Climbing 100 Trees

Henry Readhead
Leiston , United Kingdom

Wiktoria Szmyt-Ligocka

Simple human being which has been a part of Summerhill for 7 years. This place has helped me figure out who I am, and realise my love for art, music and brownies. Yes.

Aleksander Jakopič

I was studing Neill while in the womb and I used many years to finaly found Him on Earth, so I translated all His teoretic works in Slovene 🙂 In my heart I'm an old Summerhillian.

Ann Qiu

When I studied the education courses in the British universities, I didn't hear about Neil and Summerhill at all. But, when I continue exploring how to build a healthy information society, Neil and his pioneering working is a shining beacon light to my working in China. iSkool as an ambassador of this international community will supportively organize local activities to make people know A.S.Neil as well as the achievement of Summerhill in 100 years.

Abigail Higgleton

I first came across A.S.Neill’s ideas as an undergrad studying Psychology at the University of Sussex. It was such a relief to read about Summerhill, the philosophy made complete sense to me; I felt the combination of reassurance and inspiration that you get when you discover someone else’s well articulated ideas, which you had always felt to be true but hadn't been able to clearly imagine or express them into words. In my early 20s I only knew about Neill’s work from an academic perspective, and hadn’t realised Summerhill was still in existence as a school, let alone somewhere I could potentially work. Luckily in 2016, at a point when I was looking to move away from Brighton and change my life around, I was fortunate enough to find out about a vacancy for a Houseparent. My work up until this point had been a patchwork of pastoral care roles in education, play work and various creative odd jobs, so this opportunity was a perfect fit. I am still a Houseparent at Summerhill (for the ‘House’ boarding area - the infamous gangster age), and I love it very very much. Alongside this role, I have been fortunate enough to try my hand at many other jobs within the school; for a year I was joint Art Teacher with the San Houseparent at the time. For one incredibly intense year I co-lead, what turned out to be, an enormous scale production of the musical Grease. I also still teach Drama, Psychology, Textiles, and run the Sex and Relationships Education workshops. This list only scratches the surface of things I’ve been involved with in my time at the school; it’s easy to be busy all of the time with the huge range of things happening in the community at any one time. I am very grateful for my time at Summerhill, it’s a hugely unique place to work. When I first started at school, I became aware that the job would smash the work/life binary; even when times are intense or stressful, it rarely feels like ‘work’, and when things are going well, days can be full of such variety and fun. As an adult living in the community, I have learnt so much from the kids about how to function and live collectively, I have been challenged to dismantle my ideas around power and authority, and I continue to deepen my understanding of justice, freedom and equality. It’s a privilege to be part of the community living at school, as we approach the celebration of it’s 100th year!

Aditi Chandra

I am Aditi, founder of Nisaba, an education initiative aimed at empowering children to learn. I strongly believe that every child is naturally curious and eager to learn more about the world. I created Nisaba to give every child the freedom to explore, to question facts and become an active participant in learning. I want each child to discover the magic of science in her own way. To make learning fun. Because it is! What motivates me is the joy on a child’s face as she unravels a new mystery. I want every child to experience this joy. Summerhill and Neill's ideas continue to inspire me and have been a massive influence in both my life and work. One day, I hope to start a school in India where children can be free.

Adrienne Huber

I’ve been involved in democratic education for over 30 in Australia, Brazil & briefly on a visit to Vancouver. I became interested in different approaches to education while I was conducting research in a local primary school about the Hawthorne Effect (think Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’, Pygmalion and Galatea) for my honours in psychology. I knew there had to be something better for my children. I found a democratic school in Canberra, some 5 hours away. That was 1986. We moved there. I went on to complete my PhD ethnography in literacy and learning there and there was no going back. Neill’s books about democratic education and Summerhill we’re seminal readings for my research. I devoured them. Since those days in the 80s & 90s, I’ve started a democratic high school in Perth, Australia, helped start another in Brazil & been Principal of yet another... and much more! I’ve been a member of the Executive of The Australasian Democratic Education Community (ADEC) since it started in 2001. I manage our ADEC Facebook page & co moderate our FB Forum.

Alex

I'm the art teacher at Summerhill, possibly the best job in the world! The Summerhill seed was planted in my mind when I first read some of Neill's work as a teenager (a teenager who hated school) and to me it sounded just wonderful. The initial Summerhill seed has stated to grow as I took up the position of art teacher two years ago - and its been brilliant! Prior to Summerhill I was an artist and curator, I studied BA Art and Philosophy and MA Curating Contemporary Art and worked on projects around the UK. I then began teaching, initially in a state school, then a Waldorf school and now a democratic school.

Alex Farcet

Summerhill changed everything, there was a huge difference in my life before and after. Responsibility, freedom, creativity, community, friendship, all this between the ages of 11 and 14. I tell people I dropped out of school and climbed trees for two years, then I decided I should go to class. What an awesome level of freedom and responsibility at such an age, although why should that be so unusal?

Alina Gentimir

I've just watched Summerhill movie exactly in a day with a lot of discussions to my job(Alexandru Ioan Cuza University) about my students' evalations after pandemic crisis. Always have tried to cultivate freedom in my boy and my students' minds, to help them to find themselves and to grow everyone in his/her rhythm. Over the years of teathing human rights I have tried to change the mentality and the system....in order to avoid so many broken spirits between young people. I am convinced that everyone has a special potential and this one will assure individual and collective success.

Hebden Bridge Learning Community

We are a Democratic Learning Community in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. We offer a one, two or three-days a week of learning together. Our students choose how many days they come to learn with us. We keep learning interesting through yoga and meditation, democratic decision making and cross-subject learning. Small class sizes, never more than 12, enable closer teacher-student relationships. For us the “classroom” is an exciting learning place which also includes the natural world. We have excellent teachers who are always learning how to develop a creative environment which balances self-directed and group-directed learning. Summerhill has always been there as an amazing beacon of possibility. If a democratic school can start up in 1921 and still be going, it means that democratic education is valued and wanted by the world. Even though we started our school without ever visitng Summerhill or speaking to anybody there, just the fact of its very existance was an inspiration. A standard bearer which has witheld the onslaughts of Ofsted misfortune to keep a candle of hope burning for so many generations. It's extraordinary that it is about to celebrate 100 years of life, all of us in Democratic Education all over the workld have been touched in some way by the words and deeds of A. S. Neil, and long may that continue.

Cammie Justus-Smith

I was a traditional educator in the US for several years before I discovered Summerhill and Self-Directed Education. I have helped open two schools in Texas based on these ideas and am raising my own young son to have agency and self-determination. A.S. Neill's Summerhill has driven me to try new things and push my own boundaries. I am incredibly excited about the idea of celebrating 100 years of his ideas.

Charlotte “Candy” Landvoigt

I read Neill’s famous book when I was a Junior in College. I can still remember vividly where I was sitting as I read the life changing words. My husband and I later travelled to Summerhill in 1969. In 1981 we founded The Highland School, a democratic school inspired by Neill’s work. Over the years, in addition to working at our school, I became a play therapist in private practice. Through nondirective play therapy, I watched children bravely overcome many difficult problems on their own. After several years, one of our school staff learned about Sudbury Valley School and our entire school included many principles of the Sudbury philosophy - especially all democracy all the time. We decided to become an international boarding school with our own dormitory in 2004. I read Neill’s Summerhill again for more inspiration. I also studied John Dewey for my doctoral degree and wrote a dissertation on his concept of the child. Coincidentally, I first learned of Dewey from a Science teacher at Summerhill when we visited in 1969. Years later, his advice to trust children’s experience was fundamental in creating our school. Today we are unable to have our school due to Covid 19. We plan to reopen in the fall (2020) if the law allows. I have written a book about children’s rights and fully democratic schools that rests on the writing of A.S. Neill, John Dewey, Dan Greenberg, Paulo Freire and Virginia Mae Axline. It also leans heavily on my experiences over 40 years with children and members of The Highland School. My path through all the adventures in these years began with Neill’s Summerhill. His example and, in recent years Zoe Redhead’s practical vision for Summerhill, have enriched my journey in democratic education.

Catherine Silvestre

I've created a democratic school :)

Cecelia Bradley

Many new ideas and dreams were part of the late 60s when I began my adult journey in education and A.S.Neill's writings and Summerhill were very influential and inspiring.At the same time Currambena was beginning it life aspiring to a place where children could "...grow in freedom. The bestowal of freedom is the bestowal of love." When I was finally able to be part of the Currambena Community, the 'happy place' that was itself inspired by Summerhill I experienced this every day. As part of the Australasian Democratic Education Community I have been able to continue my connections with this family.

ERRIETA CHAIDEFTOU

i read neils books when i was 13 and since he has beeen my hero. Dy dream was when i was a kid to .visit Summerhill.Thousand years later been a mother now Iam very greatfull that Summerhill exists and Iam very proud that one day soon I can show the school to my dauther

Christiana Moschou

I was born and raised in Athens, where I received formation on theatre and psychology and participated in various theatrical groups and projects about conflict resolution through art and awareness raising. My master’s degree is in Psychopedagogy and my PhD dissertation is on Democratic Education through Social Theatre. Summerhill is a great inspiration and has proven democratic education to be a utopia that came true.

Cecile Krogscheepers

We watched the movie Summerhill and that inspired us a lot. We were homeschooling at the time and then started unschooling. It is 3 years later now and we are involved in starting a self-directed learning centre in Cape Town.

Zachary Bastiani

It’s inspired me to be free and helped me to enjoy having a better life

Dennis Kelly

I have re-read Summerhill several times. It has changed the way I live my life. After finishing compulsory education (through college), I followed my love of theatre and acting. I have been acting for 10 years. I study the principles of freedom (non-compulsion) through the healing approach of Interpersonal Neurobiology. The embodied perspective shares much with Summerhill. I wish I had attended the school! Thank you.

Diana de Horna

I read "Summerhill" shortly after my daughter was born, eight years ago. Neill's truth and his passion were eye-opening, and I still remember the impact some of his words had on me, both emotionally and intellectually. They moved me to rethink my own childhood and to embark on a journey which continues to this day. Since then, my partner and I have been able to travel around many countries with our daughter in order to visit other democratic schools; to publish Peter Grays' "Free to Learn" in Spanish; to produce a documentary film (featuring Summerhill of course, among other schools) which will be ready this year... and we are now on our way to creating a democratic school in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) which will launch in 2020, just on time for the Centenary celebrations. I couldn't thank A.S. Neill enough for how his work has changed my life. Congratulations, Neill, congratulations Summerhill! And may your dream and your passion live on.

MARO TZOUMERKIOTI

Greek association about democratic education and emancipatory pedagoge. We are fighting for the right of all children to a happy and creative childhood. Our dream is that one day we can establish democratic schools in our country.

Emilie Gonzalez

Hello! Just finished reading "Summerhill Hoy" (in spanish) by Zoe Neill. Im a bilingual preschool teacher from a small country called Costa Rica. I try to be a very open minded and flexible teacher, working a lot with nature and open materials. Your school seems like paradise, so i want to research more about it! Im impressed that is an old school, it seems just perfect for nowadays.

Erwan Lelièvre

I discovered A.S. Neill and Summerhill long before my studies to become a primary school teacher. Since then, I have been interested by educators as Freinet, Cousinet, Oury, Freire and many others with who i share points of views. However, I must say that Neill's thoughts on education have been (and still are) the most important in my construction both as a teacher and a human being. Very often (should i say daily?), I refer to or think about Neill in my teaching practice (most of the time, in the way i interfere with pupils). I have the chance to work in a little school (60 pupils) with colleagues with the same vision of the world and it is obvious that Neill, among others educators, takes his part in the way we are running the school with pupils and adults working with us.

Erwin García

Summerhill and A.S.Neill's ideas have inspired me to know and work more on self-organization of learning and self-directed education.

Emanuele Santanche

Certainly Summerhill changed my life. I discovered it reading one of Anthony De Mello's books. He recommended to read Summerhill, the book, paying more attention than we would reading the Bible. He was right. I also read a lot of books by Erich Fromm, the Prophet of Love. He praises Neill and his intuition that freedom is how you make children happy and cure Humanity's problems. Wars, conflicts, crime and obsessions originate from unhappiness. Neill's ideas helped me build my website about teenage depression. Thanks to Neill I now understand that freedom is one of the best antidepressants in the world. That Summerihill survived the attacks our profoundly sick society launched against it gives me hope that we may make it. I wish Summerhill to survive and thrive for another century and way more.

Esther

My German school teacher told me to do a presentation on Summerhill School when I was 16 years old. He said I would probably quite like their Philosophy. He knew me better then I thought. I absolutely love it and Summerhill influenced my way of thinking about education ever since. I started working at Summerhill in the year 2000 as a German teacher and Class 1 assistant, later also taught English as a Foreign Language and now I'm the Shack Houseparent and a passionate gardener. I always enjoy some art and craft projects and cooking with the younger kids. And I guess with them I'm best known as the one who opens and cleans the pool.

Evangelos Vlachakis

I am passionate about the arts, nature and the physical environment in the context of democratic education. I believe in the balance of human intervention with the natural habitat. I consider myself an enthusiastic and knowledgeable naturalist keen to develop biodiversity. I am a long term enthusiast and keen researcher of natural learning and self directed education.I like to combine my skills in media with my practical life skills in order to inform my diverse background and share my knowledge. I care for the holistic well being. In this respect A.S. Neill's ideas have been inspirational and following Summerhill as a sustainable model is of prime importance to my work as an educational freedom activist.

Peter Foti

I have read most of the books of Neill, was very much influenced by him. Later on I think he was a romantic, in some ways irresponsible. Still like the idea of limited self government, the joint meetings where pupils and staff has equal rights.

Georgios Kollias

I studied as a teacher in Greece. During my master studies one professor talked to us as students about Summerhill and Neill with not so good words condemning the school for a non-limit freedom that was provided to the students of the school. Almost 3 years after that and after two years of working at schools of Greece I was full disappointed from the School Reality and I was searching for a dream... for a pedagogical dream. So, one summer of school holidays I started to read a Greek Book with the title ''I love what I understand'' from the Greek Author Margarita Konstantinidou. This pedagogical book among the matters that it was discussing into his context it was having too many references on Neill's attitudes and opinions and at the bibliography there was a Greek translation of the Neill's book with the title: Summerhill - The school of freedom. I bought this book immediately and I read it in 2 hours. After that, I bought all the Greek translations of Neill's books and I couldn't stop to realizes every word of these books. My life changed after that. I tried to use the philosophy of Neill in education within my job as a teacher and I saw with my own eyes tremendous results in the relationship with my students. So, the final step was for me to visit Summerhill and Zoe Redhead some years ago. It was for me so spiritual procedure all this journey from Greece to Suffolk. I have to admit that ought to Neill my existence as a teacher and I am so grateful for his donation to the child and the humanity in general.

Gerardo Mejia

When my first son was born I was talking With a friend and I said, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make a lot of money for my children, I hope I’ll be able to give them the best educación but most of all... I would like to procure self estime for them. He asked me. Have you heard of Summerhill?

ASSOCIAZIONE GORILLA

Inspired by the experience of Summerhill and by A.S. Neill literature, we, educators, specialists and friends, founded Associazione Gorilla with the aim to offer children and teens the opportunity to experience Freedom through self-government. We are based in Rome and the revolutionary impulse of Summerhill reaches us vigorously!

Gözde Atalay Kokkoris

I am a creative drama and physical theater teacher as well as a performer. I've been working in different schools and projects with children, teens and adults since 2004. I've been always interested and fascinated with the unpredictable 'nature' of human beings, the life surprises and the beauty of the differences. So I've made a research and I've started to work with the creative potentials of our untamed parts, the power of mistakes and the illusions of failure. A vast field of discovering new tools for the evolution of education. I've heard beautiful comments about Summerhill School from different students who participated in my pedagogy workshops '' Creative Potential of Failure''. They were sharing their experiences from Summerhill School projects or gatherings. So I am very curious and interest for this beautiful community.

Gustavo Mejia

I got to know about Summerhill through my sister Montse and fell in love with the system and immediately wished I had studied there. Now I can take a different approach to my life overall through what I have learned with her being at the school.

Haimei Zhang

The reason why I came to Japan is because of a book called 'The Little Girl at the Window' by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. This book tells the story of a little girl and her super wonderful school. I was attracted to this school and later discovered that the prototype of this school was Summerhill school. For various reasons, instead of going to the UK, I came to Japan to study. Because of the story of Summerhill school and Neill, my life has changed dramatically. I have gained a freer and wider world. It is still the most perfect school in my heart, and I am looking forward to the day when I can walk into it with my full story. <3

Wai Lok Ng

I wish children are left to play and choose their own paths instead of being forced to a spoon-fed education that doesn't even connect with the modern world. And I am surprised the first day I learned about Summerhill. The educational ideas are revolutionary but yet traditional, returning to the person for their education. I hope to promote these ideas and assist in the revolution of education to be more democratic and person-centred.

Henry Readhead

Hey everyone I am a grand son of A.S.Neill. I am presently a member of the management team at Summerhill along with my mother Zoe and brother Will. I was a pupil at Summerhill for all my younger years and ran the music department there from 2002 to 2012.

I get invited all around the world to do talks about Summerhill and A.S.Neill's ideas of education and this is the area of most interest to me. The sharing of Summerhill experiences and supporting others to implement our methods or by supporting them with theirs. In it's most simple form, Summerhill represents a very pure, natural and individualised childhood, allowing children to develop at their own pace and find their own interests, ambitions and life path. But these methods aren't as simple as giving freedom, although the fundamental goal is to create a system that allows children to be safe and free, and to remove all expectation.

I have visited lots of amazing places, met inspiring people doing wonderful things in education and for me it strengthened the fact that A.S.Neill's values of education need to be implemented across education globally for a more humane and sustainable world.

Wiebke Winkelmann

In my study to become a teacher i read A.S. Neills book and knew that i will not work in a regular school until my workingtime-end, so i´m a teacher at democratic schools now for a long time. I trust in a childs self-directed learning, in freedom and change of the whole world into a better place with democratic education.

Sara Hunjak

How I am studying educational sciences, it was impossible to avoid Summerhill school. Ever since my first paper about Summerhill, I knew that democratic education is the only type of education I will ever be interested about. Following Summerhill's philosophy, I'm allowing and letting people around me to do freely whatever they want to, as long as it's not hurting me.

Hildebrand Weisenborn

I was a student at Summerhill. Needless to say Summerhill has had a profound effect on my life and I still think back on my time at Summerhill very fondly. Beyond helping me find myself and find my passions in life, I think Summerhill has made me a kinder, more understanding person towards those around me. Summerhill has helped me gain a foundational understanding of who I am that has helped me more than any set of regular school lessons could have helped me - for which I am grateful.

IAN CUNNINGHAM

The report of the alternative inspection of Summerhill that we did for the court case sums up a great deal of why our group wanted Summerhill to win its case. The school has been an important symbol of how the state schooling system has failed to provide the freedom that young people need - and that we shouldn't be afraid to support the freedom of young people to learn whatever they wanted in any way they wanted.

Iris Smith

A student from Summerhill School. I love climbing trees, drawing and animals.

Isabel Fleischer

I was a pupil at Summerhill School for 7 years, and I say this (having left 6 years ago) that those years of my life will forever be the best. A.S. Neill's philosophy not only resonated with me as a student, but gave me the tools to be a functioning person in "the real world". Growing up there gave me a unique childhood that I will never take for granted. I wish to become a teacher for a few years of my life, and in those years I will definitely employ the values, ideas and techniques Summerhill taught me. The lessons I learned there are not only invaluable, but will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Jake Russell

I was a Summerhill kid from 2001 to 2005. I had a hard time in French schools, having difficulties following society's rhythm. In Summerhill I could live with my own rhythm and that is what I loved about that school.

Jakub Václavovic

I've visited Summerhill in summer 2019. I value this experience a lot and was inspired tremendously by that.

Jay

I never know how to start presenting myself! Although I do not seem shy to many, I can be quite shy... This is Jay, I'm from Brazil but living in Europe since 2007; the first 8 years I was in London, and now I'm in Sandnes, Norway. In 2016 I started a part-time Master Program in Educational Research through Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo (I am not a Steiner teacher, my background in teaching before starting the Master had been in the sport of judo). During the master program, I was given a paper to read and had to prepare a lecture to my fellow students (Saffange, 2000). The paper is all about Neill! Feeling that I would be a failure to lecture about A.S. Neill without touching down at Summerhill ( I still feel I know nothing about 'this man'), I flew from Norway to England for a day visit. The game changed completely: instead of writing my thesis on a Sports' topic, my topic surrounds Democratic Education; my research questions were inspired by a boy (not sure if I can mention his name here) who was playing in the sandbox at Summerhill during that first visit. My second visit was during the 'Summerhill Experience' in 2019, where many enthusiasts like me gathered together to live as a Summerhillian for 5 days. I have said this before and I'll repeat it here: for me, going to Summerhill is like going home; a home that every child has the rights to have . Since then, I have met many wonderful people who are genuinely fighting for the rights of children to be agents of their own lives from young age: citizens of today, not citizens in construction. So I will always be thankful for having met Neill, Summerhill, and everyone who carries the legacy ahead to remind us what is possible (and impossible!). P.s.: In the picture, I am Chaplin (I got very happy when I discovered that Neill was a fan of Chaplin too, so thought it to be a nice profile pic to have!)

Joana Karolina de Alencar Bezerra

Olá, sou brasileira,estudo Pedagogia. Através de um trabalho da faculdade sobre Carl Rogers, pude conhecer as ideias da Summerhill. Acredito que não cabe mais uma educação autoritária, que faz morrer a criatividade das crianças, tornando-os adultos infelizes .

JoanB

I first read about Summerhill when I was training to be a teacher and was immediately captivated by Neill's ideas. It would be true to say that all my dealings with children since those early days have been informed and influenced by Neill's perspective. I was delighted to discover in 2016 that the school was still operating and required an English teacher; I am still here.

Joanne Vella

Summerhill was in my dreams before I got to know it existed. I heard about summerhill during a lecture and had to Google for more information. When I was among those who visited for the Summerhill experience I totally felt st home. This was the space I always dreamed of and it has been there for almost 100 years. SUMMERHILL is proof that we can work against systems and give better environments where children experience a beautiful childhood and learn life. Since then I ve been reading A.S. Neill and am more motivated to have these dream of mine come through even if its in small doses.

Joann Shen

I grew up in an alternative school in Taiwan. We participate in IDEC every year to get to know democratic schools around the world, and bring back our learning experience to share!

John Walmsley

I feel like an honorary Summerhillian. In 1968, a student photographer at Art School, I heard of Summerhill and, with Neill's permission, came and took the photos which became the basis for my book, 'Neill & Summerhill: a man and his work', a Penguin Education Special with a text by Leila Berg (Abe Books might have used copies if you'd like one). A copy can be viewed in the National Art Library at the V&A Museum, London. Those photos and others from 2010 and 2011 are all on my website listed above. Please go have a look but please, please do not make copies or post them to social media. Since then, I've been a part-time lecturer at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, lived in an Arts Centre with many other artists, run projects in schools and supplied photos to 1,000+ books worldwide. One photo of Neill is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. My biggest memory of the school is feeling at home right away.

Jostein strömmen

I found As neill book about summerhill stored away in the basement magazine at the teacher programs library in Bergen, Norway in 1998. I had heard about the book, which I thought at the time before reading it was a fiction, a novel that had inspired many hippies in the 60s. It was a shock to me that the book was about a real school, that it was not a fiction, and to fiend out that the school still existed. The book is without a doubt the book I have read that has had the biggest impact on my life. It was off to the inspiration when we started a democratic school in Oslo in 2004. Since I have read all off Neills books on education, the most fun is the oldest "a teachers logbook" from 1914. I have also been incredibly lucky to visit Summerhill a number of times, it has been a wonderful experience and a great awakening. "This is also how a school could be" It gave me tears in my eyes the first time I was there. It has since that been the biggest inspiration for me to work in schools and as a teacher. A true guide line. This until today where I work at Solvik in Järna at a school that has a lot of similarities to Summerhill when it comes to the feeling / atmosphere on the place. I am forever grateful for the influence Summerhill has had and still has in my Life, and that in so many more areas than this little text can tell about. A million thanks to Summerhill and good luck with the 100th birthday next year. all the best from Jostein streams, Sweden / Norway

Katerina Botvinnik

I'm in the team of Summerhill Fest of Childhood organizers. That's how inspired I am)))

Karen Whitescarver

I read the book when I was about 9 (in 1978) and thought it was really interesting. My parents thought outside the traditional education box and so we discussed it, but could not afford to send me or my siblings. I found a democratic, self directed education school for myself and my son. I have been at The Highland School in WV, USA for 16 years. I am excited to see Summerhill in 2021!

Klára Koubská

Summerhill school visiting week was an exciting experience that has changed my perspective of education forever. The concepts of freedom, responsibility, friendship and acceptance are much stronger and more meaningful in Summerhill than wherever else in the educational world. Thank you for being so inspirative!

Lasse Löttgen

I was a student at Summerhill for 10 years from 2006. It has inspired my personal and academic vastly, hopefully my career will take influence from Summerhill too, as I aim to write educational policy one day. Everyday I come to realisations about how my time at Summerhill has helped me to navigate all sorts of relationships and I'll never stop appreciating this.

Magdalena Sendor

The Neill's book is a continuing source of inspiration.

Korogonas Ark

We have been congruently working and researching holistic & experiential learning, for every age, since 2003. Empowering teachers, parents and every person who interacts with children towards honouring global human values, peaceful living, personal awareness, own authentic self, collective well-being has been an important focus of our work. Korogonas Ark is a project/place of community living, holistic learning, peace food & consumption, regeneration of the land, holistic health, creativity, re-connection with the wisdom of life, spirituality, whole living, serving the narrative of the Story of Connection.

Maria Tsouknaki

Its very important what you propose for the education. Love, democracy, freedom of choises, creativity, critical thinking. I work with children for more than 20 years teaching art and creativity and I feel always as a kid, I beleive I can learn a lot from children.

Mariola Łazowy

Hi, I'm an English teacher in Polish state school. I heard about you about 5 years ago and recently I have been reading Neill's book and I'm seeing clearer and clearer how much I have to/ want to change my attitude towards my students, learning-teaching process and my work.Priceless. Invaluable. Thank you:) Best wishes:) Mariola Łazowy

Mark Vaughan

I was at Summerhill for about 2 years with my two elder brothers in the 1950s; the spirit of the school and Neill's approach to children and to their education has stayed with me all my life, in both a personal and professional capacity. I think Neill, Zoë, and the staff, have made a seminal contribution to the way that adults teach and relate to children; this contribution resonates around the world. In 1972 I was lucky to be able to interview Neill and write about him and Summerhill for three education journals in the UK, the US and Australia. Later in 2006 I edited the Open University Press book on the school and have been secretary of the A.S.Neill Summerhill Trust for 20 years; during this time I have also organised the contracts for overseas publishers to translate and issue Neill's books. I am very happy to be involved in several projects to help celebrate the school's Centenary in 2021.

Martha Neighbors

My 5 years as a Summerhill kid shaped everything about me. To this day (45+ year since I left!), my Summerhill family is the most important to me beyond my husband and children. My time there shaped my ability to adapt to new environments, to refuse to be quiet and accepting, to question, and to not be afraid to move on from situations that don't make me happy. Now I serve on the AS Neill Summerhill Trust, hopefully giving back a tiny speck of what Summerhill has given me. As I sit here in New York City, epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neill's phrase "freedom, not license" resonates more than ever. I hope we can still all see each other at next year's 100th reunion.

Marthese Morris

I am reading the book neil neil orange peel and enjoying every part of it. I think there is a gap between education and schooling.....and in my opinion as a primary school teacher for over 20 years we are disconnected and forgot what child hood is all about. I am aware of the philosophy at summerhill and in my opinion that gap we see in our schools is non existant in yours.

Marthese Morris

A primary school teacher for over 20 years. This spring I read the book neil neil orange peel and loved it. My twin sister Joanne visited summerhill school last summer ..I was suppose to join her but dates collided with family events. I love being a teacher but I see a gap between schooling and education. Sometimes the gap is so big that I question our work day in day out.

Maryna Zozuliak

I am a mom, person, and wife. I am interested about everything in the world, but people (myself and others) - most. I am rebellious by the nature - it must have come from the childhood, but I never asked psychologist about it! Sometimes these features make me extremely effective and driving, and sometimes - just empty. This also pushes me working everywhere and doing everything simultaneously from time to time! Like now. Apart from many other activities and works that I do, I also am the fundraising for the Summerhill festival, and will be happy to have many-many new acquaintances, connections, and friends!

Mauro Amarillo

Soy docente de Pedagogía Social en el Instituto de Formación en Educación Social de Montevideo, Uruguay. Tomamos a las ideas de AS Neill como precursor de propuestas pedagógicas antiautoritarias y las enseñamos en el Curso de Pedagogía Social 1

michael collins

I read the book and knew deep inside I had to get to know Summerhill. I was insisting and in the end Zoe accepted that I come and stay at the school for 14 days. These days changed my life in many ways. I got to know the children and the staff at the school and I felt like a part of the family. Thank you so much everyone for inviting you into your life. I am so grateful for everything I could contribute with. The treehut, the playground, the ladder to BIG BEACH. Thank you... I haven´t been back to the school for a while, but you are all with me in my heart. A deep thanks to you Zoe. I have told so many children (and adults) in Denmark about Summerhill and the all want to go. I am sure the story about Summerhill have inspired them on many different levels. I am looking forward to my next visit. I want to go see you all soon. Much love from me.

Mike Weimann

I visited Summerhill School with a group of children's rights activists (http://kraetzae.de/schule/england/) and as a follow-up to this we later hosted IDEC 2005 in Berlin (http://idec2005.org). We were so happy to have Zoe Readhead there. She then became an important part of our documentary movie "Democratic Schools" (http://democratic-schools.com). These three occasions are only the tip of the iceberg called Summerhill! Without Summerhill my life would have been completely different. (I don't want to imagine!)

Monika Irayati

A summerhill website page which contains a poem by AS Neil back in 2005 inspired us to question the purpose of our education in general. Because of that we started a children after school activities that evolve into a democratic school in 2012. The school name is Erudio Indonesia. It is located in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since then we have been building network of alternative education all over the country to promote the concept of education that give a child the freedom to be themselves and to define their own purpose of learning and also the freedom to choose their own way of learning. We are also being part of democratic education conference (Asia Pacific and International Democratic Education Conferences) and before the pandemic happened we are scheduled to host the APDEC in 2022.

Montserrat Mejía Ortiz

My name is Montse. I studied pedagogy in Mexico. In university was the first time I heard about A.S. Neill’s philosophy, and I fell in love with it. I’ve been working in Summerhill school since 2015. I started as the house parent in the house (kids 10-12 years old) then move to Class one teacher and house parent in the San (kids 5-8 years old). I love all the positions I worked in with all kids and being part of the community! Now I’m class one teacher!

Michelle Smith

We are working to emulate summerhill in maputo, mozambique

Mukti Patel

Prayaas:The Democratic School has been imparting knowledge through A.S. Neill's philosophy of Democratic Education in west part India since June, 2019. We believe in 3 principles of Education: Freedom, Happiness and Values. We are glad to have Henry Redhead as our Advisor for the functioning of the school. We are really happy with our initiative and would always like to learn from the vast experience of Summerhill in the field of Democratic Education. The whole idea of our school is somehow inspired by Summerhill and the environment of the school is very much supportive of democratic way of learning.

nbake

I am a pubic school teacher of 21 years. I am currently working on my masters of library informational sciences at sjsu, and I am writing a research paper on "radical and critical education communities and their informational needs and behaviors." I think California education, and elsewhere in the states, is heading into a time of fundamental changes. Los Angeles had banned suspensions for student "willful defiance," because it disproportionately punishes marginalized students. The data shows complete success, as of course it would, because there are no more suspensions, and it espouses "restorative justice" as the solution to address behavior problems. However, it is a shell game and the authoritarian control only grows worse, as this new measure has not addressed any of the underlying causes for "willful defiance." I cannot express how excited I am to find your school and website, and to see you are celebrating 100 years of successful education based on democratically aligned principals. It is not just a theory in a scholarly journal, but it lives firmly planted in the past as a model for the future. Wow. So cool. I can’t believe I had no idea this school even existed. Yay MLIS degree!

Neha Singh

I am the product of a traditional schooling system and my obsession with Neill started during my first primary school teaching job at a very traditional school in India. Since then I have tried to incorporate his ideas in my work and life outside it. The journey led to a MA thesis at University College London and now a PhD at The University of Melbourne—both of which explore democratic schooling empirically.

Michael Newman

I worked at Summerhill from 1995 as a fulltime science teacher, creating a timetable based on children choosing modules and controlling their academic learning towards GCSEs. I became one of the school's first Curriculum Advisers, along with Ian the Maths teacher. I created and supported the school's children's campaign committee to fight against the Ofsted threat of closure that resulted in the court case in 1999, this group became the External Affairs Committee. I was on the school's organising committee for IDEC 1999, chaired the conference, and published a 99 page report about the event. I have worked at the school for some 15 years as a Houseparent, English and Class 2 teacher, Café manager, and 'archivist'. I use Summerhill School and similar schools and children's communities to frame children's active citizenship work in state schools with examples of the implementation of children's rights. I initiated the Freedom to Learn Forum 2018 at Summerhill School.

Ni-Chieh

I've been at Summerhill since 1995~2002. I remember very well that I struggled not having my parents also learning and understand English, and was playing most of my first two years climing trees. I learned from Summerhill that you should do whatever you want in life, and achieve your goal without disturbing/distracted other people's life. It was a first a big struggle to speak out in our meetings at Summerhill, but slowly I worked my courage to speak out, becoming secretary at meetings, and eventually chairing the meeting. Now I am a teacher, teaching jewellery apprentices. I have been telling my students that we all have a different speed tread mill of life, and that also is the same with learning. So don't matter if you didn't understand the first time, just ask and we will work on how to achieve understanding together. P.s missing those sneaking out days. I remember my first year there was a big organised sneak out after bedtime, the whole house kids and two san kids(including me san kid) was included. First the san kids had to hide in the top clothes cupboards in the large girls room(now visiting again the cupboard seen so small), we had cereals, comics and our torches to keep us awake. Once all house kids finished bed time, the boys were knocking the wall(secrete knock) saying it's time to meet and decide where to go. We then decided to just go to the football field first, but as some of us got out we got caught but was not taken back to our rooms but told to. After that, all the big kids like Valen, Will, Roger and others all came out with big torches looking for us. Was so scared at the point, but now thinking back it's so funny.

Nick Flowers

I went to Summerhill as a pupil in the '60s and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I went into the film and TV business as a sound recordist and retired about five years ago. Now in my early 70s, I alternate between a weeping heart liberal and a 'flog the plebs' Tory. The place seems to have changed a lot since my time: the carriages really were disused railway carriages (Great Eastern Railway) and frost on the bedclothes in the morning was not unknown. We had it tough.

OroPaidio

Hi everyone! We are a team of educators from OroPaidio Education & Art Centre founded by Andriana Tavantzi, that fosters freedom of expression, collaboration, emotional and artistic cultivation, interaction, experimentation and experiential learning. All members of our team are trained in Lakis Kouretzis’ model onTheatre Pedagogy which resonates strongly with A.S.Neill’s and Summerhill School’s philosophy and practice. Some of the most profound shared values and approaches are equality, free and natural play, incidental learning, self-awareness and the focus on social and emotional development. We promote the importance of these ideas and mentalities for new generations and for humanity through working with pupils and adults of all ages and vulnerable groups; delivering educational programmes for schools; trainings for educators and other professionals; and collaborations with national Education Department, universities, charities and NGO’s. We have had the pleasure and privilege of visiting Summerhill, playing, interacting and co-creating with Summerhill pupils through theatre and art workshops. We will always love to come back to the place where the craziest dreams seem to be so natural and real…

Owen Morgan

I have been an educator and working musician all of my adult (and some of my teenage!) life, currently I am the music teacher at Summerhill, and have worked here since 2014. I earned a living playing music from my late teens and 20's, always teaching as a side. Over time this developed and I have been involved in a wide variety of teaching projects; from providing a program for excluded and at risk children in East Anglia, working with kids from care homes and serving as a director on a company developing advocacy services via music workshops. In contrast I have provided workshops and privately tutored young musicians of the highest level, preparing them for entrance into conservatoire and working as musicians in the most demanding sectors of the profession. I have always been keen to bring what I learned from the latter into the former, to enrich the musical experience of those for whom real musical provision is absent. After delivering a few one off workshops as a visiting tutor I took over the role of peripatetic music tutor in 2014. Initially on one day a week this grew and grew and in the end it made sense to move in and become a full time staff!

Pal Laszlo

As a Summerhill parent I'd say the School has changed our life as a family completely. We moved country, and since then we changed the way we think of learning and bringing up children.

Paolo Morante

I like many things related to the social sciences, arts and philosophy. I am a very curious person. I really like working with children. I currently work in Tikapata, a free school here in Cusco, Peru. I learned about Sumerhill and Neill in my freshman year. After that I read his story, contributions and some books. I really like his contribution to the world. I consider that Summerhill is a key piece to be inspired in the construction of new ways of living education.

Vassiliki Kobilakou

'Summerhill, a radical approach to child rearing' by A.S.Neil gave me inspiration and strength so to open the first Forest School in Greece, 'Pefkites'. The children learn here whatever they are interested in and decide through democratic ways about their life and days. In nature of course! Thank you Summerhill!

Petra Schmidt

As long as Summerhill exists I have hope for humanity.

Philipp Klaus

I spent a few years teaching and living at Summerhill, which obviously had a huge affect on my future life as an educator. To celebrate 100 years of Summerhill I'd like to share 100 photos that I took at Summerhill and that mean something to me or that I feel represent Summerhill. I'll add a little description to most, but some will come without a comment.

Phoenix Education

A UK charity collaborating with your school community to activate student and teacher voice, agency and autonomy. We collaborated with Summerhill School on the 2018 Freedom to Learn Forum.

Piyush Jain

Potterhead, Educator, Cook, Poet, Katha India, Teach For India Alumni, Empath, Grateful, Self-Aware, Happy Soul, INJF Professionally I am an educator, and this journey of being an educator has once introduced me to Summerhill in 2016. I was awestruck. It seemed like everything in school can come alive similar to something we witness in the movie The night at the museum. Thereafter, whenever I speak, research and explore education to children, teachers, fellow educators I can only speak of democratic style of schooling. I did start a small school with a purpose to bring alive democratic schooling alive in there. It just stayed with us for one year. We did incorporate ideas of choices to indulge in activities and sitting idle if one wants to. It was altogether a lovely experience. One can check our work @cartwheelschool on instagram. Summerhill has to lead me to other alternative schools around India. And I am still in love with the idea of democratic and open schooling. It has been the longest relationship I have been ever yet. I am not sure, but it has brought immense behavioral and mindset change towards my own life-style choices too at a sub-conscious level.

Poppy Petrou

I was a pupil at Summerhill for 5 years. I couldn't imagine a childhood without it. My memories within the school grounds are memories I will forever treasure. Relationships built aren't just friends, they're family who I will undoubtedly grow old with. A.S.Neill's philosophy taught me an invaluable amount about myself. "The real world" was scary at first, but the techniques, values and ideas Summerhill had will forever be a part of me.

Quincy alias Benedict Russell

My elder brother went to Summerhill (1971-1975 ish)... then I became a pupil at Summerhill (1975-1982). I met my wife at Summerhill who was also a pupil. Our two kids went to Summerhill (2001-2008 ish). My wife's two brothers were also boarders at Summerhill. No words can replace the trust you give to a school by sending your own children there.

Raffaela Ranieri

Hi my name is Raffaela. I read the book "The Happy Boys of Summerhill" and I realized that someone before me had put into practice a way to raise happy children and allow them to manifest their potential. In 2011, I went to Ethiopia and shared, with children in difficulty, the project written by me in 1982, where I declared that play and creativity allow the child to grow with healthy and happy life prospects. I'd like to meet you and enjoy the pleasure of witnessing the joy of the children.

rawitschp

I recently retired after teaching public school for 42 years. Reading the book, Summerhill, inspired me to become a teacher.

Woodwork/Metalwork

For nearly one hundred years the Summerhill Woodwork/Metalwork have provided a space where children of all ages can create, learn, listen, laugh, build or just be...

Renee Sandler

I worked at Summerhill as a houseparent in the late 1980s. The experience of seeing how freedom and democracy worked for children changed my life and led to a career working in democratic schools and then becoming a psychotherapist. I am now working on a PhD in Social Justice Education that explores the idea of decolonizing education in government schools in South Africa (where I am from) through democratic schooling. I am looking forward to attending the 100th birthday celebration next year.

Robin Catchpole

My dad went to Summerhill, I realise a little more every day how important this is to me. Xxx

sue clutterbuck

Hi All, hard to remember back, but all our kids ended up at Summerhill and I was a parent there for about 15 years +? As a family we were very much involved with the big political time of Ofsted protest and the whole taking the Dept. of Education to court for our rights to be upheld and respected. Massive issues here and memories of children sitting all over the courtroom, on the floor, benches and the judges seats being taken over by Summerhill Big Kids. Big learnings around sharing parenting with the school in a dynamic and opening way. Like swimming naked in the pool and always staying afloat, no matter what was thrown at the school, our kids and us parents. Have now lived for 18 years in another community in the north of Scotland, Findhorn. Looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating how deep and honest human beings can be with each other.

Sebastian Roberts

I was a student back at Summerhill 8 years ago, if it wasn't for Henry I would never have pursued my now 4 year career within the Music Industry which developed into being an Events Photographer 2 years ago. I owe all of my creativie achievements over the past few years to being at Summerhill. Hope to go back one day.

Šárka Preislerová

I have started my studies pedagogy in 2016. I am almost 50 🙂

Song

I am the mother of two children. I have read many books in the process of raising children. I have read "Summerhill School" and "Graduate of Summerhill School" twice. Summerhill's Approach, including social & emotional development, the meeting and laws, play, community life, learning, is attract me deeply. I see that children are born to be good. The learning effect based on internal driving force is very different from the learning effect instilled by parents. Children’s creativity is far beyond our imagination, as long as we believe in them, they have the ability to manage themselves well. I am happy to learn that on the 100th anniversary of Summerhill School, they envisage to accommodate a variety of educational programmes, courses, events, research projects and other activities offering an in-depth understanding of the Summerhill values in relation to education, community and humanity.

Sviatoslav Viktorenko

Hi there! I am the founder of a democratic school in Ukraine. I became acquainted with the Neill's ideas in 2016. They've inspired me so much that we've opened our own school soon, based on the principles of humanism and the principles of Summerhill. I am glad to be in a wonderful community!

