The Forum’s mission is to promote a life-based approach to learning for children aged 5 to 11.
All young children learn and thrive in a society dedicated to ensuring that future generations are armed with life-based knowledge and skills that will benefit themselves, other people and the environment.
The purpose of life-based learning is to better prepare young people for the challenges of tomorrow.
Life-based learning aims to ensure that children:
- are fitter and healthier
- have greater emotional resilience to meet the stresses and strains of modern-day living
- develop enquiring and learning minds
Life-based learning aims to build stronger communities:
- Stronger social relationships (personal, in work and in the community)
- Fewer partnership estrangements
- Secure social environments
- A vibrant and caring society, more accepting of all races and creeds
Life-based learning also aims to ensure that the physical environment is better looked after, improving the long-term prospects for the entire human race.
Life-based learning promotes high-quality learning for all children aged between 5 and 11.
The Forum is putting forward an ambitious new learning framework for development into fully-fledged programmes of learning for the seven years that children are in primary education — from reception year through to year 6 — setting a strong foundation of life knowledge and skills for the next stage in children’s schooling leading into adulthood.
We call this new learning framework the Merged Action Curriculum (MAC) to indicate that no content from the current National Curriculum in England is lost but that it is rearranged and merged into nine life themes — or learning domains.
- Childhood is appreciated as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle
- Learning activity is based on knowledge of how children develop and learn
- The bond between the child and family is appreciated
- Children are recognized as best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society
- The dignity, worth, and uniqueness of each individual (child, family member and colleague) is respected
- Diversity in children, families and colleagues is respected
- Children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust and respect
- Children are provided with unconditional positive regard as unique individuals deserving of dignity, respect, fairness, equality and independence
The life-based approach to learning:
- Maximises the benefits to the individual, to society and to the environment
- Best meets the personal, social and environmental challenges of modern-day living
- Provides a platform for keeping the curriculum relevant and up to date with personal, social and environmental research and development
- Meets the moral imperative to give children the knowledge and skills to best negotiate their way through all aspects of life
- Is delivered in the context of an open and vibrant society where the rights of children are met
- Maximises children’s learning in English and mathematics — the key priorities of subject-based learning
- Meets the basic human rights and freedoms of all individuals as enshrined in the Human Rights Act of 1998 in the context of what the government decides as appropriate education.
Note: ‘[In Britain] the right to education does not give you the right to learn whatever you want, wherever you want. The courts have ruled that the right to education relates to the education system that already exists. It does not require the government to provide or subsidise any specific type of education.’ https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/human-rights-act/article-2-first-protocol-right-education.
That being said, it is extremely difficult to reorganise learning along life-based lines and still meet the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum in England. The National Curriculum itself needs to be changed from a subject-based to a life-based approach.
Individual improvements: Life-based learning tackles, as a priority: obesity; mental ill-health; and learning apathy
Social improvements: Life-based learning tackles, as a priority: restricted ability in children to communicate effectively; relationship breakdowns (personal and workplace); and lack of community cohesion and activity
Environmental improvements: Life-based learning tackles, as a priority: damage to plant life and degradation of plant environments; abuse of animal life and loss of animal habitats; unsustainable use of physical resources and damage to humankind’s ability to survive into the future
Educators have the duty and responsibility to ensure that all children are taught to look after themselves, to interact positively with other people and to live sustainably. It is the duty and responsibility of educators to ensure equal priority is given to the education of children in these three areas of life.
- Every child should be taught to know about and look after themselves physically, emotionally and mentally
- Every child should be taught to be accepted into and to be active participants in their community and wider society through the acquisition of a broad range of communication and relationship skills
- Every child should be taught to care for the physical environment they inhabit by actively living in ways that are sustainable at a local, national and global level
Whatever your location on the planet, your support is vital to the promotion of the life-based approach to learning that arms children with the knowledge and tools to look after themselves; to build social and global trust and cooperation; and to improve global prospects of living sustainably.
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