The Guiding Principles of the Lodge

The Lodge was established in September 2021, as a follow on setting from the Cabin (established in 2018 for home educated young people aged 5-11), that will ultimately include people up to 16 years of age. Like the Cabin, it is a values-led setting, based on the same set of Guiding Principles:

  • Self-direction
  • Consent
  • Ed(ucation) positivity
  • Democratic
  • Children’s rights

These guiding principles serve us in co-creating a culture and environment for education in which people can stay aligned, whole, and free, where people can experience themselves fully and authentically, that honours their intrinsic sense of curiosity, need, purpose and expression, in a community context where mutually respectful, consensual relationships are modelled and supported.

Each person’s experience of the day has qualities of sharedness and uniqueness, depending on their needs, interests, and how they choose to use their time. The personalised and independent experience of consensual self-direction means that each person can choose to do what feels right to them, with the opporuntity to also share experiences and feel in community, through collaborations, the opening and closing meetings, and lunch time.

What does it mean to be self-directed?
Being self-directed means tuning in to your most authentic self and working from
that place forward. It means listening to and trusting our innate knowings and
questionings, and being guided by the sense of interest, curiosity, and problems
that come from this place. Self-direction enables us to explore the world around us
in a meaningful, relevant, and contextual way, aligned with our own state of
readiness and need. It results in us picking up the knowledge, tools and skills that
are necessary to be creative, knowledgeable, problem-solving, self-aligned and
self-actualised people in the world.

What is democratic education?
Democratic education seeks to embed democratic practices in learning
communities. For us, this means developing formal and informal systems,
mechanisms and beliefs that normalise equitable and shared decision making. We use nuanced
and equity-minded methods for resolving conflict and solving problems, community
influence on practices and procedures, individual and group participation in
planning processes, and individual and shared responsibility for community
hygience and wellbeing. This is most visible in our opening and closing meetings, conflict
navigation processes, and use of consent-based agreement making around risk management and resource use. We rarely use
a ‘majority vote’ to reach decisions, but when appropriate we do.

What is Consent-Based Education?
Consent-Based Education is the ethical counterbalance to self-direction. Consent is
a process that needs to happen when one person’s self-direction comes into
contact with another person’s self-direction (or the environment). Consent creates
the opportunity for people to say yes, no, or maybe to what they participate in, to
ask for more information if they need it to make an informed choice, and to change
their minds at a future point if needed. Consent-Based Education can only exist in
environments that are trust rather than fear-based, and behaviour is regulated by
authentic relationship and open and direct listening and communication rather than
through means of coercion, reward or punishment. For consent to be meaningful, it
must be freely given, informed, and coming from a deep sense of
self. As facilitators, we endeavor to provide the community with the information, affirming culture, and critical lens that they need to make an aligned and informed choice about how they wish to use their time whilst there. Consent-Based Education requires, and places in high regard the spiritual, emotional, bodily and emotional agency and
autonomy of all people, whatever their age or stage, and the personal boundaries
that accompany that.

What is Ed Positivity?
Ed Positivity is an education philosophy that combines self-direction and consent
culture with a transcendence of traditional of subject siloing, and biased notions of
subject and activity value. It addresses conscious and unconscious biases that
presume that there is some information/knowledge/activity that is inherently
superior or suitable as opposed to other information/knowledge/activity, and
instead reveres each person’s own unique needs and processes around living and
learning – so long as it isn’t harmful to themselves or others. An Ed Positive approach welcomes questioning, curiosity, rest, and interdisciplinary thinking and doing. It embraces exploration and critical thinking. It is open-minded
to the many different motivations and manifestations of an individual’s path in
seeking knowledge, solving problems, and learning in general. Ed Positivity respects
all learners unique, personal, and often private journeys in understanding the world
around them and their place in it. Ed Positivity is based on a belief that given the
conditions that meet our own basic needs for growth, we will do our best to grow in the way that is right for us.

What are children’s rights? *
The UK signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 19 April 1990,
ratified it on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992.
Everyone has a duty to uphold the rights in the convention, and we
take our responsibility of ‘duty bearers’ very seriously. The UNCRC underpins our
policies and practice, and we endeavor through our language, behaviour and
mindset to create a rights respecting environment and culture. Everyone is entitled
to know about children’s rights, and we work to share rights-based information with
each other, the children and families that are part of the community.

*What is our commitment to equity, inclusion, social and environmental justice?
Going even deeper in explaining our commitment to children’s rights: we are
committed to equity, inclusion, social and environmental justice and to be a
welcoming and inclusive space for all children, young people, families, and facilitators. We
are proactive in creating a space which enables everyone to express themselves and
be themselves, and to be accepted for who they are. We recognize that identities
are complex and multi-layered, and that children and young people are at a particularly sensitive stage for exploring, reflecting and
‘growing into themselves’. We want to bring in resources, materials, people, and
activities which will enable us to create spaces for exploring and affirming
experiences and identities, including those relating to gender, sexual orientation,
race, ethnicity, dis/ability, social class or culture, and age. We will reflect on and
challenge our own cultures and practices and we initiate and welcome of critical feedback and
discussion relating to this. We also know that we are not separate to, but are part of
the natural world, that we exist in an ecosystem where everyone and everything
has an important part to play in regard to the health and wellbeing of that
ecosystem. We know that feeling in connection to and care for the ebbs and flows, rhythms
and ways of the natural world is an essential part of being in connection with
and caring for ourselves.

One thought on “The Guiding Principles of the Lodge

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Learning to Swimming and Consent. – An Unschooled Learning Journey

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