A Free-Range Childhood:
Self-Regulation at Summerhill School
by Matthew Appleton
Published by The Foundation for Educational Renewal, Inc. , $18.95
P.O. Box 328, Brandon, VT 05733 USA
ISBN 1-885580-02-9  
 Click here for info on how to order.
Ron Miller and his Educational Renewal Foundation have done us all a great service by publishing Matt Appleton's splendid new book about Summerhill, the first since Albert Lamb's expanded edition of Neill's original best seller account of his school.
Matt with House Kids
(Photo by Tomo Usuada)
Also click here to read a letter Matt sent back about his recent visit to the US and what he wants us Americans to remember about children and about learning.

From the book's back cover:

SUMMERHILL is probably Britain's most famous school. Its radical philosophy of education has led to constant conflict with the educational establishment. In response to attempts to close the school, Summerhill challenged the government in court and triumphed over what it described as "the tyranny of compulsory lessons and exams." [Read more about their court challenge here.]

A FREE RANGE CHILDHOOD is Matthew Appleton's insightful account of his years as houseparent at the school.

"The stories are full of humor and fun ... This is a personal and candid view of his time with us. It is a very enjoyable read, and it raises some Important, if uncomfortable, questions about modern methods of child-rearing."


Head of Summerhill and daughter of founderA.S. Neill

In1921 Summerhill School was founded by A.S. Neill. Believing children to be inherently "good," Neill created an environment in which children had the widest scope possible to express themselves without adult constraints. At Surnmerhill adults and children have an equal say in community meetings, and lessons are non-compulsory.

Much has been written about Summerhill over the years. Neill's own Summerhill. A Radical Approach to Child Rearing was an international best-seller in the 1960s and '70s. [Albert Lamb's expanded version is reviewed here.] Appleton's book, A FREE RANGE CHILDHOOD, is the only first-hand account to emerge from the school since Neill's death in 1973.

Matthew Appleton was a houseparent at Surnmerhill for nine years. He has lectured and written extensively on his experiences. He works as a psychotherapist and craniosacral therapist in England. He is also a folllower of the work of Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), whose friendship with Summerhill founder A.S.Neill's formed an important aspect of the lives and work of both men. Click here to read about Reich's pioneering work, which is only now beginning to be recognized by mainstream science, or here for more information about his life and the work of his heirs.

A Solomon Press Book

 Click here for info on how to order.