere, not only while they are with us, that´s why with Manchester Metropolitan University we have created a virtual learning platform especially for our over 5´s and their parents so they can be in contact with each other when they are at home or away. Children, parents and educators blog about their experiences and share their interests with others constructing knowledge together. Our learning community expands beyond the walls of our centre.
Our relationship with our parents is an important part of our community ethos, we want parents to be involved as little or as much as they like and that can be in a variety of different ways. For instance, either through feeding the girls during the weekend, collecting their eggs or bringing their expertise to help children to expand their projects, such as the garden, building electronic circuits or sewing period costumes.
All these things, and more, are why we call ourselves a Democratic Learning Community.
You are welcome to have a look around at any time of the year. Phone us on 0161 226 8080 to book an appointment.