Recommended Research and reading on Democratic Education.



For information on how humans are hard wired to learn watch Peter Gray “Mother Nature’s Pedagogy: How Children’s Natural Curiosity, Playfulness, and Sociability Serve Their Education”.

Watch Self-Taught the movie for life stories about self-directed learner. Through the stories of six extraordinary individuals, Self-Taught explores what self-directed education means to them and the impact it has had on their lives, ambitions, work and beliefs.

Watch the documentary Being and Becoming which explores the theme of trusting children and their development and invites us to question our learning paradigms and options.

Research Articles

Democratic schooling: What happens to young people who have charge of their own education?
A follow-up study of the graduates of the Sudbury Valley School, a democratically administered primary and secondary school that supports Self-Directed Education.
Peter Gray & David Chanoff authors

Exploring Unschoolers’ Experiences In Learning To Read: How Reading Happens Within The Self-Directed Learning Environment.
Through interviews with twenty eight unschooled adults, the author explores how reading can be learned naturally, without adult intervention; and how this may effect later motivation for reading, writing, and other academic endeavors.
Gina Riley author

Framing Unschooling Using Theories Of Motivation.
Dr. Sherman utilizes research surrounding multiple theories of motivation to defend the practices of Self-Directed Education in unschooling.
Whitney Sherman author


Podcasts from Sudbury Valley School on several topics that affect school life.

Stream Sudbury Valley School | Listen to podcast episodes online for free on SoundCloud.

Recorded during the lockdown East Kent Sudbury School and Apline Valley School joined forces to create this inspiring and provocative look at self-directed learning.

Lockdown Learning on Apple Podcasts.

Alpine Valley School alumni share their stories from their childhoods at our self-directed school and talk about their chosen careers after graduation.

Resources — Alpine Valley School.