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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Clark

The principles underpinning our Hub and what we do

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


No political and social system as ambitious, complex and idealistic as a democracy can ever hope to survive - let alone thrive - without citizens equipped with the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to sustain it. Schools play an essential role in creating and sustaining such citizens (Goodland et al 2004:56)

“The only form of society which facilitates the continued evolution of the human species is a democratic form of society, and furthermore, the development of such a democratic society is dependent to a large degree on the democratisation of schools and schooling.”

John Dewey

This statement is an invitation (or a challenge) to help young people develop into informed and active citizens.

Some schools set out to become ‘democratic schools’ and incorporate the principles of democracy into all aspects of their practice. All members (young people, facilitators and parents/carers/guardians) have equal status and equal input into decision making.

A good example of such a school is Sands School in Devon England.

Max Hope, a researcher explains that democratic schools ‘by their very nature are driven by the principles of equality, justice and fairness’ (2012:734)

Our aim at Streams Learning Hub is to ensure that all our learners become active citizens. All our actions, processes and structures will be based on our values and will be fully experienced and felt by those who come into our setting.


Dr Peter Gray and the Alliance for Self Directed Education make the very important distinction between schooling and education. Schooling involves teachers who give an education to a young person who receives it. This is also what Freire mentioned when he said that our schools view children and young people as empty vessels that need to be filled.

Education is the sum of everything a person learns that supports them towards living a satisfying and meaningful life. It is a whole-person, whole-life, experiential process.

As such because each one of us is uniquely unique and we have completely different interests, goals and purpose in life - because we are unique ecosystems in this garden called life with unique gift(s) and fragrances, it is important that these are not only recognised but nurtured and honoured.

Given this definition of education, self-directed education is education that derives from the self-chosen activities and life experiences of the learner, whether or not those activities were chosen deliberately for the purpose of education.

We call this lifelong, lifewide, lifedeep learning

A great video by Peter Gray - what is Self Directed Education?

by Fabienne Vailes, September 2023


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