Reading List

On this page you can find links to contributions written by people affiliated with progressive education. It is a selection of readings (by no means comprehensive), which will introduce some ideas related to progressive, alternative and democratic education.
Not all publishing details are included. If you have comments and suggestions for this list please contact us.



Cohen, David, Alternative Education The Currambena Experience 1994, (This and a range of titles including: Feeling Free to Learn, Progressive Education and Liberating Curriculum from Sacred Cows, are available at Curriculum Resources – 12 Craddock Avenue, Caulfield North, VIC 3161; ph 03-9528 1329

O’Carroll, P & Berryman, F. (1980), Start Your Own School, Fitzroy Community School, Melbourne

Shann, S. (1987), AME School: School Portrait.

Furnass, A. (Editor) (1988), The AME School An Historical Record, The Ame School Canberra 1988

White, N.R. (1995), School Matters: The Preshil Alternative in Education

A.S. Huber (1995), Transfer of Embedded Symbolic Information Between Home and School: A grounded theory of how young children develop idiosyncratic responses during the construction of literacy in the classroom, Unpublished doctoral thesis, Graduate School of Education, University of Wollongong, Australia.

1. “Reflections on the work of the Primary Teacher into the Twenty First Century: The case of literacy teaching and learning at one school” available at

2. “Help! Liam cannot read” available at

3. “The getting of an-education: The real magic of learning” available at

Porter, L. (2000), Student Behaviour Theory and Practice for Teachers, Allen and Unwin 2000

Porter, L. (2001), Children are People too “A parent’s guide to young children’s behaviour”, Small Poppies SA 2001

Berryman, T. (2000), Education for Peace Requires the Growth of the Whole Child Dissertation Prepared toward the M.Litt program in Peace Studies at the University of New England Find on Fitzroy Community School website

Mortimer, A.(2001), Progressive Education: The Lived Experiences Of Currambena School (1969 to 2001) Find on Currambena website



Neill, A.S.

  • 1916 A Dominie’s Log
  • 1917 A Dominie Dismissed
  • 1919 The Booming of Bunkie
  • 1921 A Dominie in Doubt & Carroty Broon
  • 1924 A Dominie’s Five
  • 1926 The Problem Child
  • 1945 Hearts Not Heads in the School
  • 1946 The Problem Teacher
  • 1949 The problem Family
  • 1953 The Free Child
  • 1964 Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing
  • 1966 Freedom Not Licence & Talking About Summerhill
  • 1972 Neill! Neill! Orange Peel!

Lamb, A. (ed) (1992), The New Summerhill, Penguin Books, London

Lawson, M. (ed) (1973), Summerhill: For and Against

Neill, A.S. (1967), Talking of Summerhill, Victor Gollancz, London

Appleton, M. A. (2003), Free Range Childhood, Self-Regulation at Summerhill School

Rousseau,J.J.& R.l.Archer (1964), Jean Jacques Rousseau: His educational theories selected from Emile, Julie and other writings.

Godwin,W (1797), Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness ( republished a few times in the 20th century)

Tolstoy,L. (1862), Tolstoy on Education (1967: University of Chicago Press)

James, W.(1890, 1981), The Principles of Psychology, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,

Pestalozzi, J (1894), (1977) How Gertrude Teaches Her Children

Dewey, J. (1916), Democracy and Education

Goldman, E. & Shulman, A.K. (1972), Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman (works originally published between 1906 and 1934)

Durrant, W. (1926-1961), Story of Philosophy

Russell, B (1926), On Education: Especially in Early Childhood

Russell, D. (1932), In Defence of Children

Krishnamurti, Jiddu (1953/1981), Education and the Significance of Life, Harper Collins 1981

Rogers, C. (1961), On Becoming a Person. A therapist’s view of psychotherapy

Rogers, C. (1969,1983), Freedom to Learn

Aries,P. (1962), Centuries of Childhood

Holt, J. (1964), How Children Fail

Holt, J. (1967), How Children Learn

Holt, J. (1970), The Underachieving School, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth

Holt, J. (1976), Instead of Education, Pelican Books, Harmondsworth

Virginia Axline (1968), Dibs – In Search of Self

Perry, L. (ed) (1967), Bertrand Russell/ A.S. Neill/ Homer Lane/ W. H. Kirkpatrick, Collier-Macmillan Publishers, London

O’Neill, W. (ed) (1969), Selected Educational Heresies, Scott, Foresman and Company, Glenview

Friere, P. (1970), Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Friere, P. (1972), Cultural Action for Freedom

Illich, I. (1971), Deschooling Society, Penguin Books, Middlesex

Reimer, E. (1971), School is Dead: An Essay on Alternatives in Education, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth

Postman, N. & Weingartner, C. (1972), Teaching as A Subversive Activity, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth

Ferrer, F (1972), The Origin and Ideals of the Modern School

Macklin, M. (1976), When Schools are Gone – A Projection of the thought of Ivan Illich, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia

Lister, I. (ed) (1974), De-schooling, A Reader, Cambridge University Press, London

Musgrave, P.W. & Selleck, R.J.W. (1975), Alternative Schools, John Wiley & Sons, Sydney

Avrich, P. (1980), The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States

Placzek, B.R. (ed) (1982), Record of a Friendship – The Correspondence of Wilhelm Reich and A.S.Neill:1936-1957

Smith, M. (1983), The Libertarians and Education, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, London

Snitzer, H. (1983), ‘A.S. Neill Remembered’, Educational Leadership Vol. 41, No. 2, October 1983, p. 56

Gold, M. & Mann, D. (1984), Expelled to a Friendlier Place – A Study of Effective Alternative Schools, The University of Michigan Press, Ann

Friere, P.& Shor, I. (1987), A Pedagogy for Liberation, Macmillan, Houndmills

Walta, C (1990), A.S. Neill and the Russells: Theory and Practice in English Progressive Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne

Greenberg, D. and Sadofsky, M. (1992), Legacy of Trust: Life After the Sudbury Valley School Experience

Shotton, John (1993), No Master High or Low “Libertarian Education and Schooling 1890-1990”, Libertarian Education

Semler, Ricardo (1993), Maverick

Semler, Ricardo (1993), The Seven-Day Weekend

Quinn, D. (1995), Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

Quinn, D. (1999), Beyond Civilisation: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure

Dayton, J. (1995), Democracy, Public Schools and the Politics of Education

Kohn, A. (1996), Beyond Discipline From Compliance to Community, Association for Supervision and curriculum Development Alexandra Virginia

Gribble,D, (1998), Real Education, Varieties of Freedom, Libertarian Education, UK

Mercogliano,C., Making It Up As We Go Along, The Story of the Albany Free School

Clarke, Mary E. (2002), In Search of Human Nature

Atlee, T. (2002) The Tao of Democracy

Nagata,Y. and Manivannan,R. (Eds) (2002) Prospect and Retrospect of Alternative Education in the Asia – Pacific Region, Report of the International Seminar for the Development of Alternative Education: Sharing Experiences among ‘Free School’ Educators in Asia and the Pacific, National Institute for Educational Policy Research of Japan (NIER)

Sarason, S.B. (2002), Educational Reform: A Self Scrutinizing Memoir

Gee, J.P. (2003) What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

Greenberg, D. Sadofsky, M, Lempka,J.(2005) The Pursuit of Happiness: The Lives of Sudbury Valley Alumni

Stinton, J (2005), The Little Commonwealth and Homer Lane


For other titles about the Sudbury experience:


For more titles and writings:



Education in the Alternative, Sustainable Societyby Ted Trainer

Education; Outline of a Radically Critical View by Ted Trainer

Pluralistic Learning as the Core of Democratic Education by Yaacov Hecht

Why democratic values and human rights are so important and worth fighting for by Derek Sheppard

A Vision for Democratic Education as part of the movement for Democracy in Israel/Palestine and worldwide by Rotem Mor, 2008