Svoures

We are Svoures, a team of educators, actors and professionals specialising in drama and music education and our team was founded during our studies in Lakis Kouretzis' model on Theater Pedagogy. We are committed to promoting the importance of play, freedom of expression, experiential learning, social dynamics and equality as essential means of exploring and understanding ourselves and the world. We design and deliver interactive performances, theatre game and outdoor education programmes for schools, clubs, and art institutions. We have all been inspired by A.S.Neil’s philosophy in many different stages of our personal and professional development and we have been incorporating his ideas on democracy and creativity into our practice. We are so delighted that we had the opportunity to visit Summerhill, submerge ourselves in its daily life, collaborate with Summerhill pupils and experience the wonders of ‘freedom not license’ within this caring community. We keep these memories alive until we meet again! Lots of love, Svoures

Silas Szalai

age 13 i stumbled over neill's book ~ a radical approach in our family library. suprisingly it reflected and gave the way my dad, who was a teacher aswell, raised me a name A.S.Neill. summerhill became my vision of how i thought and dreamed a school should and can be. inspired by that i became an early childhood educator which for me is my passion and a way to transmit and implement neills ideas and methods of his educational approach. neills ideas and his philosophy of a free and individual development is the essence of a natural, healthy and positiv childhood. giving children the possibility and the right to make their own choices and to live in a community that does not evaluate but value each other. equality and love ~ sharing and caring my deep admiration and gratefulness goes out to A.S.Neill aswell to all summerhill family members and friends for 100 years. to another 100 years 🌸🌸🌸🌸 love is the law

Szilvia Kékesi

I became a member of Summerhill School's community in the autumn of 2012. I have been teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL) here ever since. I love working here and I am always eager to get my teeth into new projects that promote Summerhill values and A.S.Neill's educational philosophy, like the Summerhill Experience event of 2019, the Summerhill Newsletter or this very website. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cycling, basket weaving, sewing and gardening.

Taline Schubach

The first time I heard about Summerhill was in Brazil (I’m from Rio), almost 20 years ago when I was part of a Reichian child care study group. (Reich borrowed from Neill the core concept of self-regulation.) Years later, in Spain, I returned to studying neurosis prevention in children from a Reichian perspective and the letters exchanged between Reich and Neill were part of our readings. I also read “Summerhill” (1963) and at that time and visited a Spanish school based on Summerhill’s ideals. What I’ve read and what I saw at that school in Spain made such a sense than from that I managed to move to UK just to be closer to Summerhill. I had to see for myself how this school was up close ! Than last year, recently arrived to UK, I had the pleasure to live the Summerhill Experience... and I am totally in love. So when I’ll have children (one day, I am not a mother yet), they could be raised in freedom, with respect and being part a amazing community. For me it is just magical to be part of this 100 years celebrations! I hardly believe I’m here!

Thomas=Sudbury

The bright highlight of my life ~ was my 4 months as a paid staff-person at a Sudbury-Model School. To participate and witness in action all the daily celebrations of freedom -- for our small group of "young citizens" -- what an ultimate confirmation of true benefits of self-leadership within our self-regulated society of learning! Thanks to the efforts of A.S Neill and so many others at Summerhill -- 'tis such a heart-warming sense of relief -- to know that "freedom and democracy in learning" can work, and for such a long time! Yay!

Thomas William Fleischer

Well well well, what to say. I am Thomas, also known as the boy who broke a toilet in the house, along with certain cheeky comrades, and flooded the beaston. We were all fools once, fortunately I have not gotten any smarter 🙂 I grew up at Summerhill from 2008 until 2012. Looking back at Summerhill, I really know why it is one of the defining moments in my life. Having lived in many countries, I have been privileged to see the many ways in which human organise themselves, all with their own merits and drawbacks. But Summerhill presents, subjectively, an ideal. I believe that humans very much want to identify with, and belong to ... something, be it a nation, a religion, a socio-economic class or just a good group of friends. And Summerhill takes this, in my opinion, as a base. We are a collective of amazing individuals, but a collective nonetheless. All are important and all must be heard, and even if their wish isnt't fulfilled by the community meeting, they have been heard and understood. We also move as fast as the slowest member, even as we try to bring them up to speed. In my time, screening laws changed very often. When an upward trend occured where too many were sitting indoors gaming all day, as a community we decided to limit gaming screen time, annoying those who had not abused but were now subject to the new law. In time, a shift occurred and it was safe to remove the law as we were all on the same level. A bit banal of an example, I know. This idea of collective responsibility has very much affected me since then. Thanks to Summerhill, I knew that I would not have to hurry to find my way of life, better a happy bum than a regretful student. Finally, I decided on university. Herein I occupy myself a lot with thoughts on how human should organise themselves. Much of my views have been shaped by the way that Summerhill has socialised us. I now study a course that deals very much with human interactions, both among one another, but also with the bigger contentious politico-economic movements that divide the visions we have in organising themselves. I love life, and I love how I have grown as a person, and I will forever be grateful that Summerhill helped build the base upon which this happiness has evolved.

Theomai & Dro

We are the Panhellenic Alumni Association of Lakis Kouretzis’ model on Theatre Pedagogy. We employ a method which bears strong resemblance to the philosophical approach of Summerhill, congruent to the new techniques of expression and creation. Lakis Kouretzis’ model acts as a playful means of deepening into the very cause of existence and art. Particularly in the Art of Theatre, a very complex, social, and deeply educational form of art. It is based on the needs and interests of children, as it addresses the child’s nature that is hidden within each student. During the teaching process, it contitutes a kind of ‘’inter-lesson’’. No matter where it is applied (educational, cultural, or artistic venues), when applied, this method becomes a place where each and every child can reconstruct everyday life, thus making palpable and visible what lies hidden and invisible. The child can subsequently feel what Aristotle calls ‘’delight of pleasure and delight of knowledge’’. It becomes a place for dreams, imagination, emotions, freedom, initiative, joy and pleasure. A place much like Summerhill school, which we would gladly visit and get to know up close. It would be an experience that could greatly contribute to our enlivenment, as well as awareness on issues related to Modern Pedagogical Perceptions.

Mario Cantinelli

1955/56 school year. This, probably the most important year in my life, shaped my whole outlook and inspired my career as a teacher.

Tom Fischer

After finishing school in Germany in 2012, I did a 4 week internship at Summerhill in early 2013. I studied to become a maths and german teacher afterwards and am now in the last part of my teacher training at a new Montessori school in Potsdam, Germany. My time at Summerhill has had a massive impact on my pedagogical beliefs and my views regarding how school, learning and teaching should be. I will never forget those 4 happy and exciting weeks in Leiston, the pupils and teachers I've met, the school newspaper we produced and the circus show we put on. Thank you for everything! :)

Tunde Toth

Hello! I’m a special needs educator, therapist and a mum of two lovely girls who have been at SH since 2016. For long SH was for us something too faraway, too expensive, too unreachable, mainly just a dream.... And is it in good stories ends, dreams come true! It had came to a point when we had to escape from our education system and find the best place for our daughters. Summerhill has changed our life! I would wish to have this experience to as much children as much it is possible!

yaacov hecht

Yaacov Hecht

nzer

I was a student,in the early 1970's for a year ( I was 12 / 13 at the time).. Interviewed by Ena but I also remember I spoke with AS ( he was in a wheel chair at the time ). I was accepted because I was the only person from NZ to apply at the time. I remember the older boys lived in the carriages. I got to hear a lot of music, the school meetings..going to & not going to classs , making banger rocketts, bike rides thru the countryside .......but I think the greatest thing that I think I carry with me is that its ok to be & to think differently. long before Apple Ads.

Our interactive map above, shows just how big Summerhill’s wider community really is. Here, you can find our Friends and see the amazing projects which are happening all around the world in order to celebrate Summerhill’s 100th Birthday. The black blobs show our Friends and the orange ones show their projects.

We encourage you to register yourself on our website and become a Friend of Summerhill, by sharing your own story of how you heard about or got inspired by Neill and Summerhill. Once you are a Friend, you can leave comments on the website and you are welcome to introduce a new project that celebrates Summerhill’s centenary in your corner of the world.

Also, we have set up the below Facebook group as an extension of this website so please join us there too.

Friends

Wiktoria Szmyt-Ligocka

Simple human being which has been a part of Summerhill for 7 years. This place has helped me figure out who I am, and realise my love for art, music and brownies. Yes.

Aleksander Jakopič

I was studing Neill while in the womb and I used many years to finaly found Him on Earth, so I translated all His teoretic works in Slovene 🙂 In my heart I'm an old Summerhillian.

Ann Qiu

WEBSITE

When I studied the education courses in the British universities, I didn't hear about Neil and Summerhill at all. But, when I continue exploring how to build a healthy information society, Neil and his pioneering working is a shining beacon light to my working in China. iSkool as an ambassador of this international community will supportively organize local activities to make people know A.S.Neil as well as the achievement of Summerhill in 100 years.

Abigail Higgleton

I first came across A.S.Neill’s ideas as an undergrad studying Psychology at the University of Sussex. It was such a relief to read about Summerhill, the philosophy made complete sense to me; I felt the combination of reassurance and inspiration that you get when you discover someone else’s well articulated ideas, which you had always felt to be true but hadn't been able to clearly imagine or express them into words. In my early 20s I only knew about Neill’s work from an academic perspective, and hadn’t realised Summerhill was still in existence as a school, let alone somewhere I could potentially work. Luckily in 2016, at a point when I was looking to move away from Brighton and change my life around, I was fortunate enough to find out about a vacancy for a Houseparent. My work up until this point had been a patchwork of pastoral care roles in education, play work and various creative odd jobs, so this opportunity was a perfect fit. I am still a Houseparent at Summerhill (for the ‘House’ boarding area - the infamous gangster age), and I love it very very much. Alongside this role, I have been fortunate enough to try my hand at many other jobs within the school; for a year I was joint Art Teacher with the San Houseparent at the time. For one incredibly intense year I co-lead, what turned out to be, an enormous scale production of the musical Grease. I also still teach Drama, Psychology, Textiles, and run the Sex and Relationships Education workshops. This list only scratches the surface of things I’ve been involved with in my time at the school; it’s easy to be busy all of the time with the huge range of things happening in the community at any one time. I am very grateful for my time at Summerhill, it’s a hugely unique place to work. When I first started at school, I became aware that the job would smash the work/life binary; even when times are intense or stressful, it rarely feels like ‘work’, and when things are going well, days can be full of such variety and fun. As an adult living in the community, I have learnt so much from the kids about how to function and live collectively, I have been challenged to dismantle my ideas around power and authority, and I continue to deepen my understanding of justice, freedom and equality. It’s a privilege to be part of the community living at school, as we approach the celebration of it’s 100th year!

Lijia Jin

Summerhill school is an excelent school with 100 history. It has advenaced educational ideas and teaching methods. So as a teacher , i have a strong dedire to be a member of the big family.

Aditi Chandra

WEBSITE

I am Aditi, founder of Nisaba, an education initiative aimed at empowering children to learn. I strongly believe that every child is naturally curious and eager to learn more about the world. I created Nisaba to give every child the freedom to explore, to question facts and become an active participant in learning. I want each child to discover the magic of science in her own way. To make learning fun. Because it is! What motivates me is the joy on a child’s face as she unravels a new mystery. I want every child to experience this joy. Summerhill and Neill's ideas continue to inspire me and have been a massive influence in both my life and work. One day, I hope to start a school in India where children can be free.

Adrienne Huber

I’ve been involved in democratic education for over 30 in Australia, Brazil & briefly on a visit to Vancouver. I became interested in different approaches to education while I was conducting research in a local primary school about the Hawthorne Effect (think Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’, Pygmalion and Galatea) for my honours in psychology. I knew there had to be something better for my children. I found a democratic school in Canberra, some 5 hours away. That was 1986. We moved there. I went on to complete my PhD ethnography in literacy and learning there and there was no going back. Neill’s books about democratic education and Summerhill we’re seminal readings for my research. I devoured them. Since those days in the 80s & 90s, I’ve started a democratic high school in Perth, Australia, helped start another in Brazil & been Principal of yet another... and much more! I’ve been a member of the Executive of The Australasian Democratic Education Community (ADEC) since it started in 2001. I manage our ADEC Facebook page & co moderate our FB Forum.

Alexander Khost

WEBSITE

My father handed me a copy of _Summerhill, A Radical Approach to Child Rearing_ when I was sixteen. Twenty-nine years later my own three children all lead self-directed lives, I am the editor of a magazine about Self-Directed Education, I work at an unschooling center... in short, Alexander Sutherland Neill and Summerhill (and my father for having given me the book) have entirely and wonderfully altered the path and passion of my life and the lives of those around me.

Alex

I'm the art teacher at Summerhill, possibly the best job in the world! The Summerhill seed was planted in my mind when I first read some of Neill's work as a teenager (a teenager who hated school) and to me it sounded just wonderful. The initial Summerhill seed has stated to grow as I took up the position of art teacher two years ago - and its been brilliant! Prior to Summerhill I was an artist and curator, I studied BA Art and Philosophy and MA Curating Contemporary Art and worked on projects around the UK. I then began teaching, initially in a state school, then a Waldorf school and now a democratic school.

Alex Farcet

Summerhill changed everything, there was a huge difference in my life before and after. Responsibility, freedom, creativity, community, friendship, all this between the ages of 11 and 14. I tell people I dropped out of school and climbed trees for two years, then I decided I should go to class. What an awesome level of freedom and responsibility at such an age, although why should that be so unusal?

Alina Gentimir

I've just watched Summerhill movie exactly in a day with a lot of discussions to my job(Alexandru Ioan Cuza University) about my students' evalations after pandemic crisis. Always have tried to cultivate freedom in my boy and my students' minds, to help them to find themselves and to grow everyone in his/her rhythm. Over the years of teathing human rights I have tried to change the mentality and the system....in order to avoid so many broken spirits between young people. I am convinced that everyone has a special potential and this one will assure individual and collective success.

Ally Kessler

I'm an ex-Summerhillian and am eternally grateful for the years I spent there, and how they influenced and supported me throughout my life. The principles of allowing children to become themselves unencumbered by parental anxiety were very important to me as a parent, and the space for freedom of thought and creativity also influences my work as a psychotherapist. It was great to discover Neill's connections with psychoanalysis in later years.

Amukta Mahapatra

WEBSITE

It was heart-wrenching when I first read A.S Neill's book, when I was 19 yrs old! I wished that I was many years younger to have been able to be in such a school as a student. The freedom of it, the mind-space it offered enchanted me. I had done the Montessori course for 3 to 6 yrs by then and I felt that the next step for education was to bring these together... And I heard about democratic schools, when I was 45 yrs old! In between all those years, incorporated these ideas into my work, wherever I was. In the new Krishnamurti School set up in Madras, where I began my work as a teacher, after being a volunteer in a village Montessori school in Tamil Nadu. In the school for working children children of fisher folk; and resource centre that I set up for teachers working in non-formal alternative schools and NGO. Andelsewhere too. Again, when I joined David Horsburgh, an Englishman, running a school and teacher training programme (Neel Bagh) in rural India near Bangalore, A.S Neill's books were part of our study as David too was influenced by him. The ideas that struck me then and stay with me till now are - the total trust in children; seeing them as autonomous, capable beings and the careful lightness of the adult in the community.

