Here, a parent shares her perspective on the Sideways School experience:
Just posting in support of Serena and Sideways School! Sideways School is truly great. I cannot say enough good things about my daughter's participation. She gets unstructured, spontaneous, child-led time in nature, which as a city kid, and especially now that she is spending so many hours in school, she needs sooooo much. The play is so imaginative!
And even more importantly, she also gets the opportunity to explore all aspects of relationships and social interactions with support. What happens when the kids have different ideas of what area of the park to go to, or what game to play? Instead of an adult deciding or directing them how to play, Serena supports them to figure out what they want to do, and where to go, how to play the game and in the process they learn how to listen to each other, share ideas, compromise, deal with disappointment, respond with empathy or excitement, regulate and express their emotions and resolve conflicts. It is such crucial learning!! Serena treats the kids as capable, and as such they respond capably.
My daughter has blossomed and matured in Serena’s care. She throws less tantrums, offers more ideas for solutions to problems at home, and she makes transitions to new or less familiar caregivers much easier. She is more confident in herself and it shows. And she bosses her friends around less, which is a huge change ;)
Serena also shares photos and insights from each week, moments where the kids struggle and how they cope, moments where they are kind to each other, moments of delight in nature. It is a really special experience.
I have no affiliation with Serena except from appreciating this important space she provides for kids.
—Amy (Mum to S, 5.5, and I, almost 2 and still too young for Sideways School).