...you can play all day if you want to...
To allow children to be completely free to play as much as they like.
Creative and imaginative play is an essential part of childhood and development.
Spontaneous, natural play should not be undermined or redirected by adults
into learning experiences. Play belongs to the child.
Summerhill Policy Statement
Because I was bored, I spent a lot of time thinking – at a normal
school everything is organised so you have no time to think.
Catherine – pupil
To be a free soul, happy in work, happy in friendships, and happy
in love or to be a miserable bundle of conflicts, hating one’s
self and hating humanity – one or the other is the legacy that
parents and teachers give to every child.
A. S. Neill
Don’t you wish you had been there? And, curiously, don't
you see how closely it resembles the childhood paradise represented
by the Arthur Ransome books? ‘These adults…mostly minded
their own business, and we minded ours.’ Playing games out of
doors by moonlight, building swings out of junk, sleeping out at night,
watching lizards, constructing ice slides, exploring…. They are
all just what the Swallows and Amazons did, or might have done. What
was different about Summerhill was that it was richer; at Summerhill
there were also parties and plays and music and boy-friends and organised
self-government. And lessons, which the Swallows and Amazons had too,
but for them they happened in a horribly different world called school.
David Gribble – Real education – Varieties of Freedom Lib
I think that non-compulsory lessons, coupled with a more informal
atmosphere helped me to enjoy my chosen subjects a lot more (although
I will probably never really learn to love solving quadratic equations
or long division) For example, I like Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading
his works, and enjoy watching them performed even more. Had I been
forced to study the Bard against my will, I would probably hate Shakespeare,
and would never go to an RSC production again after I finished my English
Misha – pupil
And there is time and space to sit and dream...>