Heart-based democracy

“Heart-based democracy is a form of democracy that flows from the wisdom of the heart. It is loving, empathetic and mindful.”

Pro­ba­b­ly as ear­ly as 1142, a si­mi­lar form of de­mo­cra­cy was estab­lished by De­ga­na­wi­dah, the so-called Gre­at Pea­ce­ma­ker, brought to the In­di­an peo­p­les of North Ame­ri­ca and an­cho­red in the Law of the Gre­at Peace. This law al­so ga­ve ri­se to the Se­ven Ge­ne­ra­ti­ons Prin­ci­ple which sta­tes that every ac­tion should be cho­sen in such a way that the co­ming ge­ne­ra­ti­ons, in­clu­ding the se­venth, will find a beau­tiful and liveable earth.

The so­cial or­der was ba­sed on the prin­ci­ple of who­len­ess in which man was per­cei­ved as a part of the who­le and the who­le as a part of man. In the coun­cil mee­tings, in ad­di­ti­on to clan lea­ders, or­di­na­ry men, wo­men, and child­ren we­re free to voice their con­cerns and par­ti­ci­pa­te in decision-making. Wo­men we­re equal to men and even held a cen­tral func­tion in the com­mu­ni­ty as so-called “Clan Mo­thers”. De­cis­i­ons we­re usual­ly ma­de by con­sen­sus, whe­re ever­yo­ne ac­tively par­ti­ci­pa­tes in fin­ding a de­cis­i­on, which is for the good of the com­mu­ni­ty, together.

The so­cial or­der ba­sed on the Se­ven Ge­ne­ra­ti­ons Prin­ci­ple has be­en and con­ti­nues to be prac­ti­ced by the Hau­de­no­sau­nee  (al­so known as the “peo­p­le of the longhouse”).

This law also gave rise to the Seven Generations Principle which states that every action should be chosen in such a way that the coming generations, including the seventh, will find a beautiful and liveable earth.

Our school

Our school is a loving space in which everybody can perceive and recognise themselves in their own wholeness, can be blissful, feel at ease with themself and fully develop their natural potential in a holistic way.

Our school is a lo­ving space in which ever­y­bo­dy can per­cei­ve and re­co­g­nise them­sel­ves in their own who­len­ess, can be blissful, feel at ea­se wi­th them­sel­ves and ful­ly de­ve­lop their na­tu­ral po­ten­ti­al in a ho­li­stic way.

Es­sen­ti­al school sub­jects such as Ma­the­ma­tics, Che­mi­stry, Bio­lo­gy, Phy­sics and Geo­gra­phy are com­bi­ned and taught at our school in a na­tu­ral, li­vely and crea­ti­ve way.

In ad­di­ti­on to the­se sub­jects, a broad ran­ge of lear­ning ex­pe­ri­en­ces are in­clu­ded, such as free play, han­di­crafts, theat­re, know­ledge of the wil­der­ness and per­ma­cul­tu­re, mu­sic and in­stru­ment play­ing, mo­ve­ment, Sla­vic cul­tu­re and its lan­guages, song and dance, phi­lo­so­phy and psy­cho­lo­gy, as well as gratitude.

Our school will open at the be­gin­ning of the 2023/24 school year as a pre­school, ele­men­ta­ry school and high school, in­clu­ding after-school ca­re, wi­th child­ren aged 5 to 16. The school may grow to a si­ze of 60 to 80 pu­pils in the first num­ber of years.


Free play, handicrafts, theatre, knowledge of the wilderness and permaculture, music and instrument playing, movement, Slavic culture and its languages, song and dance, philosophy and psychology, as well as gratitude.

Democratic education

At a democratic school people can independently decide what, when, how and with whom they want to learn.

The child­ren find them­sel­ves in mixed-age groups in harm­o­ny wi­th their in­te­rests and abili­ties. They na­tu­ral­ly switch from the ro­le of lear­ner to the ro­le of te­a­cher and vice ver­sa, ther­eby de­ve­lo­ping es­sen­ti­al com­pe­ten­ci­es of be­ing human.

Ac­cor­ding to neu­ro­bio­lo­gi­cal fin­dings, we learn par­ti­cu­lar­ly well when we fol­low our own in­qui­si­ti­ve­ness and in­te­rests. This is exact­ly what our school of­fers; a lo­ving space for free, self-motivated lear­ning at one’s own rhythm and pace, fol­lo­wing one’s in­ner compass.

This is how au­then­tic, hap­py, li­vely, self-aware and self-confident peo­p­le develop.

This is how authentic, happy, lively, self-aware and self-confident people develop.

Community living

Growth and development thrive particularly well in a loving environment in which we are seen, respected and valued.

