Summerhill school, started by A.S. Neill in the UK in the 1920’s, almost 70 years before the Convention on The Rights of the Child, was founded on the idea of equal rights for all ages. This school was the key inspiration for the founding of Sudbury Valley School in 1968, leading to the emergence of hundreds of similar spaces around the globe including the founding of Riverstone Village in South Africa in 2017.
There is a growing awareness of the rights and needs of young people, but right now worldwide we are still at a stage where the routine mistreatment of children is so completely normalised that most people do not see it as a problem, just as our history holds times and places where white supremacy was profoundly accepted, the ‘inferiority’ of women was taken for granted, etc.
Self-Directed Education spaces are increasingly becoming sanctuaries where young people can safely be themselves in a culture of mutual respect, where they are supported in their authenticity rather than controlled by adults who believe that it is their ‘responsibility’ to mold them.
You can read more about SDE and Children’s Rights here.
Freedom is indivisible, it means you must never influence the choices children make, it’s all or nothingA.S. Neill
SDE is ‘a civil rights movement and… that’s hard. It’s an uphill battle. All civil rights movements are fighting against the mainstream norm, and it’s worth it.Alexander Khost
What’s important to us is what the students want to take, not what the teachers want to give.Daniel Greenberg
The function of a child is to live his/her own life, not the life that his/her anxious parents think he/she should live, nor a life according to the purpose of the educators who thinks they knows best (sic)A.S. Neill