la Newsletter dell’EUDEC del mese di gennaio: la conferenza a Parigi

Posted on 31 Gennaio 2017 by Andrea Sola

Pubblichiamo la Newsletter dell’EUDEC del mese di gennaio, organizzazione europea delle scuole democratiche, che ogni anno tiene il suo convegno in un paese diverso. Quello del 2017 sarà a Parigi nel mese di agosto.

Dear readers,

we wish you a prosper and delightful new year! With the first month almost already over we recommend to sit back, enjoy a cup of your favourite beverage and indulge in some news from the diverse and colorful world of democratic education!

Table of Contents

  • Council news
  • Conference 2017, August 19.-27. in Paris
  • News from our members: Highland School, Sudbury Ammersee, Pestka
  • School founders chat
  • School Partnerships: Giving and receiving constructive feedback

Council news

We would like to announce that we had two by-elections recently. Two new council members and one new Oversight Commitee (OC) member were elected. The new council members are Leslie Ocker and Aaron Kriesel. The new OC member ist Ramïn Farhangi. A warm welcome!

The new council met in January via Skype for a weekend’s chat to organise the work for the coming year. Have a look at EUDEC’s council here.

EUDEC Conference 2017 – August 19.-27. in Paris

This year’s conference will take place in Paris, France. The dates are now fixed: August 19th-27th 2017 and the registration opened already. Have a look at the website and book your ticket!

The theme is “Diversity of Democratic Education” – We’re looking forward to 8 days of workshops, discussions, talks, and pure fun!

News from our members

The Highland School, USA:

European democratic school students interested in attending a democratic school in the United States can enroll at The Highland School for a year or longer. Students may also enroll for at least 3 years for the opportunity to graduate and receive a diploma.  We are authorized under United States Federal Law to enroll non-immigrant students. If you would like more information, visit our website at or email us at

Sudbury Schule Ammersee, Germany:

Dear all,
we would like to ask you for financial support for the Sudbury School Ammersee!
The school community needs support to keep up the struggle to reopen, and when that happens, we shall need more support!

Although the first two years of the school’s existence were regarded as having been extremely successful by many (pupils, parents, founders, employees, academics, expert visitors), the authorities concerned (die Regierung von Oberbayern, the regional government of Upper Bavaria) refused to extend its approval.

Since September 2016 the school community has undertaken everything possible to reopen as soon as possible: demonstrations in front of the Ministry of Education, talks with politicians and associations, supporters distributed protest notes, there was a lot of media interest, a petition was set up, a worldwide action day was carried out, also supported by EUDEC. The action day turned into a huge gesture of worldwide solidarity for the school. Large numbers of individuals, schools and initiatives called for the reopening of the Sudbury School Ammersee.

Since the closure, pupils and employees continue to meet regularly on three afternoons a week – to be together and to learn together. This has become an important institution that keeps the school community united. (details at

Currently, the school is waiting for a decision of the higher administrative court. The school has applied for the school to be allowed to reopen at least until a final decision is taken, which may take a very long time.

In the face of all these challenges, the school is running out of money. Since the closure it receives no state aid at all and is dependent on donations. These are needed to cover court and lawyers’ fees, the rent, the regular meetings and running costs.

Please support the Sudbury School Ammersee with small or large amounts. Help us to continue making a major impact for self-determined learning, democracy and justice. Every little helps!

In the end, the work of the school is not just of benefit to those directly involved, but it serves the good of all.

Heartfelt thanks for your contribution!

+++Latest news from Sudbury Ammerseel:+++

Dear Friends and Supporters,

bad news:

The Administrative Court has rejected our current appeal, which was about the school being able to continue operations at least until final adjudication of our appeal against the authorities closing down the school.

This means the school must remain closed. The main case against the closure is continuing, but no date has been named regarding adjudication.

This decision has come as a major blow to the whole school community! Lots of the children who were happy at the Sudbury School Ammersee are having a bad time. We still find the decision to close the school groundless, and the closure has already caused a great deal of damage!

Nevertheless, we are determined to keep going and rally round for our school! We invested nine years in founding the school prior to getting approval, and we certainly won’t be giving up now! We are now investigating other legal options and other paths that may help us achieve our aim (political, public awareness, networking).

As soon as we have more information to pass on, we will let you know.

It is great to know that you are still rooting for us – sticking together and supporting each other are now more important than ever!

