Progressive Education Provider Voices

Click on the links below to read some of our interviews with progressive education providers (i.e. schools and learning communities) to find out why progressive education is important to them and how education could be reimagined for the 21st century.

1. Dr Ian Cunningham – Founder and Chair of Governors, Self-Managed Learning College

“Students can literally learn anything that they want. We encourage students to be challenging and creative in what they want to do with their lives.”

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2. Aaron Eden – SDE Advocate and Executive Director at US Brightworks

“In a safe, rich environment, healthy, vibrant community, with minimal adult intervention – but strong modelling – children become educated through instinct.”

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3. Sarah Cummins – Founder and Head Teacher, Garden City Montessori

“Montessori states that “the education of even a small child does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life,” and this should be how it is.”

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4. Kezia Cantwell-Wright – Founder of East Kent Sudbury School

“It is only when you put the child’s needs as the starting point for determining their education that you really equip them to flourish, and that is what I believe the purpose of education should be.”

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5. Je’anna Clements – Founder of a Self-Directed Education Community

“SDE is a civil rights issue for me, rather than a lifestyle choice or education option. I believe that deep consent in education is a non-negotiable from a human rights perspective.” 

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6. Peter Berg – Organiser at the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO)

“When we partner with learners, they can follow their interests and be empowered to know themselves well and be who they are. It’s the natural way we learn. With this type of approach there is synergy and flow rather than angst.”  

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7. Caroline Gladkow – Founder of Nurture in Nature Forest School

“Children learn best when they follow their own interests, are enthused and engaged, they learn by doing and exploring; in situations when they don’t even realise they are learning. In order to do this we need to step away from the traditional hierarchical/authoritarian approach to education.” 

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8. Kirstin Coughtrie – Founder of Online School, Gaia Learning

Gaia Learning is all about finding the balance and harmony between learners, parents, educators and technology to make education flexible, fun and relevant in the 21st century. We believe in supporting the whole learner, encouraging self-directed study and making the best use of edtech to allow us to escape the confines of the classroom.”

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9. Leonor Stjepic – CEO of the Montessori Group

“The Montessori approach is a global philosophy for life. At its core, it is a child-centred approach to learning that’s backed by scientific evidence showing children develop best through active learning, within an enabling environment…”

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10. Julia Black – Founder of an Online Creative Learning Space

“Contrary to the narrative out there about the education system being broken, my view is that the way we are using it is broken. When families create a culture of learning within their homes, their children can access learning in a whole new way. So I propose a much more collaborative approach between parents and educators and a more empowered narrative if we want to create real change.” 

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11. Alexander Khost – Founder of Flying Squads

“Sometimes we learn how to negotiate, how to speak up for ourselves, how to admit our fears to our trusting group. We learn, but we learn when we’re not noticing that we’re learning.”

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Voices from the Sector

Read more personal stories here.