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Episode 31:
Exploring Education & Unschooling

Guest: Clare Caro


Marina Robb

Hosted by: Marina Robb

Claire Caro

Clare Caro

My guest today is Clare Caro, who lives in Rutland with her family and works as a co-director of the social enterprise Root-and-Branch Out, and with the local home-educating community. 

She has a keen interest in childhood development, progressive education, and behavioral science. While her interest led to creating various projects such as The Pikler Collection and Nature Play, she has lately been working on an education model that promotes the integrated development of personal-literacy, social-literacy and eco-literacy (launch set for September 2024.)

In this episode, We dive into:

  • What is home education and Unschooling (coined by John Holt)?
  • Is it legal to home school, ‘educating otherwise’ in the United Kingdom?
  • Is the ‘school recipe’ synonymous with education?
  • How we adults also need to ‘de-school’ ourselves.
  • What are our values and what about going to university?
  • The use of manipulation techniques like punishment, rewards & growling!
  • The hidden curriculum – how adults treat children.
  • Growing Divergent thinkers & convergent thinkers with useful examples.
  • The impact of language on your survival brain.
  • Our unconscious manipulation and support of ecocide.
  • If we want to teach eco-literacy, we need to stop teaching ecocide e.g extreme use of plastic in schools.
  • An insight into Clare’s outdoors ‘Partnership model’.

Music by Geoff Robb: www.geoffrobb.com 

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(transcribed by AI so there maybe some small errors!)

Marina Robb: Hello, and welcome to the Wild Minds Podcast for people interested in health, nature based therapy and learning. We explore cutting edge approaches that help us improve our relationship with ourselves, others and the natural world. My name is Marina Robb, I'm an author, entrepreneur, Forest School outdoor learning and nature based trainer and consultant, and pioneer in developing green programs for the health service in the UK.

Today, I get to explore if the recipe of school is synonymous with education. We also discuss that it is in fact, legal in the UK to homeschool. And it turns out that there's a huge variety in what is actually happening at home. No two families that ever the same. I question how this could work at a larger scale, and find myself noticing that I'm holding this tension between teachers and parents doing their best to follow rules and standards. Whilst acknowledging we mostly don't question what Claire calls the invisible curriculum of everyday school.

There are moments when I want to defend teachers and feel the agitation of my survival brain. It's hard to consider the possibility that our schooling actually promotes ecocide. I want to acknowledge that different perspectives often meet our resistance. But I want to welcome this because I do believe that the skill of holding conflicting views is extremely healthy, and may in fact, prevent trauma and violence.

Hi, Claire.

Claire Caro: Hi.

Marina Robb: Welcome to the wild minds podcast. I always start with gratitude. And I and I'd like to start with that if that's okay. And I'll share a little bit gratitude. And then I'll ask you to share some gratitude. Is that okay? Absolutely. Fantastic. So, before I came in here to record, I just got that rare moment in England at the moment, where I was able to just to stand in front of the sun, and just feel the sun on my face. And it was absolutely lovely to feel the beginnings of the warmth of spring. And actually, in that moment, a black bird, female black bear just kind of hopped in front of me. So I feel very grateful to that actual sensation. And just to notice the kind of movement in my garden that's occurring at the moment. That's my gratitude. How about you?

Claire Caro: Well, I'll build on onto your experience, because I had a similar experience early this morning, at probably about five o'clock in the morning, and I opened the front door, nobody's around at that time and just sort of stood there because I wanted to feel the cold, the temperature, and watch the change in the sky. And I could hear the morning chorus starting because it's, you know, just getting off the, off the ground at the moment. And there were these couple of birds that were so loud, and they were singing in a way that I could almost not recognize that one was a blackbird. And then there was something that I didn't actually know what it was. And I just love that feeling that doorstep actually at dawn is a place that I quite often go just to take a moment and look over the road at these huge trees and experience. What the town is like When Everyone's Asleep. So yeah, I often have moments of gratitude. Looking out of the front door on the front step. Yeah.

Marina Robb: That's lovely.

Claire Caro: Yeah.

Marina Robb: Thank you so much. So I'm delighted to have you on this podcast. I know that what we're going to talk about today is certainly under let's say a very broad banner of, well Potat, perhaps home education, or homeschooling. And if you don't mind, I'd like to just dive right in. And if you would help us as listeners, just to understand, you know, what is this home education thing? And what is the difference? Because I've been hearing a lot about home schooling as well. And I understand that there is a difference. And it'd be really helpful if you wouldn't mind. Just speaking to that. And then

Claire Caro: yeah, sure, well, I can only really speak from my own experience, that's my own experiences home educating within our family, but also, I coordinate a lot of events and groups in our county. So I meet a lot of home educating families, and whether they've just got you know, somebody who's just school age, and they're not going to do the school thing. Or they've got children who have come out of school, for various different reasons. So there's many, many different reasons why people will choose this path, and some don't choose it, their children might get rolled out of school, and there's actually no other options. So in the UK law, you can, or as parents, you're responsible for your child's education. And that is either sending them to school, whether it's the Free State School, or choosing to pay for a different kind of education, usually a type of school model, though, or where you can educate otherwise, I think that's how it's termed. So there are, you know, that's perfectly within the law to not go to school, which is something that a lot of parents that I meet, say that they wish they had known before sending their children into the school system. The difference between the school model, and what people end up doing at home with the education otherwise, is just fast, because you've taken your child out of the structure. And the structure is, you know, it's like a recipe, the school recipe is pretty well known because it's been taken by colonialists all over the world. And it's been going for, you know, quite a few generations now. So, it's actually become pretty synonymous with education. People think that school is education, and education and school, but HDX is much more to education small is just one model.

Marina Robb: Before we go into that, just and I think I probably said it wrong, actually, is the unschooling what's the difference between me that's super interesting to understand that there is a legal, you know, we have a right to choose where our children get educated, I get what you're saying, Yeah, we have a REIT, which I know through, you know, groups that I'm involved with, but I didn't really know that, you know, I didn't really know that I actually can do that. But maybe we'll get there a little bit further in the conversation. But what's then the difference between educating at home or home educating and this word I'm hearing is unschooling. Could you just speak to that before we dive into this recipe of school?

Claire Caro: Well, yeah, well, because unschooling is a term that was coined by John Holt, who was a teacher back in the 60s and 70s, and wrote many very helpful books on how children learn. I think having read some of his books, he is talking about how children learn without, with not being in the school model. Having seen how people are using the term, I think it's slightly changed in its meaning for a lot of families and it's often referred to as a lifestyle. And it is because if you think about it, before the school model came into existence, and really started spreading like wildfire, children were educated within the family through daily life. You did things alongside your parents or your grandparents, you learnt in a completely different way. And then all of a sudden, you know, people were put into classrooms sat at a desk, given subjects told what to do, you know, that and tested so that it was a huge leap. So unschooling is almost going back to before the school model took a grip on society, right?

Marina Robb: So are they the same thing when people say unschooling and home education are they talking about the same thing? Or is it literally, depending on who you are,

Claire Caro: I think it's depending on who you are.

Marina Robb: Okay?

Claire Caro: And when you are home educating, you have so many options, you can I see, although a curriculum, that's you can even follow the national curriculum, and then you'd be kind of termed as a home schooler, because you're kind of bringing the school model back into the home, I see. And so you would be having tutors and doing your children would be doing exams, so quite close to school, or just completely going off track and following the child's interests. Living life and bringing education and learning into those years and a different, completely different way. So and you could mix and match as well, like it's theirs. Because you're basically writing the curriculum, when you're home educating you have that freedom. You can do whatever you like, which means that no, two families ever looked the same. Whereas at school, that that's those 30 children in that class are expected to and marked to do the same.

Marina Robb: Yeah, I do think there are many issues with the mainstream school system that we have. And I guess one of the questions I have is an understanding that, how can we, as a society, knowing that we've got 1000s and 1000s of children that are in a kind of mainstream system? How does that work? To imagine that many of those children could also be home educated? Like, I guess I'm starting from the places? How could more children do this? You know, and if you know, in a positive way, and I do also want to acknowledge that I, that we've kind of got, we're in a transition, perhaps as a society and understanding that there are different models out there, as well. But would you speak to that? Because it because I guess I'm sitting here thinking, How could most of these parents do that at home? What could that look like? What kind of sacrifices may need to be made? Or instead of sacrifices values? You know, would you speak to a little bit about that?

Claire Caro: It's difficult, isn't it? Because society has really, especially since the industrial period, taken a path towards consumerism and work days and hours, you know, it's no kind of fluke that they match the school days and slightly hours. But and yeah, I don't, I'm not sure that it will work on a mass scale, due to the fact that our culture has gone so far in one direction. I think even in COVID, when families had to have their children at home, and they say, had to, because it'd be, became quite a chore and very difficult and quite a big wake up call for many parents spending so much time with their own children and being responsible for that learning relationship. There was a bit frightening for many. So maybe that's not how it will play out, maybe having home education on a mass scale wouldn't work in our current society. Yeah, I think also, you're right on there with the values, the values and our culture around education, on getting exam results, getting into university. As a home educator, we get that question a lot. But what about GCSEs? And what about going to university? There's a real sway in the school system here and probably in many other countries, but I'm just talking from experience day to day and, and academia. And that's really interesting, because there's no value in trade, skills, arts, etc. But that's a real cultural thing, isn't it? I mean, we have to do is look at the school uniforms around you. You know, they're all sort of grooming for the office, aren't they? You don't see them walking around and boiler suits, grooming them for the tradies.

Marina Robb: Right. I see what you mean when you meant exchange of trades. I understand what you meant. Right? Okay. You mean using your hands using your

Claire Caro: Yeah, having an apprenticeship rather than going to university? Yes. Which means that you weren't here. have a lifetime of being in debt to a student loan either, you know, like, it's a real, it's still back on the money making consumerism theme that our culture is quite caught up in, I think,

Marina Robb: Well you said that word fear. And I wondered about that. Because, you know, there's, we are frightened that we're not going to have what we need in life. And so I think a lot of young people and parents are assuming, and there is truth to this in to some degree that if they do well inverted commas, and they get their GCSEs, and then they get their A levels or whatever, that they're more likely to have enough, which would apparently make them less anxious and more happy. Yeah, that you would get a good job. Exactly a good job. And I can see why, you know, that's something that our society is built on, and also creates a certain amount of stability. If I now didn't have a job, I will no doubt be experiencing a lot more stress than I am. So, you know, I can understand that. But I guess, in terms of the option of homeschooling, what would somebody who's really thinking about this? Need to know, is there any sort of advice or things that you would give them around that to see it as an option? Because like you said, it could be a choice from when they're five, you know, or it could be quite differently a choice, not a choice of a teenager being told they're upset home? Example? So they're quite different scenarios. But is there anything, you've had a lot of experience, I understood that you yourself? Were well schooled? Well, it's good. So it'd be great for people to hear what has worked for you. And also given it because maybe some images of why it's so valuable, you know, what these young people who are having these experiencing, experiences are getting, you know, that'd be really lovely to hear some stories,

Claire Caro: I think that you know, that there's a big difference in starting from the beginning, where the child isn't going into the classroom, and having the secure attachment with a parent separate, although, in our current sort of cultural trend, children are being sent off to nursery, whether the parent is working or not, actually, so there is a parents are being sold. The idea that children need to go to nursery to start socializing, that's a nice little keywords there. And getting used to, or having fun, and it's good for their development, when actually all of the kind of child development, research might point towards the effect that having a secure attachment with a nurturing, safe, secure and stable relationship. And keeping that intact, might have optimum benefits for long life. So yeah, again, you know, it does come down to trend for economy and getting parents back to work, that's actually a real thing, if you follow the news and government decisions, etc. So, without stepping into the whole system, then the child has more time to develop at the pace that's right for them, as well as to be their authentic self. And, in there's a difference between the child that's, that then has come out of school, because a lot of children have to go into like a recovery almost, there's a big fear of being wrong, fear of trying something new, checking to see if it's okay, confidence in mental health issues. And kind of the later that children are coming out, the bigger those issues can be. So it takes a long time. But one of the sort of the most common comments that I hear parents saying that parents that I speak to is that they've got their child back after a while. And that the child that you know, is happy and makes jokes, and that's the cook and instead of being angry and argument to then depressed, and, you know, all of those sort of stress behaviors.

