Frequently Asked Questions
At what age can my child attend Free Spirits?
Family Hygge Days are relaxing, loosely-structured sessions for parents and their children, babies and bumps. We suggest a maximum age of 7 for these gentle sessions.
Childcare is also available for children aged 3-11 every weekday.
Can I stay with my child at Free Spirits?
We offer specific Hygge Sessions for children and parents to attend together. You are warmly welcomed stay with your child for their first few Childcare sessions as they settle in and become used to the environment and staff, although these are ultimately drop-off days.
Shouldn't my child be in school once they turn 5?
The law states that children in the UK should be receiving full-time education from the term after they turn 5. However, this does not have to be in a school, and many families take on the responsibility to home educate their children, making use of trips out, activity groups and sometimes tutors.
It is widely recognised in the education systems of other countries, and by followers of anthroposophy - coined by Rudolf Steiner, founder of Steiner Waldorf education - that 7 is the age at which formal learning should begin for most children.
Childcare at Free Spirits is play-based, with children learning through natural rather than contrived experiences. Once children reach the age of 7, they are likely to crave more formalised learning and will need a more challenging learning environment. We can offer up to 18 hours per week of informal learning and play for children aged 5-11 on the understanding that such children will otherwise be Home Educated.
Alternatively, children may transfer to a local primary school, attend the nearest Steiner Waldorf school (in Ringwood) or experience some of the many other Home Education groups. There are hundreds of home educating families across Wiltshire and Hampshire and such communities can be found on Facebook.
Won't my child be 'behind' if they attend Free Spirits instead of school?
Children who spend their formative years in a more natural, informal learning environment are usually much more independent, responsible, inquisitive, creative, self-confident and motivated to learn than their state-schooled counterparts. At Free Spirits, they will have been developed physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually in a holistic manner, possessing the foundations necessary for being enthusiastic future learners. Children will reach their potential in technical writing skills when they are physically and emotionally ready.
Children raised with the 'unschooling' method of home education can catch up academically with their peers, pass exams and go on to have successful careers.
Children in Finland, for example, do not start school until aged 7, and are the global leaders in English, Maths and Science education; their government prioritise well-being, creativity and joy in learning. See The Guardian's article: