Photo by Dave Tavani

Photo by Dave Tavani


What is the philosophy of the school?

At the Philadelphia Free School, students direct their own learning. There is no prescribed curriculum. Students learn from each other, the staff and from the learning materials available to them in the school, in the city, and beyond. The history of our educational model traces back to Summerhill, opened in England in 1921, and the Sudbury Valley School, opened in Massachusetts in 1968. Both are still in operation, and more than 30 schools on this model now exist around the world.  For more information on how the school works, go to the Philosophy page.

How is the school governed?

The Philadelphia Free School is a democratic school operated by its students, staff, parents, and elected community members. Each individual in the school community, ages 4-adult, has one vote in decision making. The School Assembly consists of all of these members and decides broad policies of the school. The School Meeting consists of students and staff and makes day-to-day decisions about school functioning. There is no Principal, tenure, or hierarchy among employees.

How and when can I enroll?

Students ages 4-19 can enroll year-round. Interested families should attend an Open House. After doing so, they can arrange a visit during school hours. When they are ready to pursue enrollment, families should submit an application and a deposit, followed by an admissions interview. Students must then participate in a trial week. To request a space for your child, you will be asked to submit a Enrollment Application and a deposit, followed by an admissions interview. Click here to find out more about the process.

What are the school hours?

The Philadelphia Free School is open full time, from 9-4, five days per week, from September until June. Students can be dropped off as early as 8:30 at no extra charge. The specific dates and hours of operation will be decided annually at a meeting of the School Assembly.

Where is the Philadelphia Free School?

The school is located at 2001 Christian Street, in the convenient Graduate Hospital neighborhood.

What is the tuition rate?

Tuition is $12,000 for the 2014-2015 school year. A sibling discount is also available: tuition is 80% for the first sibling and 60% for all subsequent siblings. Tuition assistance is available for qualified families with a scale that slides all the way down to $1,800 per student. Currently, 85% of students receive some form of tuition assistance. Diversity of socio-economic status, as well as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other measures, are essential to the learning and operation of our school.

Where do students go when they graduate?

For those who seek a diploma, the Philly Free School offers a graduation procedure open to students who have been enrolled for at least two years. Many students at Sudbury schools have chosen to continue their education in colleges and universities. Others go directly into the world of business, arts, trades, and technical vocations, including entrepreneurial endeavors and creative pursuits. A few of the colleges and universities attended by graduates are represented here:colleges


2001 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19146 215-218-9586
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