Berkeley’s Barrington Collective just started a free skool for Summer 2005 here in Berkeley and it got us thinking about free skools over the ages and around the planet. If you know of a free skool in your town or one that was going in 1974 or whatever, let us know about it!
According to the Berkeley Barrington Collective, “Free Skools attempt to dissolve the traditional roles of student and teacher in learning. The classes are free, the curriculum is defined by the needs and desires of the community; people learn and teach what they want.” There are currently active free skools in (at least!) Santa Cruz, Calif., Olympia, Washington, Denver, Colorado, Missoula, Montana, and folks are talking about setting one up again in Portland, Oregon. A Slingshot alumni is even teaching a free skool permaculture class in Argentina right now! Many cities had free skools at some point in the past even if they don’t have them now — in Berkeley there was a big free skool in the mid-90s.
The Berkeley free skool features classes like: Monsters, Robots and Beasts, a fiction writing class for teens; Steps to buying your first home; Criminal Records (I and II); Tenant/Landlord Legal Issues; Liberation and Reality; Community Mental Health discussion; Beer Brewing; Welding; Creating a Non-profit; DIY Meditation; Grant Writing; Insects for Kids; Speculative and Practical Folklore; Intro to Palo Mayombe; Intro to Capoeira; Philosophy and Politics; Radical Mental Health; Alternative and Non-coercive Education; Firearms: Use, Safety and Laws; (ESL) Clases de Ingles; S&M 101; Conflict Skills; and the Stone Soup/Integrated Free Skool weekly discussions/meetings.
Contact these free skools for specific info:
Berkeley – barringtoncollective.org/FreeSkool
Santa Cruz – santacruz.freeskool.org; summer quarter starts at the beginning of July and runs until the end of September.
Olympia – www.olympiafreeschool. org
Denver – denverfreeskool.org