FREEDOM--What a rare word. When was the last (or even first) time you heard it mentioned in the context of education?

A. S. Neill had a deep trust in the ability of the individual to direct his/her own learning. He believed that this innate ability was nurtured in freedom. He created Summerhill school in 1921 in England as an experiment in free learning.

Summerhill deeply influenced and inspired the Free School movement of the 60s and 70s, one of the most amazing journeys out onto the edge yet. His work could well encourage us in taking more radical steps toward edge-ucation today.

Did you go to a free school, start a free school, teach in a free school? If you did, we encourage you to share your experiences from the viewpoint of 1999. What are the most valuable insights you have from those times that might offer some possibilities to us now pondering, creating and evolving 21st century edge-ucation?

Take part in our dialogue--"Free schools: wisdom gained, insights offered" in the Haven Dialogue Zone. Find edge-dialogue4: Free school insights and click on it. To add your story, click reply at the top of the message in [brackets]. Please don't change the subject line. (To post you will need to register first with eGroups.) Other replies in the dialogue will appear as Re: edge-dialogue4: Free school insights. Click on these to follow the dialogue as it evolves. And feel free to respond to these by clicking reply if you'd like to share your thoughts with the individual authors.

Visit Summerhill's website.

To learn more about the life and work of A.S.Neill, try reading these books.

Summerhill, A Radical Approach to Child Rearing
by A.S. Neill, with a foreword by Erich Fromm
copyright 1960 by Hart Publishing Company, New York City

  • Inside Summerhill
    as told by a 16-year-old boy who has just returned to the States after spending fouryears as a student in A.S.Neill's famed Summerhill School in England with photographs by the author.
    by Joshua Popenoe
    copyright 1970
    Hart Publishing Company, Inc. New York City

  • "Neill! Neill! Orange Peel!"
    An Autobiography by A.S.Neill
    copyright 1972
    Hart Publishing Company, Inc. New York City

  • Record of a Friendship
    The Correspondence of Wilhelm Reich and A.S.Neill, 1936-1957
    Farrar, Straus, Giroux 1981

  • Check your local used book shelf for these classics if you're in the US.