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 Tuesdays-Thursdays.
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. We prefer parents to get into the habit of a brisk drop-off as soon as possible, as experience has shown us that prolonging the goodbye process actually increases separation anxiety (in both the child and the parent), and confuses the child as boundaries are blurred. Rest assured that our loving staff will do their utmost to comfort and nurture your child the moment they are left in our care.
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. For children requiring a more formal, targeted approach, we offer focused tutoring sessions. We can offer up to 18 hours per week of education and childcare 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?
Studies (click here to view my research) have shown that children who spend their formative years in a more natural, informal and play-based learning environment are usually much more independent, responsible, inquisitive, creative, self-confident and motivated to learn than their state-schooled counterparts. At Free Spirits, we develop children in a holistic manner so that they possess the foundations necessary for being enthusiastic future learners.
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. Delaying or abandoning formal learning can actually lead to improved grades in later childhood.
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: