BuildingforFamilies is back on the road after two years creating a round-wood timber building for a woodland school in Dorset. We are looking for a new home and a place to create a school of self-reliance and are currently in negotiations to buy a place called Wilderness Wood in East Sussex. While we are looking, we are open to offers for exchanging building work for lodgings – we are starting with a house in Camberwell, London which needs some carpentry and gardening work.
Emily has just submitted a Masters in Research Methods Dissertation to the Institute of Education, London based on research about children’s experiences in Whiteway Colony near Stroud in the 1930s. The colony was founded in 1898 as an experimental community, inspired by the anarchist ideas of Tolstoy about freedom, co-operation and self-reliance. In a symbolic act, the ‘deeds were laid on a bonfire and sizzled in the flames’ (Shaw, 1935, p.5). The colony now consists of 68 dwellings and there are still no deeds. This dissertation uses accounts of the children’s lives in the colony in the past to challenge debates in the present about education, It argues that we need to focus less on schools and more on creating communities in which adults and children can learn and flourish along-side each other.