Updated 2019-06-30

Riverstone Village

Self-Directed Learning Community in Johannesburg South Africa, inspired by Sudbury Valley School and “University” of Robben Island. Participatory non-punitive problem-solving rather than JC. Actively tackles human diversity and Children’s Rights
Je'anna Clements facilitator
click to see email
(+27) 0767764454
Address: North Riding
City: Johannesburg
Postal Code: 2169
Country: South Africa
The Dome


South Africa’s Department of Education does not (yet) understand Self-Directed Education and the School’s Act does not envision or cover a place like Riverstone Village, which therefore cannot (and does not wish to) claim or try to be a ‘school’.

Participants rely on their right to choose their family’s optimal form of education, and pay a small monthly legal insurance fee to keep that right protected.

Riverstone Village is also proudly active in social justice and democratic participation, and works to support children in making their voices heard nationally and internationally on concerns that affect them.

SDE Optimizing Conditions

ASDE surveys all SDE communities/programs about how they provide, enhance, or align with each of the Six Optimizing Conditions for young people to succeed in SDE.  Survey answers:
  1. Responsibility – Children have full, free charge of their own time and choice of activities and are completely responsible for their own education. 'Offerings' and activities are only organised when initiated and supported in follow-through by at least one child.
  2. Freedom – There is no explicit or implicit pressure on children to 'achieve' anything or 'plan' or 'complete' anything. A rich environment (which they can impact and shape through participation) is provided where children can freely play and self-direct.
  3. Access to Tools – Internet-enabled computers, kitchen, large nature-rich grounds, arts, crafts, sewing, music instruments, books, various steam and workshop resources are available, along with clear procedure for getting access to anything not currently available.
  4. Nonjudgmental Support – Staff are trained in SDE facilitation and Horizontal Communication, and are available to assist without judging or evaluating either the choice of activity or the 'level' 'achieved'. The staff includes a diverse variety of respectful volunteers.
  5. Age Mixing – Admissions begin from age 4 with no upper limit, and infant and toddler siblings also participate on certain days. Everyone is equal, and all ages hang out together as the individuals wish.
  6. Healthy Community – Meeting makes all decisions. Adult or child: each has one vote. Voters against or abstaining are invited to 'speak to' their vote and start a new round of discussion. For all decisions and conflict resolutions win-win solutions are prioritised.

If any information about this resource is out of date, please let us know.