Free School usually refers to a school in which the students choose for themselves how to spend their time. At the Village Free School, there are no required classes, no compulsory evaluation and no strict age separation.
Our program emphasizes play and pursuing goals. We work with each student and their family to create curriculum based on what the student thinks is important and relevant to their life. Students and advisors collaborate on the weekly schedule and utilize the resources available in the city around us to broaden our perspective and experience.
Adults at the Village Free School are considered guides, resources, mentors and assistants. Staff members, interns, and volunteers help students set goals, reflect on how they've spent their time, and encourage exploration, practice, and mastery of skills. Adults engage in conversations surrounding interpersonal relationships, academic fear and shame, and the challenges unique to each individual. Adults in our space also respect each student's right to say “yes” or “no,” and are committed to disengaging from arbitrary authority that diminishes the spirit of youth.
The center and cornerstone of our program is conflict resolution and restorative communication. Students are presented with a basic template for problem solving where each voice is heard, respected, and valued. Adult and peer mediators model compromise, reflective listening, and empathy. Students who play an active role in resolving interactions with others gain invaluable practice in understanding the world around them and moving through it with confidence.
Democracy thrives in the Village Free School in many forms. Students, advisors, interns and volunteers use All School Meeting to make decisions regarding daily life and to resolve conflicts facing the community as a whole. All School Meetings can be called at any time by any member of our community, and may be facilitated by either a student or adult.
The Village Free School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. This public benefit corporation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs, employment policies, election of officers, membership, or election to the Council