Hebden Bridge Learning Community

WEBSITE

We are a Democratic Learning Community in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. We offer a one, two or three-days a week of learning together. Our students choose how many days they come to learn with us. We keep learning interesting through yoga and meditation, democratic decision making and cross-subject learning. Small class sizes, never more than 12, enable closer teacher-student relationships. For us the “classroom” is an exciting learning place which also includes the natural world. We have excellent teachers who are always learning how to develop a creative environment which balances self-directed and group-directed learning. Summerhill has always been there as an amazing beacon of possibility. If a democratic school can start up in 1921 and still be going, it means that democratic education is valued and wanted by the world. Even though we started our school without ever visitng Summerhill or speaking to anybody there, just the fact of its very existance was an inspiration. A standard bearer which has witheld the onslaughts of Ofsted misfortune to keep a candle of hope burning for so many generations. It's extraordinary that it is about to celebrate 100 years of life, all of us in Democratic Education all over the workld have been touched in some way by the words and deeds of A. S. Neil, and long may that continue.

Cammie Justus-Smith

WEBSITE

I was a traditional educator in the US for several years before I discovered Summerhill and Self-Directed Education. I have helped open two schools in Texas based on these ideas and am raising my own young son to have agency and self-determination. A.S. Neill's Summerhill has driven me to try new things and push my own boundaries. I am incredibly excited about the idea of celebrating 100 years of his ideas.

Charlotte “Candy” Landvoigt

WEBSITE

I read Neill’s famous book when I was a Junior in College. I can still remember vividly where I was sitting as I read the life changing words. My husband and I later travelled to Summerhill in 1969. In 1981 we founded The Highland School, a democratic school inspired by Neill’s work. Over the years, in addition to working at our school, I became a play therapist in private practice. Through nondirective play therapy, I watched children bravely overcome many difficult problems on their own. After several years, one of our school staff learned about Sudbury Valley School and our entire school included many principles of the Sudbury philosophy - especially all democracy all the time. We decided to become an international boarding school with our own dormitory in 2004. I read Neill’s Summerhill again for more inspiration. I also studied John Dewey for my doctoral degree and wrote a dissertation on his concept of the child. Coincidentally, I first learned of Dewey from a Science teacher at Summerhill when we visited in 1969. Years later, his advice to trust children’s experience was fundamental in creating our school. Today we are unable to have our school due to Covid 19. We plan to reopen in the fall (2020) if the law allows. I have written a book about children’s rights and fully democratic schools that rests on the writing of A.S. Neill, John Dewey, Dan Greenberg, Paulo Freire and Virginia Mae Axline. It also leans heavily on my experiences over 40 years with children and members of The Highland School. My path through all the adventures in these years began with Neill’s Summerhill. His example and, in recent years Zoe Redhead’s practical vision for Summerhill, have enriched my journey in democratic education.

Catherine Silvestre

WEBSITE

I've created a democratic school :)

Cecelia Bradley

WEBSITE

Many new ideas and dreams were part of the late 60s when I began my adult journey in education and A.S.Neill's writings and Summerhill were very influential and inspiring.At the same time Currambena was beginning it life aspiring to a place where children could "...grow in freedom. The bestowal of freedom is the bestowal of love." When I was finally able to be part of the Currambena Community, the 'happy place' that was itself inspired by Summerhill I experienced this every day. As part of the Australasian Democratic Education Community I have been able to continue my connections with this family.

ERRIETA CHAIDEFTOU

i read neils books when i was 13 and since he has beeen my hero. Dy dream was when i was a kid to .visit Summerhill.Thousand years later been a mother now Iam very greatfull that Summerhill exists and Iam very proud that one day soon I can show the school to my dauther

Chris Fitzgerald

My son was fortunate to have spent seven years at Summerhill. As a parent, I have fond memories of the staff, the house parents and kids, the parents summer camp, organising term-time parcels from home and the many enthusiastic updates about the adventures he had.

Christiana Moschou

I was born and raised in Athens, where I received formation on theatre and psychology and participated in various theatrical groups and projects about conflict resolution through art and awareness raising. My master’s degree is in Psychopedagogy and my PhD dissertation is on Democratic Education through Social Theatre. Summerhill is a great inspiration and has proven democratic education to be a utopia that came true.

Cecile Krogscheepers

We watched the movie Summerhill and that inspired us a lot. We were homeschooling at the time and then started unschooling. It is 3 years later now and we are involved in starting a self-directed learning centre in Cape Town.

Zachary Bastiani

It’s inspired me to be free and helped me to enjoy having a better life

Dennis Kelly

I have re-read Summerhill several times. It has changed the way I live my life. After finishing compulsory education (through college), I followed my love of theatre and acting. I have been acting for 10 years. I study the principles of freedom (non-compulsion) through the healing approach of Interpersonal Neurobiology. The embodied perspective shares much with Summerhill. I wish I had attended the school! Thank you.

Derry Hannam

Neil and Summerhill have been the central inspiration of my life's work as a teacher and educational reformer - and still are!!

Diana de Horna

WEBSITE

I read "Summerhill" shortly after my daughter was born, eight years ago. Neill's truth and his passion were eye-opening, and I still remember the impact some of his words had on me, both emotionally and intellectually. They moved me to rethink my own childhood and to embark on a journey which continues to this day. Since then, my partner and I have been able to travel around many countries with our daughter in order to visit other democratic schools; to publish Peter Grays' "Free to Learn" in Spanish; to produce a documentary film (featuring Summerhill of course, among other schools) which will be ready this year... and we are now on our way to creating a democratic school in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) which will launch in 2020, just on time for the Centenary celebrations. I couldn't thank A.S. Neill enough for how his work has changed my life. Congratulations, Neill, congratulations Summerhill! And may your dream and your passion live on.

MARO TZOUMERKIOTI

WEBSITE

Greek association about democratic education and emancipatory pedagoge. We are fighting for the right of all children to a happy and creative childhood. Our dream is that one day we can establish democratic schools in our country.

Effie Latifi

I am a mother of two boys aged 11 and 5 and we live in Athens, Greece. Seeing the devastating effects that the typical educational system can have to children leading them to lose any interest on learning or at the other extreme making them grade and success hunters while compromising their natural curiosity and inclinations made me look for different approaches to education. The forest school Pefkites in Athens introduced me to the Summerhill ideas and now the more I read about Summerhill the more I realise that this is the kind of education children throughout the world need and deserve. Democratic practices and an environment that allows the children to unfold their personalities and experiment with their creativity is in my opinion the healthiest base that ensures that children will live their childhood while learning and thus will become openminded and full of empathy adults. I am inspired to look for like minded parents and educators in Greece to see if we can make a school based on the Summerhill principles. I strongly believe that the Summerhill approach should be widespread. As a mom I am doing my best to trasmit these principles to my sons and hopefully inspire them.

Emilie Gonzalez

Hello! Just finished reading "Summerhill Hoy" (in spanish) by Zoe Neill. Im a bilingual preschool teacher from a small country called Costa Rica. I try to be a very open minded and flexible teacher, working a lot with nature and open materials. Your school seems like paradise, so i want to research more about it! Im impressed that is an old school, it seems just perfect for nowadays.

Erwan Lelièvre

I discovered A.S. Neill and Summerhill long before my studies to become a primary school teacher. Since then, I have been interested by educators as Freinet, Cousinet, Oury, Freire and many others with who i share points of views. However, I must say that Neill's thoughts on education have been (and still are) the most important in my construction both as a teacher and a human being. Very often (should i say daily?), I refer to or think about Neill in my teaching practice (most of the time, in the way i interfere with pupils). I have the chance to work in a little school (60 pupils) with colleagues with the same vision of the world and it is obvious that Neill, among others educators, takes his part in the way we are running the school with pupils and adults working with us.

Erwin García

WEBSITE

Summerhill and A.S.Neill's ideas have inspired me to know and work more on self-organization of learning and self-directed education.

Emanuele Santanche

WEBSITE

Certainly Summerhill changed my life. I discovered it reading one of Anthony De Mello's books. He recommended to read Summerhill, the book, paying more attention than we would reading the Bible. He was right. I also read a lot of books by Erich Fromm, the Prophet of Love. He praises Neill and his intuition that freedom is how you make children happy and cure Humanity's problems. Wars, conflicts, crime and obsessions originate from unhappiness. Neill's ideas helped me build my website about teenage depression. Thanks to Neill I now understand that freedom is one of the best antidepressants in the world. That Summerihill survived the attacks our profoundly sick society launched against it gives me hope that we may make it. I wish Summerhill to survive and thrive for another century and way more.

Esther

My German school teacher told me to do a presentation on Summerhill School when I was 16 years old. He said I would probably quite like their Philosophy. He knew me better then I thought. I absolutely love it and Summerhill influenced my way of thinking about education ever since. I started working at Summerhill in the year 2000 as a German teacher and Class 1 assistant, later also taught English as a Foreign Language and now I'm the Shack Houseparent and a passionate gardener. I always enjoy some art and craft projects and cooking with the younger kids. And I guess with them I'm best known as the one who opens and cleans the pool.

Evangelos Vlachakis

WEBSITE

I am passionate about the arts, nature and the physical environment in the context of democratic education. I believe in the balance of human intervention with the natural habitat. I consider myself an enthusiastic and knowledgeable naturalist keen to develop biodiversity. I am a long term enthusiast and keen researcher of natural learning and self directed education.I like to combine my skills in media with my practical life skills in order to inform my diverse background and share my knowledge. I care for the holistic well being. In this respect A.S. Neill's ideas have been inspirational and following Summerhill as a sustainable model is of prime importance to my work as an educational freedom activist.

Peter Foti

WEBSITE

I have read most of the books of Neill, was very much influenced by him. Later on I think he was a romantic, in some ways irresponsible. Still like the idea of limited self government, the joint meetings where pupils and staff has equal rights.

Francesco Codello

I have been an educator my whole life, Summerhill and A.S. Neill’s have been a constant inspiration to work towards compulsory mis-education.

Georgios Kollias

WEBSITE

I studied as a teacher in Greece. During my master studies one professor talked to us as students about Summerhill and Neill with not so good words condemning the school for a non-limit freedom that was provided to the students of the school. Almost 3 years after that and after two years of working at schools of Greece I was full disappointed from the School Reality and I was searching for a dream... for a pedagogical dream. So, one summer of school holidays I started to read a Greek Book with the title ''I love what I understand'' from the Greek Author Margarita Konstantinidou. This pedagogical book among the matters that it was discussing into his context it was having too many references on Neill's attitudes and opinions and at the bibliography there was a Greek translation of the Neill's book with the title: Summerhill - The school of freedom. I bought this book immediately and I read it in 2 hours. After that, I bought all the Greek translations of Neill's books and I couldn't stop to realizes every word of these books. My life changed after that. I tried to use the philosophy of Neill in education within my job as a teacher and I saw with my own eyes tremendous results in the relationship with my students. So, the final step was for me to visit Summerhill and Zoe Redhead some years ago. It was for me so spiritual procedure all this journey from Greece to Suffolk. I have to admit that ought to Neill my existence as a teacher and I am so grateful for his donation to the child and the humanity in general.

Gerardo Mejia

When my first son was born I was talking With a friend and I said, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make a lot of money for my children, I hope I’ll be able to give them the best educación but most of all... I would like to procure self estime for them. He asked me. Have you heard of Summerhill?

ASSOCIAZIONE GORILLA

WEBSITE

Inspired by the experience of Summerhill and by A.S. Neill literature, we, educators, specialists and friends, founded Associazione Gorilla with the aim to offer children and teens the opportunity to experience Freedom through self-government. We are based in Rome and the revolutionary impulse of Summerhill reaches us vigorously!

Gözde Atalay Kokkoris

I am a creative drama and physical theater teacher as well as a performer. I've been working in different schools and projects with children, teens and adults since 2004. I've been always interested and fascinated with the unpredictable 'nature' of human beings, the life surprises and the beauty of the differences. So I've made a research and I've started to work with the creative potentials of our untamed parts, the power of mistakes and the illusions of failure. A vast field of discovering new tools for the evolution of education. I've heard beautiful comments about Summerhill School from different students who participated in my pedagogy workshops '' Creative Potential of Failure''. They were sharing their experiences from Summerhill School projects or gatherings. So I am very curious and interest for this beautiful community.

Gustavo Mejia

I got to know about Summerhill through my sister Montse and fell in love with the system and immediately wished I had studied there. Now I can take a different approach to my life overall through what I have learned with her being at the school.

Haimei Zhang

The reason why I came to Japan is because of a book called 'The Little Girl at the Window' by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. This book tells the story of a little girl and her super wonderful school. I was attracted to this school and later discovered that the prototype of this school was Summerhill school. For various reasons, instead of going to the UK, I came to Japan to study. Because of the story of Summerhill school and Neill, my life has changed dramatically. I have gained a freer and wider world. It is still the most perfect school in my heart, and I am looking forward to the day when I can walk into it with my full story. <3

Hank Khost

Around 1990 I gave my then 15 year old son, Alex, a copy of A.S. Neill's book, Summerhill. He devoured it, loved it, internalized it, and it determined the course of his life. Since then, Alex has: founded a democratic school (The Teddy McArdle School), lectured on education and child rearing in far-flung places such as Turkey, become a factor in the American ASDE (Alliance for Self Directed Education) editing their Tipping Points Magazine, co-founded the kids run "play:groundNY",and now teaches at New York's Brooklyn Apple Academy. Alex also visited The Summerhill School a few years ago and had a great time interacting with the students and staff.

Wai Lok Ng

I wish children are left to play and choose their own paths instead of being forced to a spoon-fed education that doesn't even connect with the modern world. And I am surprised the first day I learned about Summerhill. The educational ideas are revolutionary but yet traditional, returning to the person for their education. I hope to promote these ideas and assist in the revolution of education to be more democratic and person-centred.

Helena Singer

I have been mapping and connecting innovative, democratic, holistic, changemaker schools in Brazil and with their peers in the world since 1993, when I took part in an international meeting at Summerhill.

Henry Readhead

Hey everyone I am a grand son of A.S.Neill. I am presently a member of the management team at Summerhill along with my mother Zoe and brother Will. I was a pupil at Summerhill for all my younger years and ran the music department there from 2002 to 2012.

