Jo Clarke

I believe educators should do everything they can to encourage children to develop a responsible, loving and caring relationship with the natural and gardened world. In doing so, we help them to understand that our wellbeing is inextricably linked to the rest of the life on Earth.

My life in teaching has been a varied and rich experience and I committed to a lifelong investigation into how children truly learn about the world they inhabit.

Growing up on a traditional farm in Devon offered me a foundation in many practical skills, including animal and plant husbandry. As a young man I spent 11 years in Andalucia, bringing up my own children, building, farming and performing street theatre. I became inspired by the diversity of modes of learning that I witnessed, and developed a yearning to explore a new education.

On returning to the UK, I completed an Education Studies Degree in Steiner Education. My first job as a graduate was teaching science, games and crafts for a year at Bristol Waldorf School where the practical, experiential approach to science excited me. Later, a full time teaching post as a Gardening Teacher at the South Devon Steiner School offered me the opportunity to develop my ideas.

I went on to design an outdoor learning environment that would offer children aged 5 to 16 the opportunity to engage in experiential, land-based activities that supported and catalysed the classroom based content of the curriculum. Collectively these experiences have helped inform the head, heart, hands approach that we’ve developed here at Embercombe.

What does Embercombe mean to you?

Embercombe is a place to grow our next generation in connection to nature.