Places Where We Learn
Small Acres follows a place-based curriculum. This means the children learn within and from their environment. This daily interaction with nature and the opportunity to be out of doors throughout the day makes Small Acres special.
Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place. This includes: the students’ own “place” or immediate surroundings, neighbourhood, community or city. Place-based education allows for students to be grounded in the nature, history, culture and ecology of their own environment before moving on to broader subjects.
Small Acres is currently based in the adventure playground at Peckham Rye Park. This amazing playground is a large, grassy outdoor area that is open to the public outside of school hours. Within the playground you will find a ball court, areas for bikes and scooters, a small woodland, large grassy areas, plenty of climbing structures, a zip wire, ropes and swings and a garden full of vegetables and fruit bushes in the spring and summer. The building situated to one side offers a covered terrace, toilet facilities, a place to put up tables for work and art, room to create, practice yoga, dance and move, space for our meeting, corners for quiet reading and it also offers the warmth of a heated floor in winter, while a shady place in summer.
Beyond the fence is Peckham Rye Park, which Small Acres uses as an extended 'classroom'. There are wooded areas, meadows, a restored Victorian garden, ornamental gardens, flowing streams, ponds with ducks, fish and turtles, play structures, a café, playing fields and much more. We often visit the various places within the park to measure trees, draw, observe nature, study the habits of the local wildlife, observe the bees and learn about the seasonal changes that are so rich and evident here. We also have the wonderful Peckham Library within walking distance.
As the year goes on we venture further afield to sample the great art and culture that makes London such a wonderful place to be. Eventually, we will use Fridays to make use of public transport to visit museums, galleries, the river, historic sites and other places that spark the imaginations and interests of the children. We take trips to answer questions, improve our knowledge and expand our horizons.* The group and school must grow before Friday school is an option.
The Forest School currently takes place in an ancient woodland on the edge of Kent. This is a very special woodland surrounded by fields, 25 minutes by train from Victoria. We are fortunate to access this lovely place full of great old trees for climbing, loads of spaces for building dens, materials for crafts and in the spring it is full of bluebells.
*Currently, Small Acres is open Monday through Thursday in the adventure playground. Our Friday program will resume in the future.