I get invited all around the world to do talks about Summerhill and A.S.Neill's ideas of education and this is the area of most interest to me. The sharing of Summerhill experiences and supporting others to implement our methods or by supporting them with theirs. In it's most simple form, Summerhill represents a very pure, natural and individualised childhood, allowing children to develop at their own pace and find their own interests, ambitions and life path. But these methods aren't as simple as giving freedom, although the fundamental goal is to create a system that allows children to be safe and free, and to remove all expectation.

I have visited lots of amazing places, met inspiring people doing wonderful things in education and for me it strengthened the fact that A.S.Neill's values of education need to be implemented across education globally for a more humane and sustainable world.

Wiebke Winkelmann

WEBSITE

In my study to become a teacher i read A.S. Neills book and knew that i will not work in a regular school until my workingtime-end, so i´m a teacher at democratic schools now for a long time. I trust in a childs self-directed learning, in freedom and change of the whole world into a better place with democratic education.

Sara Hunjak

How I am studying educational sciences, it was impossible to avoid Summerhill school. Ever since my first paper about Summerhill, I knew that democratic education is the only type of education I will ever be interested about. Following Summerhill's philosophy, I'm allowing and letting people around me to do freely whatever they want to, as long as it's not hurting me.

Hildebrand Weisenborn

I was a student at Summerhill. Needless to say Summerhill has had a profound effect on my life and I still think back on my time at Summerhill very fondly. Beyond helping me find myself and find my passions in life, I think Summerhill has made me a kinder, more understanding person towards those around me. Summerhill has helped me gain a foundational understanding of who I am that has helped me more than any set of regular school lessons could have helped me - for which I am grateful.

IAN CUNNINGHAM

WEBSITE

The report of the alternative inspection of Summerhill that we did for the court case sums up a great deal of why our group wanted Summerhill to win its case. The school has been an important symbol of how the state schooling system has failed to provide the freedom that young people need - and that we shouldn't be afraid to support the freedom of young people to learn whatever they wanted in any way they wanted.

Ian Lambden

I'm lucky to have been a student at Summerhill from 1988 to 1994. Summerhill has a huge (I think positive) impact on how I live my life. This is especially true at the moment as I have a three year old boy and he will be starting school in September. I try to give him as much freedom as is possible for a thee year old and his upbringing will be greatly influenced by my time at Summerhill.

Iris Smith

A student from Summerhill School. I love climbing trees, drawing and animals.

Isabel Fleischer

I was a pupil at Summerhill School for 7 years, and I say this (having left 6 years ago) that those years of my life will forever be the best. A.S. Neill's philosophy not only resonated with me as a student, but gave me the tools to be a functioning person in "the real world". Growing up there gave me a unique childhood that I will never take for granted. I wish to become a teacher for a few years of my life, and in those years I will definitely employ the values, ideas and techniques Summerhill taught me. The lessons I learned there are not only invaluable, but will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Jake Russell

WEBSITE

I was a Summerhill kid from 2001 to 2005. I had a hard time in French schools, having difficulties following society's rhythm. In Summerhill I could live with my own rhythm and that is what I loved about that school.

Jakub Václavovic

WEBSITE

I've visited Summerhill in summer 2019. I value this experience a lot and was inspired tremendously by that.

Jay

I never know how to start presenting myself! Although I do not seem shy to many, I can be quite shy... This is Jay, I'm from Brazil but living in Europe since 2007; the first 8 years I was in London, and now I'm in Sandnes, Norway. In 2016 I started a part-time Master Program in Educational Research through Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo (I am not a Steiner teacher, my background in teaching before starting the Master had been in the sport of judo). During the master program, I was given a paper to read and had to prepare a lecture to my fellow students (Saffange, 2000). The paper is all about Neill! Feeling that I would be a failure to lecture about A.S. Neill without touching down at Summerhill ( I still feel I know nothing about 'this man'), I flew from Norway to England for a day visit. The game changed completely: instead of writing my thesis on a Sports' topic, my topic surrounds Democratic Education; my research questions were inspired by a boy (not sure if I can mention his name here) who was playing in the sandbox at Summerhill during that first visit. My second visit was during the 'Summerhill Experience' in 2019, where many enthusiasts like me gathered together to live as a Summerhillian for 5 days. I have said this before and I'll repeat it here: for me, going to Summerhill is like going home; a home that every child has the rights to have . Since then, I have met many wonderful people who are genuinely fighting for the rights of children to be agents of their own lives from young age: citizens of today, not citizens in construction. So I will always be thankful for having met Neill, Summerhill, and everyone who carries the legacy ahead to remind us what is possible (and impossible!). P.s.: In the picture, I am Chaplin (I got very happy when I discovered that Neill was a fan of Chaplin too, so thought it to be a nice profile pic to have!)

Joana Karolina de Alencar Bezerra

Olá, sou brasileira,estudo Pedagogia. Através de um trabalho da faculdade sobre Carl Rogers, pude conhecer as ideias da Summerhill. Acredito que não cabe mais uma educação autoritária, que faz morrer a criatividade das crianças, tornando-os adultos infelizes .

JoanB

I first read about Summerhill when I was training to be a teacher and was immediately captivated by Neill's ideas. It would be true to say that all my dealings with children since those early days have been informed and influenced by Neill's perspective. I was delighted to discover in 2016 that the school was still operating and required an English teacher; I am still here.

Joanne Vella

Summerhill was in my dreams before I got to know it existed. I heard about summerhill during a lecture and had to Google for more information. When I was among those who visited for the Summerhill experience I totally felt st home. This was the space I always dreamed of and it has been there for almost 100 years. SUMMERHILL is proof that we can work against systems and give better environments where children experience a beautiful childhood and learn life. Since then I ve been reading A.S. Neill and am more motivated to have these dream of mine come through even if its in small doses.

Joann Shen

I grew up in an alternative school in Taiwan. We participate in IDEC every year to get to know democratic schools around the world, and bring back our learning experience to share!

John Walmsley

WEBSITE

I feel like an honorary Summerhillian. In 1968, a student photographer at Art School, I heard of Summerhill and, with Neill's permission, came and took the photos which became the basis for my book, 'Neill & Summerhill: a man and his work', a Penguin Education Special with a text by Leila Berg (Abe Books might have used copies if you'd like one). A copy can be viewed in the National Art Library at the V&A Museum, London. Those photos and others from 2010 and 2011 are all on my website listed above. Please go have a look but please, please do not make copies or post them to social media. Since then, I've been a part-time lecturer at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, lived in an Arts Centre with many other artists, run projects in schools and supplied photos to 1,000+ books worldwide. One photo of Neill is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. My biggest memory of the school is feeling at home right away.

Jostein strömmen

I found As neill book about summerhill stored away in the basement magazine at the teacher programs library in Bergen, Norway in 1998. I had heard about the book, which I thought at the time before reading it was a fiction, a novel that had inspired many hippies in the 60s. It was a shock to me that the book was about a real school, that it was not a fiction, and to fiend out that the school still existed. The book is without a doubt the book I have read that has had the biggest impact on my life. It was off to the inspiration when we started a democratic school in Oslo in 2004. Since I have read all off Neills books on education, the most fun is the oldest "a teachers logbook" from 1914. I have also been incredibly lucky to visit Summerhill a number of times, it has been a wonderful experience and a great awakening. "This is also how a school could be" It gave me tears in my eyes the first time I was there. It has since that been the biggest inspiration for me to work in schools and as a teacher. A true guide line. This until today where I work at Solvik in Järna at a school that has a lot of similarities to Summerhill when it comes to the feeling / atmosphere on the place. I am forever grateful for the influence Summerhill has had and still has in my Life, and that in so many more areas than this little text can tell about. A million thanks to Summerhill and good luck with the 100th birthday next year. all the best from Jostein streams, Sweden / Norway

Katerina Botvinnik

I'm in the team of Summerhill Fest of Childhood organizers. That's how inspired I am)))

thomas hours

Zoe s asking us to share what Summerhill has brought to us. I will try with humbleness. I'm not neurotic. I haven't done great exams ex Alevel or olevel. I tried to blend in the french education without success. But luckily i'm a civil servant and have lifetime job in the medical research field.I enjoyed playing in the theatre. Boom had nice stories. Playing, sports feeling free.

Miao Chen

WEBSITE

I read the book summerhill school and I visit summerhill at 2019,I love summerhill school

Miao Chen

WEBSITE

I love summerhill

KATERINA KOUTROUPA

i am a teacher of literature in a public school of Greece and Summerhill was the cause of my self- amendment in my teaching practices as to be more considerate to my students.

Karen Whitescarver

I read the book when I was about 9 (in 1978) and thought it was really interesting. My parents thought outside the traditional education box and so we discussed it, but could not afford to send me or my siblings. I found a democratic, self directed education school for myself and my son. I have been at The Highland School in WV, USA for 16 years. I am excited to see Summerhill in 2021!

Klára Koubská

WEBSITE

Summerhill school visiting week was an exciting experience that has changed my perspective of education forever. The concepts of freedom, responsibility, friendship and acceptance are much stronger and more meaningful in Summerhill than wherever else in the educational world. Thank you for being so inspirative!

Lasse Löttgen

I was a student at Summerhill for 10 years from 2006. It has inspired my personal and academic vastly, hopefully my career will take influence from Summerhill too, as I aim to write educational policy one day. Everyday I come to realisations about how my time at Summerhill has helped me to navigate all sorts of relationships and I'll never stop appreciating this.

Lode Van den Broeck

I was a Summerhill child from 1972 to 1975. I never had any contact with the school or its students again until the last reunion several years ago. The latter was a very emotional and healing experience for me. The renewed contact with that lost piece of personal history, and with the people who were part of it, is good for me. Summerhill has had a very decisive influence on my further life; both negative and positive. Cognitively I had to catch up because I didn't learn to read, write or calculate in Summerhill. So I had to make up a lot of damage afterwards. I have felt pretty stupid for many years. That was because in Summerhill I spent most of my time in the woods or in the drawing, painting, carpentry and pottery workshops. The latter has therefore had the positive effect that I seem to have developed a rather extraordinary ability to observe things very thoroughly and to be creative. It has also ensured that I do not have the slightest problem of wandering in the here and now. Fortunately, I was able to solve the backlog and not only did I succeed in architecture studies, now I am also a teacher, full-time researcher and therefore also a writer. In all of that, as well as being a father, regarding the education of my two sons, I think much of the non-conventional I experienced in Summerhil lives on. I hope to be there next year.

Magdalena Sendor

WEBSITE

The Neill's book is a continuing source of inspiration.

Korogonas Ark

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We have been congruently working and researching holistic & experiential learning, for every age, since 2003. Empowering teachers, parents and every person who interacts with children towards honouring global human values, peaceful living, personal awareness, own authentic self, collective well-being has been an important focus of our work. Korogonas Ark is a project/place of community living, holistic learning, peace food & consumption, regeneration of the land, holistic health, creativity, re-connection with the wisdom of life, spirituality, whole living, serving the narrative of the Story of Connection.

Maria Tsouknaki

Its very important what you propose for the education. Love, democracy, freedom of choises, creativity, critical thinking. I work with children for more than 20 years teaching art and creativity and I feel always as a kid, I beleive I can learn a lot from children.

Mariola Łazowy

Hi, I'm an English teacher in Polish state school. I heard about you about 5 years ago and recently I have been reading Neill's book and I'm seeing clearer and clearer how much I have to/ want to change my attitude towards my students, learning-teaching process and my work.Priceless. Invaluable. Thank you:) Best wishes:) Mariola Łazowy

Mark Vaughan

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I was at Summerhill for about 2 years with my two elder brothers in the 1950s; the spirit of the school and Neill's approach to children and to their education has stayed with me all my life, in both a personal and professional capacity. I think Neill, Zoë, and the staff, have made a seminal contribution to the way that adults teach and relate to children; this contribution resonates around the world. In 1972 I was lucky to be able to interview Neill and write about him and Summerhill for three education journals in the UK, the US and Australia. Later in 2006 I edited the Open University Press book on the school and have been secretary of the A.S.Neill Summerhill Trust for 20 years; during this time I have also organised the contracts for overseas publishers to translate and issue Neill's books. I am very happy to be involved in several projects to help celebrate the school's Centenary in 2021.

Martha Neighbors

My 5 years as a Summerhill kid shaped everything about me. To this day (45+ year since I left!), my Summerhill family is the most important to me beyond my husband and children. My time there shaped my ability to adapt to new environments, to refuse to be quiet and accepting, to question, and to not be afraid to move on from situations that don't make me happy. Now I serve on the AS Neill Summerhill Trust, hopefully giving back a tiny speck of what Summerhill has given me. As I sit here in New York City, epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neill's phrase "freedom, not license" resonates more than ever. I hope we can still all see each other at next year's 100th reunion.

Marthese Morris

I am reading the book neil neil orange peel and enjoying every part of it. I think there is a gap between education and schooling.....and in my opinion as a primary school teacher for over 20 years we are disconnected and forgot what child hood is all about. I am aware of the philosophy at summerhill and in my opinion that gap we see in our schools is non existant in yours.

Marthese Morris

A primary school teacher for over 20 years. This spring I read the book neil neil orange peel and loved it. My twin sister Joanne visited summerhill school last summer ..I was suppose to join her but dates collided with family events. I love being a teacher but I see a gap between schooling and education. Sometimes the gap is so big that I question our work day in day out.

Maryna Zozuliak

I am a mom, person, and wife. I am interested about everything in the world, but people (myself and others) - most. I am rebellious by the nature - it must have come from the childhood, but I never asked psychologist about it! Sometimes these features make me extremely effective and driving, and sometimes - just empty. This also pushes me working everywhere and doing everything simultaneously from time to time! Like now. Apart from many other activities and works that I do, I also am the fundraising for the Summerhill festival, and will be happy to have many-many new acquaintances, connections, and friends!

Matthew Appleton

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Ex-houseparent. Now psychotherapist. Time at Summerhill influenced my work now with adults and children.

