European Forum for Freedom in Education - What is up in education?

What's up in education? Stay up to date with events in the area of education

What's up in education? Stay up to date with discussions, events and developments in the area of education 

The European Forum for Freedom in Education (effe) is a non-governmental organization working in the field of general education. effe is based in Germany and connects people all over Europe who want to shape the future of education.


We believe that a tolerant and  democratic society needs a free and diverse educational system. Our vision is of a Europe of peaceful neighbors and cultural diversity within and between countries. effe facilitates international exchange so that we can learn with and from each other across national boundaries.

You want us to publish your event, training opportunity or call for application? Please contact us.

Wings to fly with: little Big stories on learning

The little girl learned how to bike when she was around four years old. Her father held her bike in the back at first while running along. Soon she was enjoying her ride. She felt safe as she believed that her father was still behind her. She was stunned when she realised that he had fallen behind. She was biking all on her own.

The story about learning to bike was harvested at our story telling workshop in November 2023. You want to read other stories on learning? You will find more stories here: little Big stories.

Key Moments

Do you remember how you have mastered a skill which you are still enjoying today? How do you feel when you remember it?


Whether from our childhood, from later learning experiences or from encounters with children, many of us know these special moments: An observation makes us pause and reflect what has just happened. These key moments often impact our practices as parents or educators and shape our attitude towards learning more than any theoretic concept.

Sometimes, these experiences can be distilled into key moments - in this sense little Big stories are a collection of moments that matter. Learning to bike made the little girl in the story feel proud and capable to do something amazing. She was biking all on her own. 

We would like to hear about your experiences. In which way did they shape your attitude on learning? 


Your little Big story

Tell us your little Big stories and send them to  - you may also record your story as a voice message and send us an audio file.

Each of these little BIG stories on learning will be illustrated by an artist and the drawing will be sent to you as a small “Thank You”.  We will collect the stories and the illustrations in a compendium, which will be published on our homepage and later in print.

Your stories can be signed or anonymous. Please submit them in English, German or Greek, and we will take care of the translation.



Last but not least, we will also organise workshops, where little BIG stories are shared. Send us a short email if you are interested to join a workshop and we will keep you posted.

Are you not sure how to get going or want to share your stories with a group of other people? Write to us that you are interested to join an online workshop.

effe | Online Story-Telling Workshop “Special moments in my work as an educator”

Every educator knows those special moments in their daily work when an observation or an experience causes them to pause - when things realign and settle, something has slightly shifted. Experiences like this shape the attitude and beliefs of an educator more than any course of study. Sometimes these experiences are condensed into key moments. We would like to encourage an exchange among pedagogues about these moments.
In our online workshop, we want to explore these special moments from your pedagogical work. We invite you to share your with us on December 1, 2023 from 5 to 6 pm (CET).
Please register at and we will send you the link for the video conference so that you can join us. 
The workshop is the first step in a series of events where we want to explore “special moments” experienced by pedagogues in the work with children and young people.

effe | Online-Workshop on Adultism

We are happy to invite you to the digital, two-day workshop "Power relations between children and adults. A critical (self-)reflection on adultism", which will be facilitated by Katerina Varella and Anne-Sophie Winkelmann in the first weekend of May (6 and 7 May 2023).


You will find all the important details and more about the topic in the flyers below (in English, Greek and German). The workshop will be held in simple English.


Wir freuen uns, Sie und Euch zu dem digitalen, zweitägigen Workshop "Machtbeziehungen zwischen Kindern und Erwachsenen. Eine kritische (Selbst-)Reflexion über Adultismus" einzuladen, den Katerina Varella und Anne-Sophie Winkelmann am ersten Maiwochenende (6. und 7. Mai 2023 durchführen werden.


Alle wichtigen Details und mehr zum Thema finden Sie/ findet Ihr in den nachstehenden Flyern (auf Englisch, Griechisch und Deutsch). Der Workshop wird in einfachem Englisch gehalten.


