Cork Democratic School

Cork Democratic School

The aim of this page is to update you on the Cork Democratic School project

Operating as usual


Details of the next EUDEC (European Democratic Education Community) annual conference/festival have just been announced. Do consider August trip to Bulgaria :)

Alternative schools are 'redefining what learning is' | Newstalk 10/10/2022

An interview with staff and parents of Wicklow Democratic School and Sligo Sudbury School

Alternative schools are 'redefining what learning is' | Newstalk What do you think about the idea of a school where kids get to pick what they learn? Where there’s no rules, no homework and no one in charge. There's a fe...

Photos from Cork Democratic School's post 08/08/2022

Greetings from Summerhill Festival of Childhood


/ Isaac Asimov /

"Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. During his lifetime, Asimov was considered one of the "Big Three" science fiction writers, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. A prolific writer, he wrote or edited more than 500 books. He also wrote an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. Best known for his hard science fiction, Asimov also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as much nonfiction. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation series, the first three books of which won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. His other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The Galactic Empire novels are set in the much earlier history of the same fictional universe as the Foundation series. Later, with Foundation and Earth, he linked this distant future to the Robot stories, creating a unified "future history" for his stories."
Honorary vicepresident of MENSA community of prodigious kids and people.
Native name: Yiddish: יצחק אזימאװ ‎
Born: c. January 2, 1920, Petrovichi, Russian SFSR
Died: April 6, 1992, Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Occupation: Writer, professor of biochemistry
Nationality: Russian (1920-1922), Soviet (1922-1928), American (1928-1992)
Education: Columbia University (BA, MA, PhD)
Genre: Science fiction (hard SF, social SF), mystery, popular science
Subject: Popular science, science textbooks, essays, history, literary criticism
Literary movement: Golden Age of Science Fiction
Years active: 1939–1992

Isaac Asimov (1975). “Science Past, Science Future”, Doubleday Books

Ireland AM - Tuesday, 12 April 2022 12/04/2022

Something to watch: our West Cork friends talking about their school

Ireland AM - Tuesday, 12 April 2022 Sudbury Schools are known for self-directed learning. School founder Jessica Mason-Little joins us with her son Archer who's a pupil at the school, to tell us more.


IMPORTANT NEWS! We have a potential venue for our school! It is a former school building (and a current community centre) in Carrigrohane (between Cork and Ballincollig). It is too early to open your champagne – the venue is far from guaranteed, we need to bid for it against other similar organisations – but it is something specific to work towards.

The first thing we need to do is to ASSESS THE VIABILITY OF THE SCHOOL AT THAT PARTICULAR LOCATION. So, if you are a parent of 6-18 years old children, and you would seriously consider choosing our school for your kids if we were to open in Carrigrohane in September 2022, PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY BELOW. It will take you 2 minutes.

We need to know very soon if the number of potential students makes the school viable, so please do it ASAP and no later than Sunday 20 March

CORK DEMOCRATIC SCHOOL Please click the link to complete this form.

Mental trap of the pandemic 23/01/2022

An interesting article which raises many issues. From our perspective here, it is the third conclusion that is particularly pertinent:

"The pandemic – especially during lockdown – showed that the model of learning built around the model of exterior motivation and supervision, when focused on assessment of knowledge only is disabled and does not generate any interior motivators. It does not enhance inner passions, which at the moment of the disappearance of the controlling system simply collapses.

- Maybe we should focus on developing the mechanisms of self-regulation and self-motivation – says prof. Gut. – Maybe we should get away from the school style of education, where the exterior regulations take precedence over the interior. Today it is us that are planning for the students the education, classes and the final effect. Maybe this image is worth changing, so that the students are the actors, and not passive recipients of their studies"

Mental trap of the pandemic Mental trap of the pandemic


Hello to all our brilliant followers and supporters on this Thanksgiving! We are so grateful for all of your interest and support in our project.

I just want to share an update that we are still looking for a suitable venue in the Cork city area! For us, this means:

-a suitable space where we can gather communally on the premises
-sufficient green space to allow our students some access to nature and exploration (this could simply be a public park near the location)
-some smaller multi-purpose rooms for more isolated activities

***Our ideal venue need not look like a traditional school building. We are flexible and interested in considering whatever might be available***

Any venue leads are our continued priority so please reach out if you have information to this end. We are also really eager to add more allies and contributors to our community. So if you know any groups who might have an interest in us, or any friends who might be passionate about our mission and motivated to contribute their energy to help us bring democratic education to Cork city we encourage you to put us in touch! Would love to see some new faces at our next open meeting.

