The history of Free to Learn

This movement began in 2015 with the cooperation of groups, families, individuals and organisations with the aim of ensuring the right to choose learning in Greece and wherever else the right is violated similarly.
Since then it has expanded into a call to build an International Community for Freedom of Choice in Learning.

In the European Democratic Education Conference, in 2018,  Jaacov Hecht, Derry Hannam, Peter Grey and Peter Hartkamp offered their coordinated assistance in developing an approach designed to be effective in countries where freedom of choice in learning is severely restricted. Here the movement was named Free to Learn.

From the beginning, the goal was to overcome obstacles through the creation of diverse ventures that work in combination and the creation of an increasingly strong nationwide network in close cooperation with the international network.

The three organisations described below have literally evolved from each other, with a specific strategy of partnership and mutual support and a common goal of the alliance for freedom of choice in learning inside and outside Greece.

Spring Academy started in 2015 as a study group for educational reform in Greece and in 2017 it evolved into an annual 5-day inter-age agile learning community.

 the immediate implementation of the right το choose what/when/how/with whom you learn with simultaneous action towards ensuring it.

Among many other things, members worked on the composition and submission of a comprehensive legal proposal to the Ministry of Education for fundamental reform of the Education System with the Greek Action for Human Rights “Pleiades” in 2015.
In 2016 they completed Start a School 101 with AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) creating a legal strategy, prototype Articles of Association and Guidance document specifically designed to overcome the limitations of the right in Greece and wherever else it is violated similarly.

This was followed in 2017 by the creation of EUDEC Greece, the Greek Regional Chapter of the European Community for Democratic Education (EUDEC).

Objective: promotion of Democratic Education and related alternative models in Greece in cooperation with the European and international community.

Among many other things, EUDEC Greece organised the Pan-European Conference on Democratic Education in Crete in 2018 (EUDEC18), and the “SYMPRAXIS – School Partnership for Democracy in Education” program approved by the Institute of Educational Policy (I.E.P.). Partnerships between EUDEC Democratic Schools and Greek Schools of Primary and Secondary Education with the aim of spreading Democratic Education tools.

The next step in 2019 was the creation of the EducationPlus Association “Community for Supporters of Alternative and Emancipatory Forms of Education.
It is the only Greek association for the defence of the right to free choice in the approach to learning and the first version of the prototype legal structure we created in 2016.

Among many other things, since 2020 the union is a legal representative of the branch of the European Community for Democratic Education in Greece (EUDEC Greece).

Here we have an example of the kind of legal collaborations we propose. We created a Greek Association that gives further legal effect to chapter of a European organisation in Greece.

We are now referring to the Association EducationPlus/Eudec Greece.

The next step in 2022 was the establishment of the Spring Academy Association “Intergenerational and Interdisciplinary Learning Community Without Borders” with the next evolution of the prototype legal structure to give decision-making rights to under 18s and to legitimise and normalise learning communities.

Spring Academy is a year-round international community of democratic, flexible and self-directed learning for all ages and socio-economic groups.

The goal 

  • to bring the responsibility and act of learning into the community.
  • to normalise learning communities as an option by and for all ages , which entails decision-making power for those under 18.
  • for learning environments which assure the inviolability of freedom of conscience to be available to all who wish to use them.
  • for this approach to learning to be legitimised, socially integrated and publicly available.


  • creating and connecting agile communities for learning which support and reinforce each other while maintaining their autonomy
  • expanding the potential of our prototype legal structure through its use by these communities independently and interconnectedly, to safeguard and propel freedom of choice in learning
  • Innovative hybrid use of new technology for learning; combining digital and actual localities to overcome restrictions in collaboration and coexistence beyond borders.

What we have done so far

  • We have established close partnerships with international organisations of utmost importance for educational reform.
  • We have connected European organisations with Greek ventures and created a regional chapter.
  • We have created prototype associations that give legal/political power to the regional chapter in the Greek context and openly and officially represent the movement.
  • We have brought together many ventures (formal and informal learning) within Greece
  • We have brought many pioneers and elders of the international community for training programs in Greece
  • We have implemented or supported implementation of the right to choose in learning in various parts of the country and abroad for the last 8 years.
  • We are developing a system of collective presentation/promotion/normalisation of the action and a platform of substantial hybrid cooperation.
  • We have created prototype open access Articles of Association and Guidance Document for autonomous and collective use. These are in both Greek and English.
  • We have translated books, articles, videos and more in to Greek
  • We have established relationships with legal and similar organisations inside and outside Greece for legal representation of the venture
  • We are evolving a legal strategy of association/twinning while maintaining the autonomy of the individual ventures towards the creation of an Interstate Union for Freedom of Choice in Learning and the implementation of an International Appeal for the redefinition of education