A.S. Neill’s experiences establishing his international school in Hellerau, Germany, in 1921-23, during the Weimar Republic


Dissatisfied with traditional schooling, with its lack of freedom, democracy, and self-determination, A. S. Neill began searching for a place to establish his own school and to experiment with his developing ideas, gathering what was best in the educational systems of various nations. In 1921 he became a co-director of the Dalcroze School in Hellerau, a suburb of Dresden, Germany. Part of an international school called Neue Schule, the Dalcroze supported the study of Eurythmics. Neill’s first step was to buy a dictionary and start to learn the language, the next was to record his impressions. His difficulties were many. With cheery optimism the bohemian teacher overlooked the fact that he was in a community with definite laws on education; he also quite forgot the difficulties of finance. There was also the tragic fact that the Dominie’s favourite tobacco was unobtainable within five hundred square miles.