Blog | The Open School

Blog · The Open School

Perfect Information To find their own way in life, children must be told the whole story

by Tay Arrow
September 12, 2019

When I was a child, my family spent our summers in a pair of cabins in a forest on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Most of the time, I played in the woods, inventing tiny societies in the thick moss, or picking blueberries, or climbing on rocks. My mother would go for walks on the […]

Windows of opportunity Do children need to learn certain skills while they're young?

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
August 29, 2019

Even before he met his wife, Laszlo Polgar was strategizing about how he would bring up his children. In the 1960s, having studied the life stories of 400 great intellectuals from Socrates to Einstein, the Hungarian psychologist argued that with the right approach to child rearing, parents could turn any child into a genius. Klara, […]

An antidote to peer pressure Age mixing makes it okay for kids to be themselves

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
August 19, 2019

One of the major fears parents have when sending their children off to school is “peer pressure”. This frightening force is what makes otherwise good kids do bad things, like trying drugs or committing crimes. And beyond this obviously dark side of peer pressure there is a broader risk of young people losing themselves, and […]

Announcing A(nother) New School!

by Cassi Clausen, Open School founder
August 9, 2019

The Open School began as a dream of a handful of people committed to bringing democratic free education to Orange County. We wanted a place for local kids to become self-directed and independent. It started with just under a dozen kids in the house of one of our founders. The following year, we moved to […]

Liberty or Lord of the Flies?

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
July 31, 2019

Some people, when they hear about democratic schools — where each student has the same power as any adult — are reminded, in horror or breezy dismissal, of Lord of the Flies. In William Golding’s 1954 novel, a group of British schoolboys are stranded on a deserted island and attempt to survive while they wait […]

Nice kids, mean kids How to teach children morality without relying on crude labels

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
March 16, 2019

Lately, the number of little kids (in the 3 to 5 age range) at The Open School has increased greatly. The “munchkin brigade” is always scurrying around the school, making lots of joyful noise, and calling each other “nice” and “mean” as it suits their mischievous purposes. These words — “nice” and “mean” — have […]

Is sharing caring? The truth about children's sharing culture

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
March 6, 2019

When you first start coming to a Sudbury school — a school where there are no teachers, classes, or curriculum — as an adult, either as a staff or a volunteer, there are naturally a lot of cultural hurdles you have to overcome. Like: how do I respect the activities the kids choose? How do […]

Radical new school feeds kids food instead of sawdust

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
October 1, 2018

A new school in Orange, California is experimenting with giving kids food, such as meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables, instead of sawdust. “It was kind of overwhelming at first, walking in there and seeing all those different foods,” says Leila Bowman, a public school teacher who visited the school for the first time last week. […]

How school violates children’s rights

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
September 17, 2018

Schools were originally built, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to be places of learning. Children couldn’t get proper educations at home, so they went to school for a few hours a day to be taught information and skills by qualified teachers. Over the decades, schools became more compulsory and took up more and […]

Barefoot at school To go barefoot, you have to make peace with the unknown

by Aaron Browder, Open School staff
September 6, 2018

About two years ago, I decided I didn’t want to wear shoes anymore. I had read about health benefits of walking barefoot, and it seemed like a fun experiment, if not necessarily a permanent lifestyle change. In Southern California, where it’s virtually always warm, there aren’t many practical challenges to having a no-shoes lifestyle. I […]