Philly Free School
Philadelphia, PA 19143
At the Philly Free School, students ages 4-19 explore freely, think critically, and work collaboratively, across ages, to govern themselves and their school. Through self-initiated activities, students learn the delicate balance between individual freedom and community responsibility. Along the way, they develop the internal resources to navigate, assess, and utilize the information and tools needed to thrive in modern society.
SDE Optimizing Conditions
- Responsibility – The Philadelphia Free School is a democratic school, run by School Meeting (SM). made up of students and staff. Students are responsible for deciding what to learn, as well as how and when to learn it, all day, every day.
- Freedom – We believe that freedom is essential to the development of personal responsibility. Our students learn through play, and are free to pursue their passions all day long. Adults have no agenda about how young people decide to spend their time.
- Access to Tools – PFS is full of resources chosen by SM members, including computers, books, art and music supplies and much more. The options for active play include a mat room and Gaga pit. Our open campus policy means that the city is our classroom!
- Nonjudgmental Support – There is no standardized curriculum, instruction, or assessment at PFS. Staff are elected by School Meeting to keep the school running. They serve as a resource and, upon student request, provide guidance for student explorations.
- Age Mixing – All members of our community are free to mix freely all day long. Students are not separated by age or ability. There are no grades at PFS.
- Healthy Community – Students of all ages (4-19) have equal power at PFS. They each get a vote in the School Meeting and Assembly, and their vote is of equal weight to those of adults. Our bylaws insist on a welcoming, inclusive community and our policies support this.
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