Our School's Mission

We aim to create a safe, inclusive, learning environment and culture where young people are free to follow their natural curiosity and creativity to develop their capacity as independent, self-directed learners  


To establish a community of self-governance and justice where everyone’s voice is heard and equally valued, while connected to their community, their land and their chosen place within it. 

our Core Principles

MDS trusts the child’s own curiosity and need to learn as part of the natural process of growing up, maturing and evolving as an individual. We trust that learning happens as the person needs it.


The ability to manage and understand your own learning process is the most valuable skill we can develop. 

MDS believes that a culture of respect is foundational for a healthy community and true equality. That respect must be given and received between all members of the school. This is a skill and practice that must be modelled and nurtured within the school through restorative practice. 

At MDS our respect extends towards the Natural world and recognising that many of our needs are met through the work of natural systems. Respect includes recognising that our way of seeing the world is not the only one and there is value and much to be learned from a diversity of world views and traditional knowledge. 

MDS respects the child’s right to choose, as long as it does not harm themselves or another. They can choose what they will learn, how and when that will occur and with whom they wish to learn, whether independently, as part of a group or from a mentor. 

Children at the school are free to self-direct and find their own path with their personal learning journey, in a safe, supported environment. 

MDS recognises that with Freedom comes responsibility. This responsibility can be seen in the management and running of the school through democratic means. 

The students and the staff members together take responsibility for all aspects of the school through school meetings and collective decision making processes. This includes laws or rules the students make themselves; to ensure a fair and safe community environment.

At MDS every school community member has one vote. There is no structural hierarchy. Each school member, staff and child have a say on all aspects of the running of the school with the one exception of safety, where a staff member may intervene if a child is at risk to themselves or another. 

The running of the school is managed through regular school meetings where everyone is welcome to attend, raise items for the agenda and vote on matters important to them. 

Conflict or disputes are worked out through the Justice Committee (J.C.) that aims to restore the relationship between the people concerned, understand what happened and how all people involved can work to prevent it happening again.

MDS recognises that to be inclusive, we must understand and accept that people are different; in how they identify themselves, what their needs are, and how they live their lives. 

For our environment to be inclusive we know we must actively work to make sure all individuals feel safe, respected and valued for who they are and what they bring to the school.