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free range learning adventures

Nature is our best teacher. Have you ever watched animals at play? We are all animals, a large, beautiful Animalian family evolved into many different shapes and sizes. Nature reminds us: Playing is learning. Cooperating. Collaborating. Nature play stimulates creativity and problem solving skills that are part of our executive function development. Playing and spending time in nature increases concentration and cognitive skills. Labels such as ADHD/ADD etc. also become irrelevant in the natural way of learning. Playing in the mud, connecting barefeet with the earth, also has huge benefits to our health and happiness. Moreover, when learning is fun, our attitudes are positive and open to learning new things. With more skills learned, we have even more fun! The result? Happy healthy human beings.

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Distance learning

Online Learning is a fun, modern way of engaging learners in digitial learning adventures. Whether you’re on an island, on a boat, on a farm or in a castle surrounded by a moat – or simply prefer your own bubble somewhere in you private space – anyone anywhere can sign up for our unique free range learning adventures. It is like a buffet menu: Learners can select from a wide range of creative, left- and right brained interactive learning experiences that mirror Animalia Learning Center’s inspiring free range approuch. This may or may not include an accredited academic curriculum that is relevant to their interests, entrepreneurial passions and life paths – up to them. Thus individual life purposes are encouraged and nurtured, is self directed and real. In so doing, the learning process follows the natural route of self-motiovated and self-paced life long knowledge acquisition that evolves into wisdom with applied experience .

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Facilitated learning adventures

Our range of offerings vary according to the learners’ varied interests. This is ever changing and evolving as we grow and experience life’s expanding flow. Our focus is on nature based skills and collaborative, non-competitive games and sports-like activities. This ranges from Ultimate Frisbee and gorilla soccer, table tennis, pool, abacus maths and brain gym plus yoga-light warm ups to guided nature hikes and free range animal husbandry, sustainable food sourcing and cultivation, junk and upcycling wood work, metal work, building skills and bush engineering projects. All goes hand in hand with sustainability, creativity and entrepreneurship. Our relationships with each other and our environment, our physical bodies and our mental and spiritual development love the challenges, mysteries, interaction and break throughs of a good game!

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Animalia pamphlet for printing
matthew water play
Animalia Learning Center for Home Schoolers logo and details for website
about us for webssite
ALC Distance Learning Programme advert
Natural Classroom Build Free Volunteers Fridays Advert
game on action
building veg garden
raft on dam kids
oscar and kids
swing two
play outside learning

Our dates for this year and beginning of next year:
School ends Thursday 9 December 2021
School starts Monday 17 January 2022
May this year’s pleasure and insights, blessings and beauty totally outshine any of the shadowy sides of 2020. May common sense, self governance, sovereignty, freedom and love guide our choices going forward. Nature Is Our Teacher.

fun learn play create 


Life is our classroom

                  Living is our curriculum


Loving is our teacher

The world is our classroom and the things we do teach us what, where and why we need to know as we grow.


Our main tenets are for children and human beings to be free, to love life, to know themselves and their worth as unique and different individuals who can self govern and make independent decisions plus take responsibility for those decisions. And to follow their dreams and hearts. This may or may not include an academic syllabus.

     Animalia Learning Center is not a homeschool replica of a conventional, mainstream schooling system. Our main focus is not the academic curriculum, but the whole child.
     Nature is our teacher, which means that our true nature – why we are here, this precious earth that we are so intimately connected to, our own creative participation in life and creating the lives that we want to see (without doing what others want or force us to do or turn us into compliant machines in some big system) – is what we focus on.
     Having said that, we can guide you when it comes to academic or related life choices that your child is passionate about and want to pursue and learn from. You may come visit us anytime for a chat to see what we offer way beyond the mainstream academic content. We outsource various service providers for such – see further down for details.
     For daily updates of our activities and weekly programme, see our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as our YouTube channel – LIKE, FOLLOW and SUBSCRIBE 😉


We have a mix of learners between ages 4 – 19 sharing an intimate space for maximum 30 full-time and part-time kids, averaging 8 kids per facilitator. We learn from and about life in a non-adversarial environment, encouraging cooperation rather than competition, and embrace free choice with responsibility.

