Our Philosophy

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child’s natural bent.
Plato, The Republic, Book Seven

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Albert Einstein

We believe that a student’s true intelligence has as much to do with sensitivity and compassion as it does with technical skill and competence. It is a delicate balance of heart and mind. At The Tutorial School, students and staff interact based on mutual respect and cooperation—they learn together and run the school together. The school has a flat power structure. From the beginning of civilization, philosophers have written on the subject of child education. The quotes from Plato and Albert Einstein that appear in the margin are two noteworthy observations that resonate with our philosophy at The Tutorial School.

Classical Greek Ideal

At The Tutorial School we emphasize the classical Greek ideal of the person as a whole human being. “ΓΝΩΘΙ ΣΑΥΤΟΝ” – “know yourself” is inscribed in the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. It is as significant now as then. This requires time for reflective thought as well as open discussion.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Tutorial School is to nurture in children confident self-determination, independent creative thought, and affective self-knowledge. This is accomplished through the process of students being responsible for their own education while sharing power in the governing of the school as active members of the community.

Democratic Schools

In the modern world, democratic schools have evolved from a variety of global educational movements. The oldest continuously running democratic school is Summerhill, founded in 1921 in Suffolk, England. Here in the United States, Sudbury Valley School, in Framingham, Massachusetts, is the most famous example of the Free School Movement of the 1960s. The third wave of Democratic Schools began in the 1980s and has been growing ever since. There are now at least 270 Democratic Schools in 35 countries with exponential growth occurring on a yearly basis. (See directories of democratic schools at AERO and IDEN.)

International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC)

IDEC is a global conference that promotes democratic education through the exchange of ideas. Since 1993, educators, students, parents and organizers have gathered at the International Democratic Education Conference, hosted each year by a different country. The hosting country presents the unique concepts of their democratic schools that reflect their specific culture.

We participated in our first IDEC in Japan in 2000. We took eight students to the conference. Since then, we have taken students to India, Germany, Canada, Korea and Israel to attend conferences. The learning experience for our students is remarkable. It provides opportunities to network with students from all over the world, travel in foreign countries, actively participate in the proceedings, and make a lasting impression on the attendees. The Tutorial School always makes a lasting impression. (Learn more here.)


The Tutorial School is based on decades of professional learning experience and readings of some of the most seminal and progressive works of educational literature. Here is a bibliography of our major influences.

Carl Rogers

  • Freedom to Learn
  • Freedom to Learn for the 80’s
  • On Becoming a Person

A.S. Neill

  • Summerhill
  • Freedom – Not License!

Grace Llewellyn

  • The Teenage Liberation Handbook

Riane Eisler

  • The Chalice and the Blade

Robin Grille

  • Parenting for a Peaceful World

Mary Pipher

  • Reviving Ophelia

Marshall Rosenberg

  • Nonviolent Communication

Daniel Greenberg, Mimsy Sadofsky et al.

  • Free at Last
  • Legacy of Trust
  • Announcing a New School
  • Starting a Sudbury School
  • Child Rearing
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Kingdom of Childhood
  • The Sudbury Valley School Experience

David Gribble

  • Real Education: Varieties of Freedom
  • Lifelines

Steven Harrison

  • The Happy Child

Maria Montessori

  • The Absorbent Mind

William Martin

  • The Parent’s Tao Te Ching

Dana Bennis & Isaac Graves

  • The Directory of Democratic Education

Daniel Quinn

  • Ishmael
  • My Ishmael
  • The Story of B
  • Beyond Civilization
  • Providence
  • Tales of Adam
  • A Newcomer’s Guide to the Afterlife

Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • Education and the Significance of Life