Our alternative schooling project was established by three families seeking to find a better education for their children. The families had a background in life coaching, traditional and Waldorf education, human rights and natural health. As time went on the project attracted more educators and families who now live in a friendly and open homeschool community, enjoying laughter, celebrations, learning, shared resources and more together. New educators came with skills such as Forest School expertise, handwork, permaculture, and wood carving and whilst the project grew, we found our balance together. Through the pandemic and other challenges, the project managed to ebb and flow in harmony with the changes of the times. Trust has always been the key! With a clear curriculum ethos, partnerships with Prunus International School, and a unique RQF level 1 arts qualification, we look forward to sharing our beautiful project with your family!
What we do
River Flower is an alternative schooling project located in central Portugal that offers a holistic education to children aged 7 to 13 under the homeschool regime. We collaborate with parents to provide a caring, supportive and creative learning community, which nurtures all aspects of child development as a foundation for healthy, confident, well-balanced adults. Our international curriculum is inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and we also use Montessori materials. Much of the learning takes place through storytelling or in nature. Our teachers work with families to support each child according to their needs and levels.
Immersion in nature is key to our approach, and we are fortunate to be located in such beautiful surroundings. We also emphasise the importance of physical education, with weekly access to a sports ground, with tennis, football, basketball and world dance. Most of our students also attend the Woolfe Forest School to enhance their learning experience. Our students come from all over the world, and most of the teaching is in English, with weekly Portuguese lessons by a native Portuguese teacher.
As well as expertise in the core curriculum areas, our staff team have a rich background in music, drama, art, permaculture, dance, literacy, and human rights. We enjoy following the rhythm of the school year through celebrating festivals such as May Day, Imbolg, Martinmas, and Carnival, combining international and Portuguese celebrations.
Meet our educators
Creative Writing, Grammar & Music Teacher
Pierre has been a guitar teacher for over ten years. At the school, Pierre teaches grammar, creative writing and music. He actively teaches using Waldorf, Montessori and Jolly Phonics methods, with UK core curriculum. He endeavours to find the right method to assist each individual student's learning needs.
Pierre studied Music Performance and Acting in Exeter College. During and after his studies he began a career as a professional musician. Alongside live music he began working as a song and creative writing coach. He has also won several awards for original poetry. "I have always wanted to help young people convey what they think and feel through words."
Maths Teacher and Project Leader
Naomi holds a first-class degree with Qualified Teacher Status from Lancaster University, UK. She has taught in primary schools throughout the UK and is also a literacy trainer with expertise in phonics and storytelling. As well as teaching, she has co-founded charities and non-for profit organisations that support street children and trained more than 100,000 teachers in sub Saharan Africa.
She has a strong interest in alternative education and holds a Montessori Teaching diploma as well as certificates in Waldorf education, including puppetry, painting and human development. As a mother of three girls, her passion is to find ways to achieve joyful and purposeful learning experiences for children to enable them to feel confident and free in adulthood.
Manager & Varied Subject Teacher
Adam has been involved in education, media and arts since a child. Workshops, performances and arts events inspired the growth into what he now sees as a vitally important role in the world, teaching.
After finishing his Music Production degree 'BIMM' Bristol, fundamental questions of life, learning and relationship came of deep importance and informed the coming years of travel, friendships and enquiry. After some time travelling, Adam became a residential teacher of music for two years at a holistic international boarding school in Hampshire, UK. He then moved to Portugal at the beginning of this year.
Looking to come together with a group of people and help build an educational project he joined Waterfall Valley Education. With a background in music/recording, body movement, wood working/sculpting, photography and arts he endeavours to bring these subjects to the schools curriculum. Currently, Adam teaches, maths, arts, enquiry time, science and form drawing amongst other roles.
Art Teacher & Pre-School Educator
Maria studied Illustration and Design at the University of Sunderland and is currently undergoing her Montessori teaching diploma. While in Maria's professional life and whilst traveling, Maria's crossed path with education in which she found deep purpose and passion.
On returning back to her country, Portugal, she discovered and joined this school project. At the school she teaches Art classes with inspiration and techniques from Montessori and Waldorf Curriculum. She is nearing completion of her Montessori diploma.
Latin, Grammar & Drama Teacher
John studied education at Durham and Penn State after a Gap Year in Kenya. After returning to the UK, he was a buyer for a leisure company and then did a post grad at the LSE in Personnel Management. He worked in the City, then delivered a 35 ft sloop to the West Indies before setting off for post-Independent Zimbabwe in 1982. After trading, teaching and bringing up a family in Africa, he ran a hotel in Central Edinburgh before working in a Prep School outside Cambridge. He came, looking for new adventures, to Portugal in 2017.
John has found the Waldorf approach to education refreshing and exciting as well as being a great vehicle to build confidence in young people. He studied in the United States and UK always trying to see life from as many angles as possible. He has a passion for choral music, trains, education and Africa.
Portuguese, Science, Dance, Art & Crafts Teacher
Rafa has been working with children since she was herself a kid! Starting as a basketball coach for an under-10s group, it gave Rafa the will to pursue a busy and colourful professional life.
While working on diverse after school playgroups and activity camps, Rafa graduated in Art Studies in Coimbra University. Her heart took her to live on a farm, that generated an interest in a more sustainable life, close to the community, guiding Rafa to complete an Education and Local Development Master's Degree in ESEC.
This course lead to the creation of Ideia Glocal Associação para o Desenvolvimento Local, a non-profit organisation that has been promoting sustainable and ecological actions in her community. In a parallel life, Rafa is a traditional dance teacher and a staunch volunteer in diverse events and dance festivals. In her short spare time, sewing, cuddling with cats, farming and cooking vegetarian meals keep Rafa's life always fulfilled.