Share our site and info as far and wide as you desire:

Je'anna L Clements 19/10/2021

October has been designated the DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH – so let’s become more aware 😊

Dyslexia is usually defined as a specific learning disorder whose main symptom is the persistent difficulty in learning to read and spell accurately and fluently. But the evidence grows that this deficit-focussed understanding of dyslexia is in fact too narrow.
People with dyslexia are no doubt DIFFERENT in how they process some types of information. Those differences, when they clash with the environment that is unable or unwilling to accommodate them (such as forced schooling!) may indeed results in grave difficulties. But perhaps dyslexia is also a superpower? There are great many highly successful people with dyslexia: artist, designers, entrepreneurs – even writers – and some of them claim that they became successful not DESPITE their dyslexia, but BECAUSE OF IT! Could it be the case that dyslexic brains, while finding it harder to process printed words, find it easier to process other kinds of important information? This is the perspective of Made By Dyslexia: - a charity whose mission is to educate us about the powers of dyslexic thinking. Check it out – starting with the TED talk of Kate Grigg, the Made by Dyslexia founder:

Another inspiration is the book “What if school creates DYSlexia?” By
Je'anna L Clements. The author begins by drawing the fundamental distinction between dyslexia (a difference in how your brain functions - which can be advantageous) and DYSlexia (a learning difficulty, a serious problem with reading and spelling). Her key claim is that dyslexia need not lead to DYSlexia, if we get the education right. And ‘getting it right’ naturally means self-directed learning! She draws on the experience of unschooling parents and democratic school founders to justify her claims.
The book can be bought on Smashwords[] or Amazon – both e-book and paperback are available.

Watch, read, reflect - and share your thoughts here!

Je'anna L Clements Je'anna L Clements is an advocate for young people's rights, a writer, a mother of a teen and a tween who have both self-educated since birth, and a founding member of Riverstone Village, Africa's first Sudbury-inspired learning community. She writes articles and e-books on alternative education inc...

Charity Impact Awards 2021 17/10/2021

Our friends from West Cork Sudbury School are going for 2021 Charity Impact Award. Whether or not you wish to vote for them it is worth reading their competition entry, as it describes what they do and what they aspire to as an organisation. We want to build something similar here, in Cork City! #

Charity Impact Awards 2021 Celebrating the work of charities, community groups and voluntary organisations that have changed Ireland and the world for the better.

Photos from Cork Democratic School's post 02/10/2021

Many thanks to all who took part in our open meeting in Cork Marina today! :) We hope to see even more of you next month!

Re-energizing and Reinvigorating 13/09/2021

We had good news from West Cork Sudbury School - time for Wickow Sudbury now :)

Re-energizing and Reinvigorating While the rest of the country has been slowly reopening over the summer, Wicklow Democratic School has been preparing to reopen the doors to its community on September 6th. Staff members, parents a…


A happy update from our West Cork friends

We're so excited to open the doors for our second year tomorrow, in our new home! As we receive no government funding we're really dependent on donations to keep the school going, and keep it so affordable to families. We have a wishlist of things we need for our new school building if anyone has items they can donate:
✨ Bar stools for the kitchen
✨ Screens or room dividers
✨ Outdoor furniture
✨ Stainless steel drinking cups
✨ Rugs
✨ Step stools for younger students

We're so grateful for all the donations we receive!

You can also donate through Kofi or PayPal.. See our website

Monica O'Connor - YouTube 12/08/2021

I have just finished listening to the series of interviews which Monica O’Connor – an unschooling mother and activist – carried out with young Irish adults who were educated at home. Most of them in a pretty self-directed fashion which you may call unschooling.

While unschooling and democratic schooling are NOT the same thing, they have lots in common. In Monica’s interviews, I saw the same themes that you see emerging in democratic school testimonies. Trusting the child, their capacity to self-manage their process of education, leads to amazing things. Kids flourish, socially, emotionally and academically, discovering their own talents and putting them to use – often in highly unusual ways. They recognize opportunities and seize them. They grow into mature, responsible, independent and successful young adults.

I highly recommend this

(Marcin Szczerbinski - a member of the Cork Democratic School founders team)

Monica O'Connor - YouTube A channel for videos about home education

Photos from Cork Democratic School's post 11/07/2021

Admitted: we've been neglecting Instagram!
With so much on our minds and to do lists, posting here slides down the priority list.
But finally here are some pictures of our open event at the Lough a few weeks ago! We had greay conversations, a slackline, and inflatable reindeers!!
Thanks so much to everyone who joined us, it was a blast! Hopefully soon to be repeated, so keep an eye out on Facebook.

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Videos (show all)

What does discipline mean in a democratic school?I had some thoughts this recently and decided to share them. Please get...