Marina Robb: So, if, again, I've been a bit unfair to you to get very two different extremes, but as of course, if someone's been in the system and has really struggled in the system, then they are, if they leave that system, they're leaving with a whole bunch of years of probably, as you said, been very stressed in some way or another, so to recover is a huge journey in itself. However, you're also describing a person that may have started in this without going into the school system. And would you speak to some of those kind of not just values, but some of the kinds of ideas around that, for example, I mean, I know that, you know, that I'm involved in for a school and outdoor learning and stuff and how we follow have a very kind of child centered interest, following their interests. Is that also how you would see these spaces working with the children that are either at home or so on? Did they follow their interests?

Claire Caro: Well, it's going to depend on the parents and the parents values and ideas and beliefs. And speaking of unschooling, a lot of parents who do take this path, end up having to sort of D schools themselves, because when you, when that's the only model you've ever experienced, you're kind of more likely to try and replicate that at home, because that's what you think education is, that was your only experience. So already, we're, we can look at learning in a different way. Because there's total immersion and model led learning, that's all you're drawing on what you've experienced. So you a lot of people will, D school or unschool themselves first, to been able to give the freedom to follow interests, to look at learning differently, that it doesn't have to come out of a book or a webinar, you don't have to write everything down, don't have to report it, that it's not product based, you're not coming up with something that has to be marked, it can actually be a process can actually be found in conversations and behavior and how well that person can regulate or talk to people. Yeah. 

Marina Robb: So that's also very interesting, because, in a way, in order to even provide something that could reflect this way of offering this relationship, this learning relationship, you have to think about the schooling. And in a way, you mentioned this word right at the beginning of decolonizing. In a way, our way of thinking, so how did how do people do that? I mean, that's a huge question. But how to adults move towards that? Do you think, you know, if you were thinking about doing it? Is it what would be some of the ways that they might begin to think like that? These are big questions.

Claire Caro: Yeah, that is a big question. Because, you know, I think it comes down to personal development. And, you know, some people need science to slap them in the face before they take notice. And other people are more change, and everyone has their own different paths. Yeah, and it's how receptive one is to learning and changing and being flexible and letting go of strong beliefs, and, you know, things like that. So and it can be the people around them. A lot of families have people around them that are very supportive, and others have, you know, grandparents that are saying you're making a big mistake. So, you know, it's there's just so many different situations, but it can be, I mean, I've heard of a lot of, sort of first steps that are very similar. And remember that once somebody said to me, so how do you make them learn, you know, like, how do you, like sit around the kitchen table? How do you do it? Because in COVID, I just couldn't, I found that really difficult. So Well, the thing is that outside of a classroom situation, where there's one teacher and 30 children, and you're using all sorts of manipulation techniques, you know, like rewards and punishments to motivate them, you can't really do that with your child at the kitchen table, because all of a sudden, they've got their rights. Whereas in a classroom, no child has their rights. They can't stand up and walk out and make a decision for themselves. They'll get punished at home, they can or they should be able to and if you start doing that, or authoritarian role, we with your child at the kitchen table at home for, you know section of time, you're going to completely mess up your relationship.

