We assume that, from birth, every human being possesses the inner motivation to take up challenges and push back frontiers – to develop, that is. Abilities such as rolling over after about four months, sitting up after about seven months, and the first steps after about a year, require considerable perseverance. Children are totally absorbed by their own abilities; they keep exploring and opening up new horizons, constantly learning new things along the way.
We, therefore, fully trust the child’s inner power. We are convinced it is unnecessary to pull or push children, whether in a cognitive sense or otherwise. People learn easier, faster, and with more joy, if they are open to it.
At their own pace and level, they arrive at their inner, natural motivation to develop and treat themselves and their environment respectfully.
In our De Vrije Ruimte school, children are allowed the space they need, so they can choose activities that are most worthwhile to them, including things they are not yet very good at or skills they still have to master.
Discipline and drive are automatically present if motivation comes from within. In freedom, children dare to make mistakes and thus experience the consequences of their actions and of taking responsibility.
The situation at our school has a lot in common with everyday life in society. The group consists of people of different ages with different interests. They move around, meet and talk to each other, play a game together, explain things to one another, etc.
This way of learning and living with each other ensures that the children feel appreciated for who they are and (thus) can learn what is important to them. They also know how to deal with problems; they are powerful, confident, and dare to take the initiative.
Children make choices: Who do I play with right now? What subjects do I want to do? In which activities do I take part? They are directly confronted with the consequences; thus, they learn to deal with these questions consciously. In this way, children feel responsible for their choices and actions, which leads to the realization that everyone can contribute to society's well-being.
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