I’m a working mom, and I’m passionate about self-directed learning. I’m also the founder of Freerange Education Learning Centre, where both my children attend daily.
I love all things real and wholesome. The word freerange makes me think about cute chickens scratching for worms in natural surroundings, happy and care free. Having sand baths. Shaking their tail feathers in a grand chicken kinda way. Simply doing what chickens do, being chickens.
I wish for my children to be freerange too. Do what children do – naturally. Explore their world with curiosity and sense of adventure. Play. Learn new things everyday, everywhere. And play. Make a mess, often. Play some more.
Art and creativity is a gateway to unique thinking patterns, and I wish for my children to have the space to think freely, as themselves. I wish for my children space to discover themselves, learn about their strengths and accept their weaknesses. I want my children to learn how to be happy and healthy. I want them to learn skills, that they find important and meaningful.
And this is important – I want them to learn how to stand in their power and recognise their unique light.
I wish for my children to realize what they want, based on who they are. And then take responsibility for learning what they need to learn in order to make things happen.
I grew up on a farm, in a large family, with education-attentive parents. Much of our learning happened spontaneously, outdoors in our wide open world. Self-inspired.
I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old. I completed my formal teacher education and obtained some experience working in the main-stream schooling system, while I was also an au pair to two very unique young girls whose mother fosters a broader reaching educational style. Not being able to pin point it, I felt that something was missing from the formal education model.
When I was approached by Sanna to join her on the Freerange adventure, I knew that my question had been answered. I always wanted to help children find their unique learning style while discovering the world. At freerange, I am living my dream! Facilitating learning in a freerange environment, allows me to integrate what I’m passionate about, into every single day. At the top of my list are emotional intelligence, and learning through interaction with the world and everyday happenings. The location lends itself beautifully for connecting with nature and drawing inspiration from it. The free spirits I am privileged to work with every day, encourage me to broaden my own horizons too.
I’m an eager lifelong learner and love using cultural, historical, weird and wacky holidays/celebrations as starting points for conversations and discoveries. Children are natural learners, and just like me, see opportunities everywhere! Together we play, we learn, we live and embrace all that surrounds us.
After just a day visit to Freerange, I knew it was the place for me. The place where I could make a difference.
My mother passed away when I was very young, and suddenly there was no-one to look after me. I didn’t know how to deal with the emotions I was facing, I had no support. I realised that children need a whole lot more than just food, clothes and a place to live. I felt that many people don’t consider children’s feelings enough. Children are people too. My mission became to enrich children’s lives and help them deal with whatever they are feeling.
I’m 25 years old and a mother to a 9 year old boy. I’m strong, independent and passionate about helping others. At Freerange, I can answer my calling. It’s an open, comfortable and free space in which children develop and learn naturally. In all areas of life. At Freerange, my positive, adventurous and energetic character is right at home. Together with the children, we explore many opportunities and dance to the beat of the world.
Hi! I’m Dave
I started out as a geography teacher. Geography needs to be taught in the environment, seizing the moment, to nurture observant and engaged human beings. In a long classroom career I also had stints in history, technology, natural science (including physics, chemistry, life science and earth science) maths and computer literacy and was always depressed by the endless, mindless worksheets that other teachers seemed to regard as leading edge pedagogy. Watching the sparkle go out of enthusiastic Grade 8’s in a matter of months of joining high school was a puzzle that seemed to permeate every school, from the very best independent schools to the most poorly resourced deep rural institutions.
I was always on the lookout for a ‘better way’ and was constantly experimenting with simulations, games, drama, story-telling, systems analysis and field research (not field trips). Disengaged Gr 10s found themselves rapping their own environmental poetry; Grade 8s wrote the ‘Wetland Symphony’ of imitated bird calls and the wind rustling the reeds; Grade 9’s had buckets over water thrown over them to simulate the unpredictability of natural events. No notes, no worksheets. Just lots of questions – students’ questions – and matric results that proved the point beyond doubt.
Freerange offers exactly the kind of vision and environment that I have dreamed about, where brains are free to grow, to experiment, to question and debate. Already I see the difference between the Freerange children and their stifled, lock-stepped mainstream peers. As a passionate teacher of science and a student of learning science, I am looking forward to contributing to the success of Freerange in any way I can.
David Gear Education Services
BSc (Witwatersrand) Hons HED (UNISA)
Member in good standing: SACE