Common Roots

May 13th, 2015

10.30 to 4.30

[come early, stay late]



Wennington Old Scholars and the Planned Environment Therapy Trust

invite you to bring your inner map of community and connection and share it


The 20th and 21st centuries have been filled with schools, communities, clubs, organisations, institutions, societies and just plain people who belong to a family of other schools, communities, clubs, institutions, societies and just plain people who are familiar when you meet them; who speak the same language when you get past the different accents and dialects; and who can tell you things about your own roots and associations, increasing your own understanding of them and yourself, without you or they ever having known they were there to be known. "Common Roots" is like a family reunion for people, many of whom will think they are strangers, but when they get together discover they have cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents -  people, ideas, perspectives, and ways of going about things - in common.


2014 saw the Wennington Old Scholars' first Common Roots Event, which came in the midst of their annual Archive Week.

22 people took part, from varied backgrounds: free/democratic/progressive schools, children's therapeutic schools and communities, adult therapeutic communities, related organisations - Forest School Camps, Brazier's Park.... There was much meeting and talking and the traditional very nice lunch (with beautiful strawberries at the end).

Before lunch Len Clarke and Will Eiduks of the Early Pestalozzi Children Project presented their project on the home they were given in the long aftermath of the Second World War, between 1959-1965 at Sedlescombe in Surrey (an offer later rescinded, and the experiment itself largely lost except to those who took part in it. Until now, of course). After lunch PhD student Emily Charkin focused on children's participation in building and shaping their environment, using her own experience, and building on a presentation she gave at  the Child Care History Network conference in 2013 which celebrated the centennial of the Little Commonwealth in Dorset.

Comments after the event included:

"a brilliant opportunity", "Good day, interesting discussions and nice lunch", "exciting to experience the generosity of the whole group", and "I feel less tolerant of the status quo than I did a week ago".

Coming a week after the General Election, will similar comments be made in 2015?


It's a fascinating day based around talk and meeting: Some more formal presentations from people sharing their community or organisation; but with plenty of time for following up and discussing. People wanting to stay the night and carry the conversation on almost certainly can, especially if they bring tents; but with enough advance notice the Wenningtonians may have some rooms in the accommodation building available (at PETT's usual b&b cost).

Who is coming? Wenningtonians, of course (see their website, and, at this early stage, people with a range of experience that includes therapeutic communities for children, Forest School Camps, Summerhill and democratic education generally, Henderson Hospital, Pestalozzi Children's Village, and more...members of an interesting diverse family. Get in touch and add to it.



Venue: P.E.T.T., Barns Centre, Church Lane, Toddington, Gloucestershire GL54 5DQ

Cost: Time, and £15.00 to help with cost of prepared lunch and refreshments during the day

RSVP (capacity is limited, unless there is very good weather!)