Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Review: A Free Range Childhood

A Free Range Childhood: Self Regulation at Summerhill School, by Matthew Appleton

This book is a first hand account about day to day activities at Summerhill School. The author has been employed by the school as a houseparent for nearly a decade (during the '90s), so he simply narrates from his own experiences. However, he did not attended Summerhill as a student (went through UK's public education system instead).

The book is divided into 10 chapters that cover quite a lot of aspects: the child-oriented culture of the school, the role of the adults, the democratic process by which the governing rules are created, the emotional issues that children are facing, the non-compulsory lessons offered, the food policy, the sexual behaviour of the students, the cultural differences between various children attending the school. Quite a lot of issues specific to the school that I haven't seen covered anywhere else on the Net. (I have not yet read A.S Neill's books, but I plan to.)

I'd think it will be a good read for all those interested in education (and especially those looking for alternatives to the main stream offer).

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