The Lighthouse is a self-directed / consent-based
learning project for children 7+ based at The Forest Garden in Cardigan.

  • We are part of a growing, evidence-based movement in education that gives young people real choice and empowerment.
  • We opened in October 2018 with parent volunteers and now run with 3 self-employed facilitators.
  • In January 2019 we were awarded a £10,000 grant by The National Lottery Community Fund. This is helping us stay affordable to members
  • In March 2020 we became a Community Interest Company
  • We are fortunate to be generously sponsored 4 days a year of NVC and Sociocracy training and mediation by Sarah Simms Williams @
  • We ask for a commitment of two days a week (Wednesday and Thursday) 10am until 4pm, 37 weeks a year.
  • The sessions run as an activity club. One 2 hour session in the morning and one 2 hour session in the afternoon. We have an hour for lunch. We have a half hour at both ends of the day. In the morning the first half hour is for meeting, sharing and planning. At the end of the day we clear up together.

The Lighthouse is….

…a place where children and adults create agreements and rules together.

We are giving young people the stimulating awareness of their opinion actually mattering in their community.  This is a powerful driver of personal growth and real engagement.

…an educational approach that draws on the work of many influential thinkers.

These include Ken Robinson, Alfie Kohn, John Holt, Peter Grey, Marshall Rosenberg, Dominic Barter, William Stixrud / Ned Johnson and others.

We are inspired by the latest research around brain development, that recognises that learning is far more profound and long lasting when initiated by the learner.

"We all decide things together. There are rules to keep us safe. We all decide the rules together. We understand the rules and we can change things that are not working."
M (age 11)

…a supportive environment which places emotional well being at the heart.

We are creating a forum to articulate our own feelings and needs, and to understand those of others; crucial skills in our communities, locally and globally.

…a nurturing ’garden’ for ideas.

Self-directed learners can explore possibilities, follow passions and see themselves in different lights. Young people can have unlimited time immersed in their interests, pursuing projects and embracing tangents. We want to cultivate a sense of wonder, awe and fun.

…a place where ‘the medium is the message’.

We are creating an environment that encourages connection and cooperation, rather than competition and coercion. Choice is really important to us at Lighthouse. We are creating a culture of consent.

…a place where we can all become comfortable with disagreement and conflict.

We learn skills and tools to navigate conflict as it arises. We model empathy and compassion for others, and ourselves, using NVC and principles of restorative justice. We are all learning how to respect, honor and celebrate our differences.

"At Lighthouse I learn to make decisions, with or without help"
LJ(age 9)
"I like being with everyone"
TJ (age 7)

…a place where kids are trusted.

Trust breeds magic.

…a place where kids can become thoughtful decision-makers.

Kids at The Lighthouse have real responsibility, for their time, and for their community.-

‘I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn’
Albert Einstein


‘Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.’
Isaac Asimov