This isn’t your typical school. Imagine a school where there are no grades, classes, tests, or homework. Instead, the students, who range from ages 5 to 15, can do whatever they want all day. And for letting the kids do what they want, the annual tuition cost reaches $10,000 although those who cannot afford it pay less. Unlike a typical school with a set curriculum, the students spend their mostly unstructured days playing video games, reading, doing yoga, filming horror movies, or observing others.
This school exists. It’s called The Brooklyn Free School in New York, founded in 2004. The aim of the school is to place “the highest emphasis on the personal development of each student and seeks to minimize, or if possible eliminate completely, undue influence, pressure and stress that accrue from expectations on students to acquire the accepted wisdom of present day society or meet arbitrary standards, so that each child can become an independent learner and thinker.”
“Free schools” had their peak in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, but it’s unknown how many still exist today. Proponents of these institutions claim that children are able to learn by doing what interests them and working at their own pace, rather than having subjects forced on them. Based on studies of alumni of the Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts, it is claimed that students of democratic free education grow up to be “successful” adults.
If the concept sounds intriguing, you can learn more information about how the Brooklyn Free School at their website.