“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”

John Holt

Curriculum at Brooklyn Free School is flexible and evolving, informed by observation of students, an understanding of child and adolescent development, student and teacher interests, and constructivist pedagogy. This approach to teaching supports students making connections, building on what they already understand, and creating knowledge.

On any day, at any moment, young people at BFS are involved in a wide range of activities. Some are spontaneous bursts of student initiative, like making a puppet show or creating a school newspaper; others are thoughtfully planned by teachers, like ongoing writing workshops, engineering projects, and creating a model UN. Some are individual pursuits, like building and decorating an elaborate cardboard house; others are group efforts, like putting on the annual school musical. All these activities offer many ways for young people to learn and many things for them to learn about.

Reading, writing, and math are woven into daily pursuits in the General School and are also the focus of book clubs, publishing parties, the math Olympics and other math events like Pi day. In the Middle & High School these skills are applied in history, literature, geography, philosophy, science, and a wide variety of other classes.


The Democratic Meeting is the heart and soul of Brooklyn Free School. Once a week the entire school comes together to make announcements, voice concerns, and work together to take responsibility for the governance and well-being of our school. Students learn to develop and advocate for proposals meant to solve problems in the community and to assess the solutions. Meetings are chaired or moderated by students. All students and staff have an equal vote in decision making.

The all-school Democratic Meeting takes place every Wednesday from 10:45 to 11:45 am.