Our Learning Center is an alternative school offering a unique and loving space for homeschooling and unschooling / Self-directed Education (SDE) children to interact and socialize in, and with, an environment that allows for freedom and independence, promotes self-discipline in a casually implicit way, and is surrounded by nature and peace.


Our acitivities are inclusive of modern day technology and hands-on creativity. We are not anti-devices, we embrace modern means of communication as part of evolution, and encourage balance.

Acitivies include – but are not limited to – photography; music; online desktop music programming; spoken word poetry and hiphop visual and performance art; creative writing; woodwork such as tree-house building; sculpture; ceramics/clay work/pottery; painting; drawing, baking; sewing and reading. We do online learning; gaming and programming; social networking; Parkour; physical games and sports; horse riding lessons and all things equestrian; environmental activities focused on eco-agriculture, conservation and sustainability through our servant leadership memberships of Assagay Conservancy and Madwala Nature Reserve, Water Explorers club and our Free Fridays Volunteers for Sustainability programme.

Individual and group councelling are formally and informally addressed through play and individual sessions where needed.

We focus on social outreach and service to our community, reaching out to all animals including two legged humans as well as four- and no-legged critters. We are in partnership with the Animal Farmyard in Bothashill as we learn animal husbandry, yard maintenance, animal rescue and relocation, caring for our animal family all round.

An abundance of climbing trees, a large conservancy with loads of wild life, river, forest and dams become children’s hang outs and learning places. Our space is constantly evolving as the learners interact with it. They take responsibility for, and participate in making it their own.

A large resource library of books, lego, educational board games and cards for children offer more playtime exploration and life skills development.

Uncapped, superfast internet is included in the fees.

We are not a school, we are an environmentally sound, real world community centre for real life learning. The learning process here is mostly self-paced and self-directed. As facilitators, we guide, mentor, encourage and inspire, not force or control.


Informal, project-based, experiential learning is our core service combined with offline as well as online reflection upon that experience.

We also offer state of the art online learning for learners who want to compliment their learning experience with a more formal curriculum alongside our informal creative, environmental and other extra curricular activities.


Animalia Learning Center operates as a democracy: The children participate in making the rules for the center.

Communication, relationship and expression is key in daily life. Problem solving and any issues that arise are dealt with as a group and fleshed out together, or extended to individual councelling sessions.

Our daily program combines a structured time-table blended with informal activities. Among others, we do light daily warm-ups with movement and physical games, brain gym etc. Each process intends to facilitate children’s freedom of expression, holistic development and grounding.


We use accredited service providers for online learning curricula. DTO Learning is our primary service provider which we highly recommend for kids keen on a solid, inspiring and relevant academic experience to compliment their whole learning adventure at Animalia LC. DTO offers the highly acclaimed Cambridge syllabus dished up with passion and excellence. Then there is also Think Digital College for the CAPS and a version of Cambridge syllabus from Grade R – 12, GED Online for the US syllabus ages 16 upwards doing matric, and others. Chat to us about what’s best for your unique child/ren and their interests.

Learners bring their own laptop, tablet or I-pad.

“We do not teach. We create an environment that inspires learning” – Einstein

We facilitate their daily learning and we do not teach or act as a replacement for school in the conventional sense. We offer a caring facility and provide the infrastructure for a registered distance learning curriculum which learners can complete when parents can’t supervise them during the day. It is still the parents’ responsibility to monitor their child’s progress, in partnership with us.

Programs like Think Digital College offer online tutor support at an added cost. If this is not sufficient for your child, then extra after care tutoring can be arranged by the center in addition to the set fees.


Children who do not wish to enroll with any of these online programs, such as unschoolers or those working with alternate programmes, bring additional materials from home or research their passions here. This could include learning materials or projects of their own making, games or books. We focus mainly on creativity (music, visual and dramatic arts), nature immersion, conservation, sustainability, eco-farming and animal husbandy. There are many informal learning programmes and materials that can work with this approuch, such as Fun-Schooling with their range of context appropriate books. We do create our own learning materials also as we go, using experiential learning with note taking as our way to cover numeracy and literacy on the move, naturally.



