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Real Life. Real Learning.

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.

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School News and Events

In Self-Directed Education, we allow kids to pursue the activities that are meaningful to them. Many people worry that this approach is too risky for children from less affluent, privileged households. This post explores that tension, asking: Is our duty to expose kids to the types of knowledge that confer privilege? Or is our duty to help kids develop into their fullest, most meaningful lives?


At a free school, every student and staff member has an equal say in any decision that shapes the school community and their lives within it. At PFS, that means that students’ votes outnumber staff ten to one. In short, the kids run the school. This requires adults at Philly Free School to practice two types of trust. First, we must trust students to collaborate in self-governance. Second, self-directed education requires that we must trust each child to know what is best for them in their individual learning process.

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Why Our Families Choose PFS

«The ability to communicate in a highly technological society is vital to survival.»

— Victoria Lambert, Parent of a current student