Your Sudbury School community

Pestka, Poland

There is a new democratic school in Poland that we would like to welcome into EUDEC! Here is the school’s story:

Pestka is, as I know, the first democratic language school in Silesia. At least I haven’t heard there’s such a school around except for standard public democratic schools.
We started in 2010 and we’ve been developing since that time however democratic education has just been born in Poland and many people aren’t, so to say, prepared for this style. Not ready yet. That’s why we experience difficulties and the clients change which causes some worries but we manage and we look for support.
A little bit of a story; as a founder of Pestka I must say this school was born thanks to my dissappointment after working lots of years as a teacher of English in standard language schools  following the old education system where we are tested too much, given marks,no choice, just a book (often boring) and a plan. I was exhausted. I had some tendency to be too radical introducing the new idea where you follow the students’ energy, potential, preferences, give choice.That’s why I couldn’t go on like that and one day stopped believing in a style I was born with and then I started Pestka. I learnt there is something like Democratic Education only to find out that this is a name for what I’ve been doing for years. I became a member of Stowarzyszenie Wolna Edukacja and was cofounder of another democratic school in Wyry in Poland. And in 2004 I organised a trip to Summerhill in Great Britain with a group of my students and teachers. It was a turning point – I mean I felt much more confident about what I do.
Anyway I know revolution is not the point so still loyal to democratic style me and my teachers are working over the method of so to say “hall to the living room” – teaching students slowly to fall into the democratic style with some elements of the old system. First I thought it could be kind of disloyalty to myself but definitely it’s not as I know now. Ths is the process and the finish is no old system included in teaching languages. In 5-6 years, I guess, people will grow to this new style but They must experience that it works and this is a process.
We’re based in Katowice – Św. Jacka 1 – close to the city center. We belong to the tenement house – I mean we have a space here to teach. That’s the tenement of positive energy. Good food restaurant on the ground floor, second floor yoga and next to yoga Pestka space. We run stationary classess there but we’re also popular with the trips with English. Going away for short or long trips where we take up sport like horse-riding and while we’re there we speak English – all the time – for beginners it’s possible to mix native language with English. It works and is very effetive and relaxing at the same time – nature support. We also run “Food for Soul classess” – conversation with reflexion, thought-provoking, inspiring, enouraging to changes,  discovering students potential and ARTEnglish  for Children – learning through Art.

Want to found a school?!

By Aaron Keohane

Hi all,
I’m starting an initiative to support those who are thinking about or in the process of setting up a democratic school.

The idea is that a fortnightly Skype call will be hosted by a person who wants to support these prospective school founders. Hosts can include students of democratic schools, parents of students at democratic schools, staff at democratic schools or anyone who feels they can provide advice, insight or support to these changemakers.

We will hopefully host our first chat within the month.

If you would like to be one of these hosts simply reply to this thread and answer the following questions:

  • What is your Name?
  • What is your experience of democratic? (To be put on the website)
  • Are you available two or three evenings a year to host a Skype chat for prospective school founders? (Yes/No)

I am currently working on a WordPress website which can be found here.

This website is still in its early stages. I anyone would like to help make it look more slick the help would be more than welcome.

Yours in solidarity,


School Partnerships: Giving and receiving constructive feedback

By Henrik Ebenbeck, Freie Schule Leipzig

At some point in our evolution as a school, we realized the importance of receiving constructive feedback from experts in the field of alternative education. This was 20 years ago – before EUDEC existed – so we announced at an annual meeting of the German free school association “BFAS” that we were looking for partner schools to start a peer review program. And we were very happy when the democratic school Kapriole in Freiburg, Germany, accepted our offer. Later, two other German schools – the Freie Schule Heckenbeck and the Netzwerkschule Berlin – also decided to join.

This is how the partnership works: each of the 4 schools gets visited every other year by a group that consists of two or three teachers from each of the partner schools. The host school usually sends some questions in advance so that the visitors can focus their attention on certain points, e.g. conflict resolution, decision-making in the school meeting. The visitors take part in school activities, attend meetings, talk with students and staff members, etc. At the end of the visit they give feedback about what they experienced. This feedback is communicated during a special wrap-up meeting and in written form.

Over the years, students and parents have also joined these visits, but for some reason, this never became a routine. All of the schools benefit immensely from the peer reviews. There are so many ideas, structures and systems that we have learned from each other. Yes, it is an investment in time and effort, but I would definitely recommend it to every democratic school that wants to keep learning and evolving as a school community.

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