Mauro Amarillo

Soy docente de Pedagogía Social en el Instituto de Formación en Educación Social de Montevideo, Uruguay. Tomamos a las ideas de AS Neill como precursor de propuestas pedagógicas antiautoritarias y las enseñamos en el Curso de Pedagogía Social 1

Megan Manning

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I went to Summerhill from 1964 - 1974. I grew up at Summerhill so it is hard to say how it changed or shaped me. I'm still figuring that out.

michael collins

I read the book and knew deep inside I had to get to know Summerhill. I was insisting and in the end Zoe accepted that I come and stay at the school for 14 days. These days changed my life in many ways. I got to know the children and the staff at the school and I felt like a part of the family. Thank you so much everyone for inviting you into your life. I am so grateful for everything I could contribute with. The treehut, the playground, the ladder to BIG BEACH. Thank you... I haven´t been back to the school for a while, but you are all with me in my heart. A deep thanks to you Zoe. I have told so many children (and adults) in Denmark about Summerhill and the all want to go. I am sure the story about Summerhill have inspired them on many different levels. I am looking forward to my next visit. I want to go see you all soon. Much love from me.

Mike Weimann

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I visited Summerhill School with a group of children's rights activists (http://kraetzae.de/schule/england/) and as a follow-up to this we later hosted IDEC 2005 in Berlin (http://idec2005.org). We were so happy to have Zoe Readhead there. She then became an important part of our documentary movie "Democratic Schools" (http://democratic-schools.com). These three occasions are only the tip of the iceberg called Summerhill! Without Summerhill my life would have been completely different. (I don't want to imagine!)

Kata Molnar

I'm a Spanish teacher, I've been teaching for more than 20 years now, but I left state schools soon and opted for private teaching and language schools as I've been too free spirited for standard education. I met with Neill's ideas on a University course and since I've had my children I've been looking for an education out of the box for them, something like what Neill did. And it was to my biggest surprise that Neill's school has been there since 1921 as I thought it was some kind of an experiment and ended long ago. So we packed and here we are, all my children getting a Summerhillian education that fits them most, our best decision ever.

Monika Irayati

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A summerhill website page which contains a poem by AS Neil back in 2005 inspired us to question the purpose of our education in general. Because of that we started a children after school activities that evolve into a democratic school in 2012. The school name is Erudio Indonesia. It is located in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since then we have been building network of alternative education all over the country to promote the concept of education that give a child the freedom to be themselves and to define their own purpose of learning and also the freedom to choose their own way of learning. We are also being part of democratic education conference (Asia Pacific and International Democratic Education Conferences) and before the pandemic happened we are scheduled to host the APDEC in 2022.

Montserrat Mejía Ortiz

My name is Montse. I studied pedagogy in Mexico. In university was the first time I heard about A.S. Neill’s philosophy, and I fell in love with it. I’ve been working in Summerhill school since 2015. I started as the house parent in the house (kids 10-12 years old) then move to Class one teacher and house parent in the San (kids 5-8 years old). I love all the positions I worked in with all kids and being part of the community! Now I’m class one teacher!

Montserrat Ortiz

When I was 16 years old, I started questioning the validity of traditional teaching, which was solely focused on the purpose of memorizing data with no meaning to myself. Talking with a teacher I had back then, she recommended me reading the book by A.S. Neill, this book showed me a different way of learning based on my own interest and abilities. Throughout my life I have been teaching in different academic levels from Highschool up to Masters degrees, always applying the methods I learnt form A.S. Neill as much as the system allowed me to, helping the students to discover their own interests. Now I have a daughter teaching at Summerhill, and she has taught me so much more about the method, and I keep adding it to my own way of teaching.

Alder MoonOak

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Read "Summerhill" in the 1980s & raised my 3 sons by its philosophies. Consistently inspiring up to this day.

Michelle Smith

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We are working to emulate summerhill in maputo, mozambique

Mukti Patel

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Prayaas:The Democratic School has been imparting knowledge through A.S. Neill's philosophy of Democratic Education in west part India since June, 2019. We believe in 3 principles of Education: Freedom, Happiness and Values. We are glad to have Henry Redhead as our Advisor for the functioning of the school. We are really happy with our initiative and would always like to learn from the vast experience of Summerhill in the field of Democratic Education. The whole idea of our school is somehow inspired by Summerhill and the environment of the school is very much supportive of democratic way of learning.

nbake

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I am a pubic school teacher of 21 years. I am currently working on my masters of library informational sciences at sjsu, and I am writing a research paper on "radical and critical education communities and their informational needs and behaviors." I think California education, and elsewhere in the states, is heading into a time of fundamental changes. Los Angeles had banned suspensions for student "willful defiance," because it disproportionately punishes marginalized students. The data shows complete success, as of course it would, because there are no more suspensions, and it espouses "restorative justice" as the solution to address behavior problems. However, it is a shell game and the authoritarian control only grows worse, as this new measure has not addressed any of the underlying causes for "willful defiance." I cannot express how excited I am to find your school and website, and to see you are celebrating 100 years of successful education based on democratically aligned principals. It is not just a theory in a scholarly journal, but it lives firmly planted in the past as a model for the future. Wow. So cool. I can’t believe I had no idea this school even existed. Yay MLIS degree!

Nathan Clutterbuck

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Summerhill is the fibre of my being, body and sole. It's a part of every decision I make, every reaction and stretch of love. I wouldn't be Nathan, and people I now call my family, without it.

Neha Singh

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I am the product of a traditional schooling system and my obsession with Neill started during my first primary school teaching job at a very traditional school in India. Since then I have tried to incorporate his ideas in my work and life outside it. The journey led to a MA thesis at University College London and now a PhD at The University of Melbourne—both of which explore democratic schooling empirically.

Michael Newman

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I worked at Summerhill from 1995 as a fulltime science teacher, creating a timetable based on children choosing modules and controlling their academic learning towards GCSEs. I became one of the school's first Curriculum Advisers, along with Ian the Maths teacher. I created and supported the school's children's campaign committee to fight against the Ofsted threat of closure that resulted in the court case in 1999, this group became the External Affairs Committee. I was on the school's organising committee for IDEC 1999, chaired the conference, and published a 99 page report about the event. I have worked at the school for some 15 years as a Houseparent, English and Class 2 teacher, Café manager, and 'archivist'. I use Summerhill School and similar schools and children's communities to frame children's active citizenship work in state schools with examples of the implementation of children's rights. I initiated the Freedom to Learn Forum 2018 at Summerhill School.

Ni-Chieh

I've been at Summerhill since 1995~2002. I remember very well that I struggled not having my parents also learning and understand English, and was playing most of my first two years climing trees. I learned from Summerhill that you should do whatever you want in life, and achieve your goal without disturbing/distracted other people's life. It was a first a big struggle to speak out in our meetings at Summerhill, but slowly I worked my courage to speak out, becoming secretary at meetings, and eventually chairing the meeting. Now I am a teacher, teaching jewellery apprentices. I have been telling my students that we all have a different speed tread mill of life, and that also is the same with learning. So don't matter if you didn't understand the first time, just ask and we will work on how to achieve understanding together. P.s missing those sneaking out days. I remember my first year there was a big organised sneak out after bedtime, the whole house kids and two san kids(including me san kid) was included. First the san kids had to hide in the top clothes cupboards in the large girls room(now visiting again the cupboard seen so small), we had cereals, comics and our torches to keep us awake. Once all house kids finished bed time, the boys were knocking the wall(secrete knock) saying it's time to meet and decide where to go. We then decided to just go to the football field first, but as some of us got out we got caught but was not taken back to our rooms but told to. After that, all the big kids like Valen, Will, Roger and others all came out with big torches looking for us. Was so scared at the point, but now thinking back it's so funny.

Nick Flowers

I went to Summerhill as a pupil in the '60s and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I went into the film and TV business as a sound recordist and retired about five years ago. Now in my early 70s, I alternate between a weeping heart liberal and a 'flog the plebs' Tory. The place seems to have changed a lot since my time: the carriages really were disused railway carriages (Great Eastern Railway) and frost on the bedclothes in the morning was not unknown. We had it tough.

OroPaidio

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Hi everyone! We are a team of educators from OroPaidio Education & Art Centre founded by Andriana Tavantzi, that fosters freedom of expression, collaboration, emotional and artistic cultivation, interaction, experimentation and experiential learning. All members of our team are trained in Lakis Kouretzis’ model onTheatre Pedagogy which resonates strongly with A.S.Neill’s and Summerhill School’s philosophy and practice. Some of the most profound shared values and approaches are equality, free and natural play, incidental learning, self-awareness and the focus on social and emotional development. We promote the importance of these ideas and mentalities for new generations and for humanity through working with pupils and adults of all ages and vulnerable groups; delivering educational programmes for schools; trainings for educators and other professionals; and collaborations with national Education Department, universities, charities and NGO’s. We have had the pleasure and privilege of visiting Summerhill, playing, interacting and co-creating with Summerhill pupils through theatre and art workshops. We will always love to come back to the place where the craziest dreams seem to be so natural and real…

Owen Morgan

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I have been an educator and working musician all of my adult (and some of my teenage!) life, currently I am the music teacher at Summerhill, and have worked here since 2014. I earned a living playing music from my late teens and 20's, always teaching as a side. Over time this developed and I have been involved in a wide variety of teaching projects; from providing a program for excluded and at risk children in East Anglia, working with kids from care homes and serving as a director on a company developing advocacy services via music workshops. In contrast I have provided workshops and privately tutored young musicians of the highest level, preparing them for entrance into conservatoire and working as musicians in the most demanding sectors of the profession. I have always been keen to bring what I learned from the latter into the former, to enrich the musical experience of those for whom real musical provision is absent. After delivering a few one off workshops as a visiting tutor I took over the role of peripatetic music tutor in 2014. Initially on one day a week this grew and grew and in the end it made sense to move in and become a full time staff!

Pal Laszlo

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As a Summerhill parent I'd say the School has changed our life as a family completely. We moved country, and since then we changed the way we think of learning and bringing up children.

Paolo Morante

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I like many things related to the social sciences, arts and philosophy. I am a very curious person. I really like working with children. I currently work in Tikapata, a free school here in Cusco, Peru. I learned about Sumerhill and Neill in my freshman year. After that I read his story, contributions and some books. I really like his contribution to the world. I consider that Summerhill is a key piece to be inspired in the construction of new ways of living education.

Vassiliki Kobilakou

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'Summerhill, a radical approach to child rearing' by A.S.Neil gave me inspiration and strength so to open the first Forest School in Greece, 'Pefkites'. The children learn here whatever they are interested in and decide through democratic ways about their life and days. In nature of course! Thank you Summerhill!

Pera

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I attended Summerhill School from 2002 go 2012. This is where I discovered my love of learning, love for life, and my passion for making the world a little better in any way possible. This is why I studied popular music in college and university, started writing, performing, and recording music in my band Raz then entered the education sector as a music teacher with a Post-16 PGCE but working in public secondary schools, bringing a piece of Summerhill spirit with me wherever I went through being open-minded, respectful of everyone, and promoting the love of music. I continue to draw and write in my spare time and upload music and lifestyle videos to my YouTube channel.

Petra Schmidt

As long as Summerhill exists I have hope for humanity.

Philipp Klaus

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I spent a few years teaching and living at Summerhill, which obviously had a huge affect on my future life as an educator. To celebrate 100 years of Summerhill I'd like to share 100 photos that I took at Summerhill and that mean something to me or that I feel represent Summerhill. I'll add a little description to most, but some will come without a comment.

Phoenix Education

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A UK charity collaborating with your school community to activate student and teacher voice, agency and autonomy. We collaborated with Summerhill School on the 2018 Freedom to Learn Forum.

Piyush Jain

Potterhead, Educator, Cook, Poet, Katha India, Teach For India Alumni, Empath, Grateful, Self-Aware, Happy Soul, INJF Professionally I am an educator, and this journey of being an educator has once introduced me to Summerhill in 2016. I was awestruck. It seemed like everything in school can come alive similar to something we witness in the movie The night at the museum. Thereafter, whenever I speak, research and explore education to children, teachers, fellow educators I can only speak of democratic style of schooling. I did start a small school with a purpose to bring alive democratic schooling alive in there. It just stayed with us for one year. We did incorporate ideas of choices to indulge in activities and sitting idle if one wants to. It was altogether a lovely experience. One can check our work @cartwheelschool on instagram. Summerhill has to lead me to other alternative schools around India. And I am still in love with the idea of democratic and open schooling. It has been the longest relationship I have been ever yet. I am not sure, but it has brought immense behavioral and mindset change towards my own life-style choices too at a sub-conscious level.

Poppy Petrou

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I was a pupil at Summerhill for 5 years. I couldn't imagine a childhood without it. My memories within the school grounds are memories I will forever treasure. Relationships built aren't just friends, they're family who I will undoubtedly grow old with. A.S.Neill's philosophy taught me an invaluable amount about myself. "The real world" was scary at first, but the techniques, values and ideas Summerhill had will forever be a part of me.

Pradita Nambiar

I am a teacher in a school in Hyderabad, India which believes in learning as a natural process and happens best when the learner is eager to learn. Neill's ideas on fear and other inhibitions as well as authoritarian attitudes build walls of resistance between students and teachers has guided my teaching practices in my classroom.

Quincy alias Benedict Russell

My elder brother went to Summerhill (1971-1975 ish)... then I became a pupil at Summerhill (1975-1982). I met my wife at Summerhill who was also a pupil. Our two kids went to Summerhill (2001-2008 ish). My wife's two brothers were also boarders at Summerhill. No words can replace the trust you give to a school by sending your own children there.

Rachel Willan

I was a pupil at Summerhill in the late 80s , early 90s and have so many good memories of being there , I was about 14 when I started there and left at 18

Raffaela Ranieri

Hi my name is Raffaela. I read the book "The Happy Boys of Summerhill" and I realized that someone before me had put into practice a way to raise happy children and allow them to manifest their potential. In 2011, I went to Ethiopia and shared, with children in difficulty, the project written by me in 1982, where I declared that play and creativity allow the child to grow with healthy and happy life prospects. I'd like to meet you and enjoy the pleasure of witnessing the joy of the children.

rawitschp

I recently retired after teaching public school for 42 years. Reading the book, Summerhill, inspired me to become a teacher.

Woodwork/Metalwork

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For nearly one hundred years the Summerhill Woodwork/Metalwork have provided a space where children of all ages can create, learn, listen, laugh, build or just be...

Reinier Bosch

I have worked at democratic schools for the past 13 years and have visited Summerhill 4 times in different settings and have always loved to be there. Every time has brought me al lot of reminders why it is so important to contribute to dem education in my own way.

Renee Sandler

I worked at Summerhill as a houseparent in the late 1980s. The experience of seeing how freedom and democracy worked for children changed my life and led to a career working in democratic schools and then becoming a psychotherapist. I am now working on a PhD in Social Justice Education that explores the idea of decolonizing education in government schools in South Africa (where I am from) through democratic schooling. I am looking forward to attending the 100th birthday celebration next year.

