Although students around the world are used to the classic rules at school and taught to lower their voice, democratic schools offer something much better and efficient – ‘freedom’.
According to an intern who works in the Shore Free School in New Jersey founded by Dr. Jeri Quirk, children who have more freedom and are not under the pressure of school rules, develop faster and better. As she claims, a 5-year-old girl named Lucy managed to progress unbelievably in one year more than other children can in regular schools.
Although Lucy was only 5 and her mother was seriously ill, she developed into a healthy girl who already knew how to lead a conversation with adults and was more talkative after one year spent in the school that hates rules.
Lucy’s development may seem strange for people who are used to send their kids to regular schools. However, Lucy is not the only one with fast results of development. Children who attend schools like this get to chose how to spend their days and whether to practice music, paint, make videos, play with friends or ask for instructions in algebra or cooking.
However, spending their days in schools like this doesn’t mean that children don’t take their play seriously. Schools without rules teach kids the true values of life and life lessons in order to find their own element which makes them act curious and think self-critic. Unlike regular schools, the Jersey Shore Free School allows everyone to chose their own pace of learning, and if they don’t feel like it in the moment – no one is allowed to judge them or their actions.
Children who prefer spending their time by doing nothing or doing something that amuses their mind are usually children who pass through a difficult period of life and judging their wish to relax is totally wrong and disrespectful – something regular schools don’t care about.
Students are even involved in voting new rules, discuss important decisions or even how to spend their tuition on their usual school meeting sessions. They are completely included in the process of communication and negotiation. For example, they decide whether it’s okay to ban soda or reduce watching television which gives them freedom of choice and possibility to speak their mind about what they find important or useless regarding the time they spend in school. Except for this, every student is a member of the Judiciary Committee which argues about breaking rules and the consequences of those actions.
According to the intern who witnessed sessions of the Judiciary Committee, they have a very dynamic system and effective conferences which help students to alone set personal boundaries and communicate properly starting at young age.
Unlike the free schools, the current educational system of the United States treats kids like criminals or beasts who need to be ordered, trained and controlled, instead of rising independent, free-minded people who will raise their voice for the things that matter.
‘While working at an after-school program at a local school, I noticed that children are treated as soldiers and controlled in many ways, such as ‘Sit down and start reading this book’. This can certainly slow kids development and damage their perception of freedom which can result in raising individuals who are prone to violence and passive-aggressive behavior’, said the intern.
According to researchers, the free play is crucial in faster and better development when it comes to children education and can certainly affect their happiness. Children who don’t expand their knowledge with the natural process of learning such as the one offered by rules-free schools can develop into passive-aggressive children prone to violence due to their inability to spend their time the way they chose and feel is best for them.
Over 800 graduates of these type of schools are leading deeply meaningful and happy lives and always raise their voice for the things that matter to them. Unlike normal people who believe in destiny, these children are developed in healthy individuals who know that the control over their lives is in their hands only. Approximately 42% of these children are entrepreneurs today, and the others are usually dedicated to arts careers. Business, math, and education are also popular careers among these graduates.
However, rules-free schools are definitely not for everyone. Some children can’t adjust to freedom because they’ve grown up with strict families who taught that how to be obedient. Although such children are given the change to fit in, most of them are often expelled from rules-free schools once the community feels that there’s no chance for improvement.
Another positive characteristic of these schools is that the tuition fee is lower than the tuition at other private schools. However, it’s not low enough to allow each family with lower income to educate their children in schools like these.
‘My business partner and I plan to fundraise to create a scholarship fund for children who want to attend the Jersey Shore Free School but come from low-income families’, says the intern. She also hopes that other schools will follow the example of these rules-free schools and create more lovable institutions for educating children in a modern and more efficient manner.