Summerhill festival of childhood

By Chandni, Lea, Maisie, Mohini and Maya

In TLC the children are part of deciding what they want to learn and how they want to learn. With individualised programmes in a community,
a lot of work goes into finding ways to make it work between all the different individual needs in balance with the needs of everyone together.
To create a healthy community, TLC has weekly community gatherings that are facilitated by the children. Anyone can bring a topic (child or
adult) and it is discussed and decided together. A group of children learn to prepare and facilitate the meetings for a period of time. With
guidance from an adult to reflect on the meeting process, the children have really developed their skills and ability to hold the space over the
years.
We started doing this after two of our facilitators attended the International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC) in Finland in 2016, and
came back full of inspiration and ideas. Since then we have been trying different things to see how to deepen this work and learn how to
include children more and more towards self-directed, self-motivated and self-driven learning, based on the three principles of Integral
Education: i) Nothing can be taught, ii) The mind must be consulted in its own growth, iii) From the near to the far, from that which is to that
which shall be.
In 2018 the IDEC was going to be held in Bangalore, and we had about 10 children who wanted to attend. We booked bus tickets and were
ready to go… A flu was going around, and suddenly all but two of the children were sick and we had to cancel. Two of the main organisers of
IDEC (from democratic schools in New Zealand and Australia) came to Auroville after the event, and we had a long mentoring session in
TLC on how to deepen our work with including children in decisions regarding themselves and the community.
In 2020 the IDEC was held online due to covid, hosted by the Sri Aurobindo School in Nepal. Some TLC children and facilitators participated.
In 2020 we also watched some films with the children. About sociocracy practiced in many schools in the Netherlands, and democratic
meetings at Summerhill school in the UK. The children were very inspired by these films, and started taking charge more and initiating
change.
In 2021 Summerhill school was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and decided to host a Festival of Childhood for a week in August 2022. It
was decided that the IDEC 2022 was to be held within the Summerhill festival in the UK.
When some of the children in TLC heard about this event, they set their minds on going! That’s how this amazing adventure started…

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