The Circle School

A Self-Directed Democratic School

Freedom · Responsibility · Community

The Circle School is...

  • Effective: Happy kids practicing life, democracy, and community.
  • Open: Welcoming all who can thrive, preschool thru high school.
  • Convenient: Free bus service from 12 school districts. Minutes from downtown Harrisburg.
  • Affordable: Financial aid for most families.
  • Proven: Since 1984, and akin to Sudbury Valley School and dozens of other self-directed democratic schools.

When Kids Rule the School

a new book from Circle School founder and staff member Jim Rietmulder

About The Circle School

The Circle School is an independent self-directed democratic school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. An alternative to public and traditional private schools, we serve approximately 70 to 90 preschool, elementary, and high school-aged children from ages 4-1/2 through about 19. The Circle School’s innovative program balances freedom, responsibility, and community. Here, students learn not just academics, but also how to navigate their world, how to advocate for themselves, and how to be productive members of a thriving community.

The school’s 8-acre campus includes woods, creek, amazing sledding hill, play fields, and more. With no classrooms and no rows of desks, the 9,000-square-foot building is designed and built for kids practicing life and community: art, science, playroom, computer lab, library, cooking kitchen, “court room,” music studio, eatery, large Commons, all-gender restrooms, and more.

This is integral education in a small-scale working democracy. Start exploring now or request a free information package!

The Circle School

The Circle School is located at 727 Wilhelm Road (corner of Harwood and Wilhelm) — about a half mile south of Union Deposit Road on Progress Ave, then one block east on Harwood. Phone 717-564-6700.