Robin Catchpole

My dad went to Summerhill, I realise a little more every day how important this is to me. Xxx

sue clutterbuck

Hi All, hard to remember back, but all our kids ended up at Summerhill and I was a parent there for about 15 years +? As a family we were very much involved with the big political time of Ofsted protest and the whole taking the Dept. of Education to court for our rights to be upheld and respected. Massive issues here and memories of children sitting all over the courtroom, on the floor, benches and the judges seats being taken over by Summerhill Big Kids. Big learnings around sharing parenting with the school in a dynamic and opening way. Like swimming naked in the pool and always staying afloat, no matter what was thrown at the school, our kids and us parents. Have now lived for 18 years in another community in the north of Scotland, Findhorn. Looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating how deep and honest human beings can be with each other.

Sebastian Roberts

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I was a student back at Summerhill 8 years ago, if it wasn't for Henry I would never have pursued my now 4 year career within the Music Industry which developed into being an Events Photographer 2 years ago. I owe all of my creativie achievements over the past few years to being at Summerhill. Hope to go back one day.

Saumya Sharma

There are few people who I can trust instinctively, just have to have that gut feeling. It just happens...almost in a chronological way. Listen to/Read their words, strikes home, instant calm or bliss. It's like, "Oh, someone understands me !!" I "became a teacher" when I was 21 years of age. No experience, but knew this was right. It was when I read A. S. Neill's "Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing" at the age of 29...ish, after having given birth to a beautiful boy, struggling with the alternative school system in India, that I felt my prayers had been answered and instantly felt liberated. Next stage was to find out whether this school still exists. To my surprise and joy...it STILL DOES ! The step after was a no-brainer. That is where our son, Sanuka should be...and that is exactly where he is now ! What the best for this child we had brought into this world. He is one of those very fortunate children who can experience Summerhill first-hand. Every time I speak with him, I sense Neill's success in creating a space for young people. What a timeless and marvellous mind ! Neill's thoughtful and highly imaginative ideas has brought great comfort to many in the field of education. It has given me the opportunity to think differently and feel all right about having those ideas and thoughts. Thank you, Summerhill Team.

Šárka Preislerová

I have started my studies pedagogy in 2016. I am almost 50 🙂

Song

I am the mother of two children. I have read many books in the process of raising children. I have read "Summerhill School" and "Graduate of Summerhill School" twice. Summerhill's Approach, including social & emotional development, the meeting and laws, play, community life, learning, is attract me deeply. I see that children are born to be good. The learning effect based on internal driving force is very different from the learning effect instilled by parents. Children’s creativity is far beyond our imagination, as long as we believe in them, they have the ability to manage themselves well. I am happy to learn that on the 100th anniversary of Summerhill School, they envisage to accommodate a variety of educational programmes, courses, events, research projects and other activities offering an in-depth understanding of the Summerhill values in relation to education, community and humanity.

Stephen Pitts

Ive worked with children and adults of all types in classrooms and outdoor environments. The words and work of A.S. Neil and those inspired by him have served as anything from an inspiration future projects to a pick me up when looking at long term plans.

Suzu Toyama

I’m current student at Summerhill, I’m 14, and I’ve been here from 2016. I’m doing 100 podcast as a project. So have a look if you’re interested! I’m having the best childhood I could ever imagine to have!!!! I can’t describe unless you have experience here! It is so miracle that I met Summerhill, and all these people here. And I feel so lucky to be able to come here. Summerhill gave me the choice and the time, and place to look for myself, which I’ll keep looking forever:) And I feel that Summerhill has taught me how wonderful and important it is to make decisions for yourself , for my own life, and to take responsibility, and to experience real freedom, and how it’s ok to fail. Also made me realize my life is infinite, that I can do anything if I wanted. And I have right to do what I want if it doesn’t effect others. And it’s the most important thing that myself and everybody else is happy. Summerhill will stay in my heart forever and ever and everrrrr!! I hope in future, more children can have better childhood and feel freer and happier and infinite in their lives. love Summerhill and thank you Summerhill for still existing today💛 peace

Sviatoslav Viktorenko

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Hi there! I am the founder of a democratic school in Ukraine. I became acquainted with the Neill's ideas in 2016. They've inspired me so much that we've opened our own school soon, based on the principles of humanism and the principles of Summerhill. I am glad to be in a wonderful community!

Svoures

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We are Svoures, a team of educators, actors and professionals specialising in drama and music education and our team was founded during our studies in Lakis Kouretzis' model on Theater Pedagogy. We are committed to promoting the importance of play, freedom of expression, experiential learning, social dynamics and equality as essential means of exploring and understanding ourselves and the world. We design and deliver interactive performances, theatre game and outdoor education programmes for schools, clubs, and art institutions. We have all been inspired by A.S.Neil’s philosophy in many different stages of our personal and professional development and we have been incorporating his ideas on democracy and creativity into our practice. We are so delighted that we had the opportunity to visit Summerhill, submerge ourselves in its daily life, collaborate with Summerhill pupils and experience the wonders of ‘freedom not license’ within this caring community. We keep these memories alive until we meet again! Lots of love, Svoures

szafal

I'm father of three girls and mentor in our democratic school "Droga Wolna". A.S.Neill and Summerhill means for me "children equals respect".

Silas Szalai

age 13 i stumbled over neill's book ~ a radical approach in our family library. suprisingly it reflected and gave the way my dad, who was a teacher aswell, raised me a name A.S.Neill. summerhill became my vision of how i thought and dreamed a school should and can be. inspired by that i became an early childhood educator which for me is my passion and a way to transmit and implement neills ideas and methods of his educational approach. neills ideas and his philosophy of a free and individual development is the essence of a natural, healthy and positiv childhood. giving children the possibility and the right to make their own choices and to live in a community that does not evaluate but value each other. equality and love ~ sharing and caring my deep admiration and gratefulness goes out to A.S.Neill aswell to all summerhill family members and friends for 100 years. to another 100 years 🌸🌸🌸🌸 love is the law

Szilvia Kékesi

I became a member of Summerhill School's community in the autumn of 2012. I have been teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL) here ever since. I love working here and I am always eager to get my teeth into new projects that promote Summerhill values and A.S.Neill's educational philosophy, like the Summerhill Experience event of 2019, the Summerhill Newsletter or this very website. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cycling, basket weaving, sewing and gardening.

Taline Schubach

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The first time I heard about Summerhill was in Brazil (I’m from Rio), almost 20 years ago when I was part of a Reichian child care study group. (Reich borrowed from Neill the core concept of self-regulation.) Years later, in Spain, I returned to studying neurosis prevention in children from a Reichian perspective and the letters exchanged between Reich and Neill were part of our readings. I also read “Summerhill” (1963) and at that time and visited a Spanish school based on Summerhill’s ideals. What I’ve read and what I saw at that school in Spain made such a sense than from that I managed to move to UK just to be closer to Summerhill. I had to see for myself how this school was up close ! Than last year, recently arrived to UK, I had the pleasure to live the Summerhill Experience... and I am totally in love. So when I’ll have children (one day, I am not a mother yet), they could be raised in freedom, with respect and being part a amazing community. For me it is just magical to be part of this 100 years celebrations! I hardly believe I’m here!

Thomas=Sudbury

The bright highlight of my life ~ was my 4 months as a paid staff-person at a Sudbury-Model School. To participate and witness in action all the daily celebrations of freedom -- for our small group of "young citizens" -- what an ultimate confirmation of true benefits of self-leadership within our self-regulated society of learning! Thanks to the efforts of A.S Neill and so many others at Summerhill -- 'tis such a heart-warming sense of relief -- to know that "freedom and democracy in learning" can work, and for such a long time! Yay!

Thomas William Fleischer

Well well well, what to say. I am Thomas, also known as the boy who broke a toilet in the house, along with certain cheeky comrades, and flooded the beaston. We were all fools once, fortunately I have not gotten any smarter 🙂 I grew up at Summerhill from 2008 until 2012. Looking back at Summerhill, I really know why it is one of the defining moments in my life. Having lived in many countries, I have been privileged to see the many ways in which human organise themselves, all with their own merits and drawbacks. But Summerhill presents, subjectively, an ideal. I believe that humans very much want to identify with, and belong to ... something, be it a nation, a religion, a socio-economic class or just a good group of friends. And Summerhill takes this, in my opinion, as a base. We are a collective of amazing individuals, but a collective nonetheless. All are important and all must be heard, and even if their wish isnt't fulfilled by the community meeting, they have been heard and understood. We also move as fast as the slowest member, even as we try to bring them up to speed. In my time, screening laws changed very often. When an upward trend occured where too many were sitting indoors gaming all day, as a community we decided to limit gaming screen time, annoying those who had not abused but were now subject to the new law. In time, a shift occurred and it was safe to remove the law as we were all on the same level. A bit banal of an example, I know. This idea of collective responsibility has very much affected me since then. Thanks to Summerhill, I knew that I would not have to hurry to find my way of life, better a happy bum than a regretful student. Finally, I decided on university. Herein I occupy myself a lot with thoughts on how human should organise themselves. Much of my views have been shaped by the way that Summerhill has socialised us. I now study a course that deals very much with human interactions, both among one another, but also with the bigger contentious politico-economic movements that divide the visions we have in organising themselves. I love life, and I love how I have grown as a person, and I will forever be grateful that Summerhill helped build the base upon which this happiness has evolved.

Theomai & Dro

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We are the Panhellenic Alumni Association of Lakis Kouretzis’ model on Theatre Pedagogy. We employ a method which bears strong resemblance to the philosophical approach of Summerhill, congruent to the new techniques of expression and creation. Lakis Kouretzis’ model acts as a playful means of deepening into the very cause of existence and art. Particularly in the Art of Theatre, a very complex, social, and deeply educational form of art. It is based on the needs and interests of children, as it addresses the child’s nature that is hidden within each student. During the teaching process, it contitutes a kind of ‘’inter-lesson’’. No matter where it is applied (educational, cultural, or artistic venues), when applied, this method becomes a place where each and every child can reconstruct everyday life, thus making palpable and visible what lies hidden and invisible. The child can subsequently feel what Aristotle calls ‘’delight of pleasure and delight of knowledge’’. It becomes a place for dreams, imagination, emotions, freedom, initiative, joy and pleasure. A place much like Summerhill school, which we would gladly visit and get to know up close. It would be an experience that could greatly contribute to our enlivenment, as well as awareness on issues related to Modern Pedagogical Perceptions.

Tilly Tiffin

Hi my name is Tilly and I am a pupil at Summerhill and I love music and climbing trees

Mario Cantinelli

1955/56 school year. This, probably the most important year in my life, shaped my whole outlook and inspired my career as a teacher.

Tom Fischer

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After finishing school in Germany in 2012, I did a 4 week internship at Summerhill in early 2013. I studied to become a maths and german teacher afterwards and am now in the last part of my teacher training at a new Montessori school in Potsdam, Germany. My time at Summerhill has had a massive impact on my pedagogical beliefs and my views regarding how school, learning and teaching should be. I will never forget those 4 happy and exciting weeks in Leiston, the pupils and teachers I've met, the school newspaper we produced and the circus show we put on. Thank you for everything! :)

Tunde Toth

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Hello! I’m a special needs educator, therapist and a mum of two lovely girls who have been at SH since 2016. For long SH was for us something too faraway, too expensive, too unreachable, mainly just a dream.... And is it in good stories ends, dreams come true! It had came to a point when we had to escape from our education system and find the best place for our daughters. Summerhill has changed our life! I would wish to have this experience to as much children as much it is possible!

Valia Loutrianaki

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I am an educator of greek language, rhetoric and youth leadership. I am also founding member of EUDEC's Greece Sympraxis Team and president of the Hellenic Association for the Promotion of Rhetoric in Education. I always admired Summerhill and looked for ways to persuade that kids and teens have a voice that is not only worth but also should be heard as loud as older people's voice. I dream of a world where young people get educated in democratic values and skills through an experiential program that is meaningful and makes them happy. And I am sure that they will also become parents who respect their kids and the world will be a better place then. I know it's difficult but places and people like Summerhill community inspire us and make us believe it is worth trying!

vasilikikeh

Hi, my name is Vasiliki, I'm a painter and art teacher in Athens Greece.I have studied in Athens fine art school and -for a while- in chelsea school of art in London. I have a deep respect and love for Summerhill since I was in highschool and now I'm 56! A.S.Neil and his ideas are a constant inspiration every day I "teach" in the state middle school I work, trying to remind to students and colleagues that learning is a natural instinct and can not be done by force, trying to apply a little democracy to our anachronistic education system and in so many other ways. But these ideas have also inspired me a lot in the way I raised my four children, who are all musicians like my husband and all share the same ideas about education. I'm extremely happy and exited to be in touch with you, and I REALLY hope to be able to come in August, lots of love from Greece and a BIG thank you!!

Hanna Varga

I'm a Summerhill parent with my 7-year-old son studying there currently. My journey in parenting and education have been shaped by a number of influential thinkers including A.S. Neill, Rudolf Steiner, Ina May Gaskin and Nathalie de Salzmann. A.S. Neill's ideas and Summerhill, as I see and understand it, provides an environment where several things I value exist in practice in a social setting, such as, cultivating independence and freedom in oneself as well as taking ownership of their own choices, behaviour and life while being an active part of a community. I trust the experiences children have while at Summerhill will leave deep impressions that will serve them far beyond the years they spend at the school and prepare them for later life with integrity.

Warabe Tatekoji

A Summerhill parent &ex-Summerhillian. Just love everything Summerhill!

yaacov hecht

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Yaacov Hecht

nzer

I was a student,in the early 1970's for a year ( I was 12 / 13 at the time).. Interviewed by Ena but I also remember I spoke with AS ( he was in a wheel chair at the time ). I was accepted because I was the only person from NZ to apply at the time. I remember the older boys lived in the carriages. I got to hear a lot of music, the school meetings..going to & not going to classs , making banger rocketts, bike rides thru the countryside .......but I think the greatest thing that I think I carry with me is that its ok to be & to think differently. long before Apple Ads.

Zoe T

My daughter started at Summerhill in September 2019. Prior to that we were unschooling for a year and following and nurturing our daughter’s passions and interests. Finding Summerhill was a dream come true! It is a magical place and I am inspired by the philosophy of the school and the impact it has had on the world.

Zoe Readhead

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I am Neill's daughter. I was born at Summerhill and have remained passionately involved throughout my life. I live and breath this philosophy of child-rearing, having seen it work it’s magic on children over and over again. I owe such a huge debt to my amazing father...