Marina Robb: Wow. I mean, this is quite juicy, isn't? well, this is quite juicy because I can now we're going into you know, their big words manipulation techniques, big words in the sense they're loaded words because again, from a perspective of some like it's they call it you know unconscious competence or unconscious you know a lot of us are unconscious. And in a way you're doing a bit a little bit of a slap in the face getting a hang on a second, you what you might be doing is absolutely manipulative, but you might not have realized it. So there's, I'm wanting to hold this kind of compassionate side, but also looking at, let's look at it directly as well. Right. So what I'm hearing is that, you know, we are in culture related in culturally, I don't even think I realized it collateralized banks, because we've, let's say, been through the system, and it's all around us anyway, it's not just in an education system. And then we go home, and we use the same, you know, as parents were not educated either to be parents. So like you said, we're just modeling on what we've learned and what how our parents behave to us. And, you know, we internalize that, don't we, and then, when we're at home, we're whereas likely to punish and threaten and, you know, send them to their room and say, they can't go out or no, if they have to eat all those vegetables unless they leave the table, which, you know, I've done to dig in degrees. And I've learned from that, and I've obviously have got a bit, I've had the fortune to have a lot more training in this. But when people don't have that, it does feel like the go to thing. It really it really does. Because we because this behaviorist approach, which kind of comes from Skinner ism, as we know, and Whoa, that's a whole nother subject. But you know, it does get, it does feel like it gets these short term results. Yeah, but it is short term, isn't it? This is the point. What's the cost of it? Yes, speak about that?

Claire Caro: Well, I think the other thing to sort of pop in here is that we're only drawing when we're parenting like that, we're only drawing on the example of the adults that we had with in childhood, especially in the zero to seven stage, because that's when the subconscious is laid down. And so we'll be drawing on everything around us to see how to fit in and how people behave. So the adults that we see telling everyone what to do, and punishing and rewarding and growling, that goes into our subconscious, and we will be able to draw on it as adults, and do that to our children, because that's what the adults did to us when we were children. So if you're putting children into a school situation, where they have no attachment figure, who's emotionally available, physically available, just available, and they're there by themselves, and what's pretty much going to be quite traumatic in terms of attachment theory situation. And that's their only model, then it's a pretty frightening thing. So if you get frightened when you're an adult, because the child isn't doing what you say, so you're only going to draw on the example that you learned when you were little. So that's called the hidden curriculum, and school. So yes, there's the curriculum of maths and English and PE, and art and social studies, but you're also learning the hidden stuff of how adults treat children, the power imbalance, how to survive in the submissive, passive role, and what it looks like when adults in the overpowering or authoritarian role. And we don't see a lot of anything else in our culture. It's kind of written into stories. We see it in schools, we see it in parenting. And so there's like huge movements to bring in a different model of empowerment and healthy relationships. Where that isn't, you know, the overpower and under power, or a powerless model isn't in play, but it's definitely one of the things that school teachers Yeah.

Marina Robb: And I'd like to talk about that as well. So I read in some of the things that you shared with me this idea of growing divergent thinkers, rather than the current scenario of convergent thinkers. And again, those words, I'd like to translate because they're big words, and they don't necessarily know what they mean. But, but I'd love you to do that in a minute. But I'd also would like to think about the difference in the way that we might speak, if we weren't speaking in a dominant, overpowering way. And perhaps, if we can remember all of this as, um, don't know if you're menopausal. But you know, if you can, if we can remember all of this, you know, perhaps then, like, well, what's the impact the positive or not impact of those different ways? So let's start with what does would you say that the mainstream is more into convergent thinking? Is that correct?

Claire Caro: I would say that,

Marina Robb: could you describe what that means?

Claire Caro: Yeah, I'll definitely I couldn't give you my interpretation. Because I had this on a on a post a social media post, and someone said, You're wrong. And I thought, oh, that's hilarious, because that's convergent biggie. But then I had to explain myself, and they went, Okay, I see what you mean. So convergent thinking is kind of like a two sided coin. So you've got one idea. That's right. But that also leaves room for one idea. That's wrong. So you've got good bed success, failure. And at the top of the class, the bottom of the class, good and naughty. And school is very, very much and you can hear it in the language thick with convergent thinking. And, and it's in the whole structure, really.

