Summerhill Festival of Childhood 2021

This is the latest news from the organisers of the Festival of Childhood in 2021 to celebrate the centenary of Summerhill.

Dear Friends!

We are happy to announce the greatest upcoming educational event: Summerhill Festival of Childhood 2021. The first democratic school in the world, founded by Alexander Sutherland Neill, is celebrating its centenary!

Watch this video to see how much fun you could have if you decide to attend the event! Henry, Deputy Principal at Summerhill, makes an announcement from the top of a tree and a team of international volunteers, who have been inspired by idea of the festival, help him in their fun and creative ways… Almost 100 volunteers are already preparing this festival for all of those who respect kids rights and believe in the importance of childhood.

We have created several pages (links below) that you can follow.  Here you’ll get all the information about the festival and you’ll get to learn about the organisational set up of the festival – it’s a huge, democratic, international, online process run totally by volunteer force!  That’s amazing, isn’t it?

SUMMERHILL Centenary 2021

Henry Readhead has announced that the new Summerhill Centenary Interactive website has been officially launched

A Message from Henry

In 2021, Summerhill School, the oldest children’s democracy in the world, will be celebrating a hundred years of A.S.Neill’s education and child-rearing philosophies in practice.

A.S.Neill’s work and writings have inspired millions of people around the world to look at education, learning and childhood in a very different light. He has shown that when children are given freedom to grow emotionally, the intellect looks after itself and that coercive and rote learning approaches only stifle and harm academic, creative and personal growth.

Summerhill values have been implemented for a hundred years into schools, classrooms and homes around the world and through the current global crisis, a crisis of humanitarian values and in turn education, they are more needed now than ever before. We need to focus more on social and emotional wellbeing, equality and individuality, creativity and collaboration. We need responsibility towards community and global intimacy. We need to realise the importance of childhood and its role in securing a more humane future for us all.

As A.S.Neill (1959) wrote, “the future of Summerhill itself may be of little import. But the Summerhill idea is of the greatest importance to humanity. New generations must be given the chance to grow in freedom. The bestowal of freedom is the bestowal of love. And only love can save the world.”

This Idea we want to preserve and share through inviting everybody from all over the world to celebrate our centenary as well as their own contributions towards a more compassionate world. For this purpose, we created our centenary website, an inclusive, warm and interactive website, through which you can engage with the following 3 main areas:

Personalisation Join the global map of friends of A.S.Neills Summerhill School and share your personal inspirations, experiences and work. We are also inviting everybody to join in the celebrations by taking on a ‘Project’, personally or as a team, school, classroom, family etc. We at Summerhill have already started an array of projects; including podcasts, stories, walks, photography, gardening, climbing and much more.

New Insights into Summerhill School We have also opened our doors offering never seen before content about community life at Summerhill including; the learning environments, games, events, committees, a historical timeline and a look into ‘A year in the life of Summerhill’.  We are also going to be running a weekly blog about lovely things happening within the school community from now until the end of 2021.

The new A.S.Neill Archive and Research Centre Within the last hundred years there has been a large national and international demand to visit and experience Summerhill from teachers, schools, educationalists, researchers, students and parents. There has also been a great number of requests for support towards the development of new projects around the world seeking to learn from Summerhill’s extensive experience of community-, freedom- and democracy-based education. To meet this demand, which is only set to grow with the approaching centenary and beyond, we plan to build a dedicated centre which will host meaningful visits and partnerships for study, sharing knowledge and innovation and will have the facilities to reach out to many more people around the world. We will also be cataloguing and archiving a very broad range of materials, records, manuscripts, minutes, diaries and photographs for long term public benefit. You can support the development of this exciting project by filling in our Development Questionnaire and/or contributing to our Fundraising campaign.

We are looking forward to seeing you all on our centenary website and joining us in our events and celebrations from now, all the way through 2021 and beyond!

The Summerhill community has asked us to

Please spread the word widely about this to our ADEC community and the wider community.

As you will see on the website there is the opportunity to develop a project either individually or as a group and share that with others around the world. There have been initial discussions about how ADEC might participate in the celebrations in 2021 and would love these to continue and develop ideas. We had planned to try to bring them together at the ADEC 2020 conference but in these uncertain times about what we will be able to do by October maybe we can set up an online process? If anyone is interested in this idea please contact Chris and Cecelia.

Stay well.

APDEC 2019

Currambena is celebrating 50 years this year. Currambena and ADEC are hosting the Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference, APDEC 2019, in Sydney as part of the recognition of that. It will be held at Naamaroo Conference Centre, Lady Game Drive Chatswood, from 15th – 20th July, 2019.

The ADEC2019 conference for this year will be part of this event so please come and join in APDEC 2019.

The website is now live and Registration is open, (though some categories are still to be posted) so I encourage you to check it out and take advantage of the early bird rate if you are able to make it for the whole week. There is more to add to the website as we go along so please check in regularly.

APDEC2019 website is

There is also a Facbook page

Registration Form for ADEC2018 Conference

The Registration Form for the ADEC2018 conference, which is being held from
28th – 30th September 2018, is up and running on the Pine Community School website.
The program will be available in the coming weeks.
Hope that many of you will register and look forward to seeing you in Brisbane.
The link for the website is
Details are also at :


Hello & welcome to the new year
Isn’t it great to belong to a community with others that value & further democratic education for children.  To nurture this community ADEC holds an annual conference so ideas can be shared and the community enlivened.
The 2018 conference is being hosted by Pine Community School in Brisbane on 28-30 September.  Mark the dates in the calendar so you don’t miss out; because it won’t be the same without you.
We will spend the weekend thinking, talking, listening and being “community, connection and celebration”.
Look out for further information about the weekend in emails, on the ADEC website and facebook page.  Share this invitation to attend with your school community, colleagues and students.
Nerida Jaaniste
Pine parent on behalf of Pine Community School