Alexander Sutherland Neill Quotes

Alexander Sutherland Neill (17 October 1883 – 23 September 1973) was a Scottish educator and author known for his school, Summerhill, and its philosophies of freedom from adult coercion and community self-governance. Neill was raised in Scotland, where he was a poor student but became a schoolteacher. He taught in several schools across the country before attending the University of Edinburgh from 1908 to 1912. He took two jobs in journalism before World War I, and taught at Gretna Green Village School during the first year of the war, writing his first book, A Dominie's Log (1915), as a diary of his life as headteacher. He joined the staff of a school in Dresden in 1921, founding Summerhill upon his return to England in 1924. Summerhill received widespread renown in the 1920s/1930s and then in the 1960s/1970s, due to progressive and counterculture interest. Neill wrote 20 books in his lifetime, and his best seller was the 1960 Summerhill, a compilation of four previous books about his school. The book was a common ancestor to activists in the 1960s free school movement

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Alexander Sutherland Neill


There is never a problem child; there is only a problem parent

Alexander Sutherland Neill


Free children are not easily influenced; the absence of fear accounts for this phenomenon. Indeed, the absence of fear is the finest thing that can happen to a child.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


The function of the child is to live his own life - not the life that his anxious parents think he should live.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


Love and hate are not opposites. The opposite of love is indifference.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


The difficult child is the child who is unhappy. He is at war with himself; and in consequence, he is at war with the world.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


When my first wife & I began the school, we had one main idea: to make the school fit the child - instead of making the child fit the school.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


Take from others what you want, but never be a disciple of anyone.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


I answered that one learns to live, not by hearing of other lives, but by living; for words are infinitely less important than acts.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


It starts with a crush, it then may turn into love, and hopefully will end up as soulmates.

Alexander Sutherland Neill


I never once went to a prostitute, maybe because so many enthusiastic amateurs were around.

Alexander Sutherland Neill