Snippets from Free to Me
by Gia Rae Winsryg-Ulmer
The main thing that stands out about a free school is that kids move in a natural way. They aren’t following adult’s concepts of what’s organized and what’s appropriate. Here, you’re entering a world that, though it is not run by kids, reflects what’s natural to them. Our students are not forced to learn anything that they don’t want to learn—they take ownership over their learning, deciding what they want to learn and when they want to learn it.
Free school students, like most students, are curious about the world and how things work. They take apart computers, they want to understand why a volcano spews lava or how to make puppets from string and cloth or puff pastry. Kids are always asking questions. They want to learn. It’s a normal, basic thing!
Sometimes I think about the hours that I wasted in school learning things I quickly forgot because I just wasn’t interested and it didn’t make sense. These kids won’t ever have to feel that.
I believe that if we create a school culture that encourages difficult conversations, honest introspection, and action, then the young people who leave Brooklyn Free School will continue to demand justice in the world and in doing so they will transform it.