Marina Robb: But it said everywhere I know it in my own brain.

Claire Caro: And divergent thinking is the possibility that there's more than one option. And so it's kind of you can link divergent thinking to executive function. So you'd have empathy and compassion means that you might hold an opinion, but there are three other opinions that are different than yours, and you're able to make space for them. And you don't have to be right. Whereas the I'm right, and you're wrong, the two sided coin is very much a survival brain thing.

Marina Robb: Right? what's I mean, I'm asking this question, not because I don't know them. But I think it's useful executive function. What did you mean by that? Because there will be listeners that don't aren't familiar with these words,

Claire Caro: okay, so that the human brain has kind of different parts to it, and some of very old parts, like the brainstem, as well as the oldest parts, and then the survival, the limbic system, on top of that is very much to do. So those two parts about automatic function and, and will create behavior that is based on our survival, that means that we can survive. So that's where those snap decisions to run to fight flight or freeze happen to attack or to fit defend. But it's also sorting out, is that safe, is or is that a threat? So the safe thing, the good thing, the thing that enables my survival is success. It's good. It's all of that kind of stuff, whereas the threats are the bad, the naughty, the things, those sorts of things. So that, again, links in

Marina Robb: how does that link to executive function?

Claire Caro: Well, the executive function is where we have empathy. And so the thing is that to get through to the top, the higher brain, the higher parts of the brain, and the most newest parts of the brain, where compassion and empathy, ah, you have to kind of get past a functioning survival brain. So if development gets stuck at the survival brain, then for the rest of your life, as an adult, you're going to be stuck in attack and defend. And if you get past that, and then you're able to have access, so all adults because the brain grows in size and wires up in childhood, by the time we reach adulthood, we should have the full availability to all of that function, where we are most active in our brain is usually a signifier of what's happened in our childhood. So some adults are very stuck in their survival brain and don't access their executive function. Whereas some adults, their survival brain is a lot more sort of integrated. And they're able to operate out of their executive function. So when something happens in a big event, they don't all of a sudden get angry at somebody or start blaming, attacking or defending themselves, whether it's physically or verbally, or even, you know, emotionally creating assault core, not talking to somebody for 15 years, that kind of thing. They're able to still function and understand that other person's point of view, or not feel defensive of their own beliefs, so much, and make room for other people. So that kind of you can tell that it really is a collaborative and community benefit for having people that can access their executive function.

Marina Robb: That's really helpful. And I mean, of course, I recognize myself as in different moments, dealing with particularly when I'm stressed that I will, that part of me will come out much more obviously, the blaming the defensive, and I have to work with that. I have to work with that myself. So what is some of the languaging? And I mean, I could talk to you for hours around all of this, but what are some of the languaging that we could use around that kitchen table or in a classroom that kind of give me an example of this divergent and convergent if that's okay.

Claire Caro: Right? Well, let's just start with gratitude. This is a little exercise that I do with I've been doing with my children for years now. Actually, at the end of the day, we do favorite parts of the day. So what are your favorite parts of the day, and then we can list them. And we feel gratitude like that it's actually an emotion. And it's a lovely emotion, to relax, and to just be grateful before we go off to sleep. And process everything and our brain wake up refreshed for it ready for the next day? We could listen, we could reword that, and in a different way to what was your best part of the day. So what was your best part of the day is only asking for one side of the coin, right? And you might end up getting the West Side west part of the day as well with that, with a divergent one, which is like a faceted, multi faceted cut diamond. There's many different sides. So you've got to word it so that what are your favorite parts of the day? So you're not comparing? You're just adding? Yeah. So that's, that's those are. That's just sort of an example of those two different languages.

Marina Robb: And just let's just to close that little bit, because I do want to talk to you about ecocide. That's a big jump. But for Matt, just to close that. Could you just let the listener just hear like, so? What's the impact of those different inquiries? Do you think?