At the Coun­cil mee­tings held at our school, all mem­bers of the school com­mu­ni­ty have equal vo­ting rights and all school re­la­ted issues are de­ci­ded for the good of the school.

Ex­pe­ri­ence shows that com­mu­nal li­ving in love and free­dom, joy and app­re­cia­ti­on, trust and cla­ri­ty, peace and gra­ti­tu­de lead to a he­alt­hy and blissful hu­mi­li­ty of being.

Gratitude acts as an anchor for happiness and leads to a healthy, as well as happy, humility of being.

Our place

Our location is a beautiful large forest area near the Malchetal. It is situated on a mountain, under tall pines and sparse birches, on the Klingenden Fließ between Falkenberg (Mark) and Bad Freienwalde (Oder), on the edge of Märkische Schweiz and Niederoderbruch.

In 1910 the fo­re­sted area was bought by the te­a­cher, pa­stor and foun­der of Mal­che, Ernst Loh­mann. In­iti­al­ly th­ree hou­ses we­re built; the en­ti­re pro­per­ty was struc­tu­ral­ly com­ple­ted and oc­cu­p­ied in 1911 and gi­ven the na­me “Uch­ten­ha­gen”, ac­cor­ding to a le­gend that the neigh­bou­ring cast­le ru­ins on­ce be­lon­ged to the von Uch­ten­ha­gen fa­mi­ly. The brot­her­hood of the Mal­che was born.

To­day this place be­longs to the Eli­sa­beth­stift and they have warm­ly in­vi­ted us to brea­the new life in­to it tog­e­ther wi­th them.

In 1910 the forested area was bought by the teacher, pastor and founder of Malche, Ernst Lohmann. 

Our schoolyard

We cook fresh food together every day in our own kitchen.

A va­rie­ty of dif­fe­rent ani­mals live on our pre­mi­ses, such as chickens, goats and a don­key, as well as bees.

In the gar­den we grow va­rious herbs, ve­ge­ta­bles, fruits and sweet­gra­s­ses. The sur­roun­ding fo­rest of­fers us an ab­un­dance of wild herbs and other nut­ri­tious tre­a­su­res. We cook fresh food tog­e­ther every day in our own kitchen.

Di­rect­ly in front of the school buil­ding we have a site, in Ger­man “Fest­platz”, whe­re we can play, dance, make mu­sic, mo­ve around and ce­le­bra­te an­nu­al fe­sti­vals together.

At our fire­place in the fo­rest, we sing, share ex­pe­ri­en­ces, tell sto­ries and cook food. It is a ma­gi­cal, blissful and peaceful place.

At our fireplace in the forest, we sing, share experiences and tell stories.

The Participants

”Education means seeing the child as a self-aware, thinking, feeling being with the destiny to express, that is, to live, in a self-determined and self-conscious way, the divine law that lies within him and is at work in everything.” Friedrich Froebel (1782 — 1852)

Tho­se in­vol­ved in the Frei­en­wald School are au­then­tic, lo­ving, warm, fle­xi­ble and ho­li­sti­cal­ly awa­re. They fol­low their he­art and per­cei­ve the child and the hu­man be­ing as a self-developing, di­vi­ne be­ing, who in­na­te­ly pos­s­es­ses wi­thin them the po­ten­ti­al to de­ve­lop their own self-awareness.

Wi­th their be­ing, do­ing and ac­ting the par­ti­ci­pan­ts are he­alt­hy ro­le mo­dels for the child­ren and con­vey to them, in a lo­ving and clear way, ho­li­sti­cal­ly he­alt­hy struc­tures, or­ders, know­ledge and va­lues. In ad­di­ti­on to the re­qui­re­ments of the sta­te, our te­a­chers have ad­di­tio­nal trai­ning in the fol­lo­wing areas:

Waldorf‑, Montessori‑, Wilderness‑, Experience‑, Theatre‑, and Cu­ra­ti­ve Education.

This field is sup­ple­men­ted by ex­tra­cur­ri­cu­lar ex­perts and spe­cia­lists, such as bee­kee­pers (Zeid­ler), song­wri­ters and ac­tors, as well as va­rious craft­smen and artists.

Our teachers have additional training in the following areas: Waldorf‑, Montessori‑, Wilderness‑, Experience‑, Theatre‑, and Curative Education. 

Thank you

Thank you for reading this page. 

Thanks to all the site co-creators. 

Thanks to all the companions. 

Thank you for allowing this school to be built. 


The Freienwald School is affiliated to the Gruene Quelle. e.V. (a registered association) 


Uch­ten­ha­gen 3

16259 Fal­ken­berg (Mark)



Grü­ne Quel­le e.V.

Son­nen­bur­ger Weg 4

16259 Bad Frei­en­wal­de (Oder)




Ber­li­ner Stra­ße 118

13467 Ber­lin