Making it Up as We Go Along: The Story of the Albany Free School

Front Cover
ERIC Clearinghouse, 1998 - Education - 136 pages
3 Reviews

Grades K - 5


Making It Up as We Go Along is the story of the Albany Free School, a school based on real freedom, real community, real democratic principles, and real affection between teachers and students. There, for over twenty-five years Chris Mercogliano has taught a never-ending variety of children-kids of all ages from every race and social class, from those with developmental and behavioral problems to the so-called "gifted." Thanks to this ongoing experiment in education, one of the longest running of its kind in America, Mercogliano has come to understand how children learn and above all, how important autonomy and authenticity are to the learning process.

There is no preset methodology to describe because Mercogliano and his students make it up as they go along. What the author does do is render into words some of the possibilities that abound when teachers and students learn together in an atmosphere of freedom, personal responsibility, and mutual respect. His book debunks many of the misconceptions about teaching and learning, including the belief that education requires a lot of money, sophisticated technology, and extensive specialized teacher training.

Mercogliano wrote this book with three broad goals in mind: to provide an in-depth history of the Free School, including a brief analysis of its place in the broader scheme of things; to describe the school in a way that is meaningful to both those who have some point of reference to the various alternatives to conventional schooling and those who do not; and to address certain fundamental subjects that are too often neglected in our national thinking about children: aggression, sexuality, race/class, and spirituality. In the process, he proves that teachers can help all students pursue their genius and their dreams through the union of self-direction, excitement, joy, and emotional honesty.

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Review: Making It Up as We Go Along: The Story of the Albany Free School

User Review  - Miriam - Goodreads

It's a must read for those interested in informal education and alternatives to traditional schools. Read full review

Review: Making It Up as We Go Along: The Story of the Albany Free School

User Review  - Troy - Goodreads

A beautiful ground-level outline of one solution to our educational crisis. Read full review

About the author (1998)

Chris Mercogliano has been a teacher at the Albany Free School since 1973 and codirector since 1985. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, and he is the author of Making It Up As We Go Along, and Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed. Mercogliano lives in Albany, New York.

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