Claire Caro: Okay, so there's a couple of ways to look at this. One is that the language that we hear whether it's the language that I'm speaking English with a slight New Zealand accent, will be what my children pick up. And the children that I work with, will be the language that they hear and pick up. Nobody's teaching it, they learn it. Okay, and it will also in that, if they've heard it enough, in the first seven years, it will be the soundtrack, the voice of their inner voice for the rest of their life, and they go about changing it. So that's one thing to remember. Another thing to remember is that by choosing which language, what's the best part of your day? And what are your favorite parts of the day? I'm also offering you which part of your brain will be active. Are you going to activate the best parts of the day, the survival brain the best part of the day, sorry, the survival brain or where you're sorting for best and worst? Or are you going to activate the executive function? Where what are your favorite parts, and you're asking for money, and you're just adding to this big, beautiful basket of gratitude, and you're not comparing, and you're not sorting, you're just holding all of these different gratitude moments.

Marina Robb: Thank you so much I be I have a very strong sense of the impact of how of that both for how you would view yourself and others the tolerance, you would have the willingness to listen and learn, you know, the huge Yeah, even in those, it seems simple, and it will be incredibly skillful, no doubt, but just when we say those things to remind us, is there another way I could just say, I could say that and we're gonna get it wrong, aren't we, you know, wrong. Your stakes. Yeah, there are mistakes. And there's a there's a tolerance and resilience in that, too, isn't there. But I, that's super helpful. So I want to do two things before we end at least, which is to kind of talk a little bit about this partnership model. And I know that you're very involved in working in this area, and creating resources and opportunities, which I will absolutely show on the show notes anyway, I want to just talk about that. But I also because this is the wild minds podcast and we are wild, we are nature, we are human, a part of nature, in the same way that we are, we can unconsciously do some things, I think, you know, like manipulation techniques. I would love you know, I would like would you speak a little bit to that, because I know this is a topic that well, both I'll be looking at more in the podcast that come over the next year as well. But I'd love to just get a flavor of this. And if people want to learn more, they can obviously go to the show notes and get in touch.

Claire Caro: Yes. And okay. absolutely. Because that's a huge statement that could really trigger some attack or defeat.

Marina Robb: Absolutely. I'm on the edge. Yeah, yeah,

Claire Caro: it's good school teachers ecocide. Okay, so what happened was, I started to work out how we're going to teach eco literacy, being a home educating parent. And being responsible for my children's education, there's a few things that I think are really important that I want them to be educated, their self development, their social development, and their environmental development. And, and I've been doing this for a long time, actually, since they were little when I started nature play, taking children out into the woods without any toys or activities, to bond directly with nature. But then I started thinking afterwards, how do we keep that going, you know, you've laid your foundations, what's the next step? And I wasn't really getting anywhere. So I was like, Okay, so the Eco Seidel kind of pattern that's happened in our society and in our world, is really just wrapped up in the last 100 or so years. So what's changed? How, why. And I started to think about how we've taken children out of the environment and put them into buildings for 12 years. So their entire childhood has no connection with nature, we're filling up their time, with even when it is time to go home and be outside this homework. Now, there's screens, but also, there's a few other sort of things that are contributing the fact that nobody sees plastic, and we're not able to think in a circular economy way thinking is so compartmentalized, so how might that be coming across in the hidden curriculum of school? So I kind of just unpacked a whole lot of things and worked out that if we want to be teaching, eco literacy, we've got to stop teaching in the ways that I sort of was able to identify, so I put that into an article which is on the authentic learning environment website.

Marina Robb: Link to Yeah, I will link to that. Yeah. And can is there an example of that within the system, you mentioned plastic, just an example that for those of us that are in schools, you know, is there some example of an I don't know how that would be, whether that would be, you know, senior level or from a teacher stuff directly of what they could offer? I know this isn't a one drip thing, but sometimes we do need to have an idea.