We are developing an expansive, interactive online learning programme that takes our ethos, passion and spirit for free range adventuring and self-directed learning to the virtual level of remote learning.

The Distance Learning programme is a fun, jam packed choice of activities for our learners and parents online. This programme is for those not able to attend the centre in person, or only sporadically. The activities can be done at home, in the garden, in the house, bedroom, whilst travelling, etc. We use WhatsApp, YouTube and Google Classroom – through art, music, academics, warm up exercises, brain gym, creative games, nature immersion, and more. All of it focusses on freedom, self-awareness, self-expression, self-discipline and the process of knowing myself, my purpose and place in this world. And to be that unique, confident person no matter what! This is the grounding for each and every one’s love of life, our sense of beingness, the core of who we are as we grow into relationship with ourselves, others and the world. And then to share our unique talents and joy, be who we really are, and thus change the world by being ourselves.


Free 1 week trial /try out period.

 Sign up for R2 000 per month for the online programme, which incorporates time slots on the programme for academics/ research but does not include the actual academic curriculum itself which is extra and arranged between parents and the service provider, with our recommendation. When you sign up for the Distance Learning programme, you can also opt to attend Animalia Learning Center in person, for example on Thursdays for the weekly social freerange learning adventure day, which is usually R330 Ad Hoc, but would be R300 should you be registered for the Distance Learning programme. Our Friday programme applies same as in nr 2 above.

 The benefits of the virtual homeschooling and unschooling programme are: Self-directing and independence development; parent-child-teacher transparency; and family participation in whole child and children development plus parent training in becoming the mentor we are all meant to be for our kids.


The center is managed by partners Simone and Niko, both qualified and SACE registered teachers with 20 – 30 years’ experience respectively in education on all levels. We are assisted by qualified and experienced specialist facilitators in academics and physical acitivities.

Our backgrounds range from formal, government, private and remedial education to informal, rural, developmental and correctional training.

We have been homeschooling our own children since 2014. 


We are located in the magical Valley Of A Thousand Hills, Kwazulu-Natal.

Contact us to come see and try out the experience for yourselves. 


Gates open daily at 8:30am. Learners officially attend 9am-1.30pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and afternoons accommodate additional extra murals, extra lessons and related activities.

Fees are applicable to 4 days per week, Mondays to Thursdays. Friday attendance (9am to 12pm) is free and optional, no fees are charged, and it is a volunteer programme engaging our learners and community members in experiential hands on sustainability projects ongoing at the centre.


Details for different packages and days per week can be downloaded from THIS PAGE – SEE Download Fees and Registration Form BUTTON below.

Usual rate R330/day per child ad hoc and try out when without parents. With parents helping facilitate it’s R50 per child p/day. For full time (Mon -Thurs, R4 160 monthly @ R260.00/day), R312 for one day/week (R1 248 monthly) and everything inbetween. Fridays are free for all to join our Free Fridays Volunteers For Sustainability programme. Siblings discount is available on request, and fees are adjustable according to parents’ budget – please speak to us for a win-win solution as we would love to acommodate everyone if possible :) .



Life and learning is one and the same thing. Who Am I? What Do I Love Doing / Who Do I Love Being? What Do I Want To Do With My Life? We encourage our learners to explore life, do crazy stuff, experience different choices and options, try out different things. We are essentially creative beings with a strong urge to be free: Independence and joy drive us to get up in the mornings, face tough challenges, keep on keeping on regardless of what life throws at us, and to step into our power as creators of our own realities.

Through our real life Virtual and Contact Shop, we motivate learners to take their passions into cash and monetise their talents. Home baking, mentoring and teaching others about and how to do their passions, art and craft, sewing, novel DIY hacks and other services the learners love doiing and offering naturally, are given platforms for turning them into financially viably businesses. They utilise social media and visit actual shops to market their businesses. They explore logo designs, pricing and product design in the process, all the while working with their innate purpose, sense of play and fun, and actively participating in their own worlds as creators, agents and whole humans.

Click here to see our ever evolving and expanding online shop