Claire Caro: Yeah, I think the most the most I've seen with the whole plastic and the materials that aren't good for the earth is usually in the earlier years, and it's the toys, the materials like having plastic rip flickers of frogs in different cycles or, you know, even the kind of thick lemon. Yes, the cups and the plates that children have, but, and it goes further back into the early childhood as well just walk into the toy shop and have a look at how much you know, primary colored plastic there is. And the more that we buy that for children, they will form their close relationships with the materials that we buy them so there'll become almost invisible. And then what happens is, as adults, we go along, and we buy things from the supermarket. And we don't realize that when we're buying tomato ketchup, we're also buying a plastic bottle. When we are getting our lunch and we're buying a drink of water or, you know, a rye bean or in a bottle. We're also buying the bottle. Yeah, yeah, it becomes invisible.

Marina Robb: It does. And again, it becomes part of this. Well, I think we're we talked about D schooling ourselves. And I think, you know, this is d something ourselves, isn't it? All of this is a D, I'm sure you've got a word for it. But it's an a and I feel, again, I feel like as a somebody involved in this whole area as well, that you know, I wish I could just change it. You know, I think I have some ideas to help that. But yeah, but I also feel if we were to kind of admonished ourselves in the same way that we describe this punishing system continually admonish ourselves, yeah, we get into survival, and we get into freezing and not doing anything. So there's something there's this delicate eye trust, balance where we can become more conscious, as you've talked about, and, and seek out other ways. And I'm, and I think, you know, talking to people like you offer other ways. And so with that, you've talked about your partnership model, and I wonder whether you would just bring us bring us a give us a little insight into that model that you're developing. And again, we'll put things on the show notes. But perhaps speaking to why that feels so important at this point. And, yeah, what you're offering,

Claire Caro: I guess, yeah, the thing is that as much as school has its flaws in the model, it also is very valuable and beneficial. For some people, it does work for some people, whether you're a child whose home life isn't safe, and school is your safe place, exactly. Whether you're very good at Academia, and you relish all of the external praise and rewards and awards, you know, and that feels amazing. It can be an amazing thing. And there are many different kinds of variants within schools as well, you might have an amazing teacher and your whole 12 years, you know, and you might have some that weren't so amazing for you, and you build skills to survive. And you know, there are loads of benefits, friendship groups, for life, those sorts of things. So, don't really want to go off on saying that school is bad. It's one side of the coin. However, I think it could, there could be a different way to make a model of education for a group of children that doesn't involve having these subjects and uniforms and everyone during the same thing. So I had been sort of looking at how to have a group of children that are outdoors, for self directed learning and using some skills from democratic model scoring model and being very aware of what materials were using and bringing into the learning environment and making that awareness not hidden, but something that we do Talk about men also bringing in language of divergent thinking and growth mindset. And so it's just, you know, what would you really want what could be another option, but it the one of the things that I've kind of looked deeply into is the fact that it just can't work as a factory for many children, because that is part of the issue. Yeah, you take the relationship out, as soon as you've got more than, you know, one adult and five children. You you've got a litter rather than a family. Yeah. So that's not the way that our human species is really designed, because I'd have closer relationships with adult nurtures.

Marina Robb: Yeah, Oh. Thank you so much. I really look forward to reading more about what you're up to. And, you know, I hope we get a chance to work together. Who knows? Yeah, let's see. Yeah, thank you so much. And again, I'm gonna put you've got websites and articles and some really good stuff. So I will be sending people there. Thank you so much, Claire. See you soon.

Claire Caro: Yeah, see you soon. Thank you.

Marina Robb: Thank you so much for speaking to me, Claire. It was very insightful and thought provoking. So join me next week for the final episode in Season Four, Episode 32, where I'll be pulling together a range of ideas and themes from the last eight episodes.

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Wild Minds Podcast. If you enjoyed it and want to help support this podcast, please subscribe, share and leave a rating and review wherever you get your podcasts. Your review will help others find the show. To stay updated with the wild mines podcast and get all the behind the scenes content. You can visit theoutdoorteacher.com or follow me on Facebook at the outdoor teacher UK and LinkedIn. Marina Robb,

The music was written and performed by Geoff Robb.

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