EN | Inviation Workshop
EN Workshop Power relations between chil
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DE | Einladung Workshop
DE Workshop Machtverhältnisse zwischen K
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GR | Προσκλητήριο εργαστηρίου
GR Διαδικτυακό εργαστήρι για τον Ενηλικι
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Experiental Workshop on Adultism

We are excited to invite you to come to the Greek island Lemnos and to take part in the Experiental Workshop on Adultism. The workshop takes place on Sunday, April 30 from 10:30 to 13:30 and is facilitated by Katerina Varella und Ioanna Petritsi.


The Experiental Workshop on Adultism is hosted by effe and the program "Where is Ypsipili hiding?". The event will take place in the Lyceum Club of Greek Women

EN Invitation | Experiental Workshop on Adultism
EN Invitation Lemnos.pdf
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GR Πρόσκληση | Πειραματικό Εργαστήριο Ενηλικισμού
GR Invitation Lemnos.pdf
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Mikros Dounias | Intercultural Encounters | Publication of Booklets

Mikros Dounias | Intercultural Encounters | Cover illustration of booklet
Mikros Dounias | Intercultural Encounters | Cover illustration of booklet

The booklet on Intercultural Encounters documents the intercultural educational practices of Mikros Dounias and is available in English, German and Greek.

Mikros Dounias is an intercultural pedagogical project based on the Greek island of Lesvos. Amid the so called refugee crisis the people of Mikros Dounias created a place for local and refugee children of early childhood age to play and learn together in nature.


October 30, 2020 saw the evacuation of the PIKPA Open Refugee Camp, where the pedagogical project Mikros Dounias had been hosted during its first three years of operation. Since 2012, PIKPA had housed thousands of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers, with the help and constant struggle of many people, selforganized groups, organizatuons and above all the N.G.O. Lesvos Solidarity.


In December 2020, the pedagogical and administrative team of Mikros Dounias contacted the European Forum for Freedom in Education (EFFE) and the National Association of Free Alternative Schools of Germany (BFAS), suggesting that they support the documentation and dissemination of the intercultural educational practices of Mikros Dounias, as it had progressed within PIKPA Open Refugee Camp.


As a result of the cooperation, an Online Workshop on Intercultural Education took place and a booklet on International Encounters has been published. To read more about intercultural educational practices based on the work of Mikros Dounias, dowload the booklet on International Encounters which is available in English, German and Greek. The booklets are available for download in the EFFE blog.

Mikros Dounias | Online workshop on Intercultural Education on Thursday, June 10 from 5.30 to 7.30 pm (CET)

Best practice and innovation - Mikros Dounias
Best practice and innovation - Mikros Dounias

Best practice and innovation - Mikros Dounias on intercultural education in nature. How a small non-profit association on the Greek island of Lesvos faces the challenges of migration. Join our online workshop to learn more.

You are an educator and you are interested in best practice projects in the context of intercultural education? You are a member of a parent association or thinking of founding one? You are a political activist or an active citizen with an interest in innovative approaches? You are a scientist or student with an interest in social sustainability?


We invite you to join the online session on "Intercultural education in nature - How a small non-profit association on the Greek island of Lesvos faces the challenges of migration" which we are hosting in partnership with Mikros Dounias. The session takes place on Thursday, June 10, 2021 from 5.30 pm - 7.30 pm (CET).


Learn more about the humanitarian context on the Greek border island Lesvos, the grassroots community of famillies and educators who have created a "small world" of solidarity and hope, pedagogical tools and concepts and the values and challenges of intercultural learning in nature.


Join us and contribute your own experience and ideas in interactive sessions!


If you are interested to participate, please send an E-Mail to us in order to receive further information.


Research on the work of Mikros Dounias, conducted by by assistant professor Marit Heldal and her collegues from the Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Trondheim, Norway, has been recently published in the special issue of Sustainability on Reimagining Early Childhood Education for Social Sustainability in a Future We Want: Social Sustainable Education in a Refugee Camp (Heldal, M.; Hagen T.L.; Olaussen, I.O.; Haugen, G.M.D. Social Sustainable Education in a Refugee Camp. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3925. Https:// The article has been published as an open access article under the Creative Commons Distribution Licence.


effe Annual Assembly 2020 and open session on "Digital Learning"


Digital Learning - A fantastic opportunity to enhance creativity or a danger for the healthy development of children? We would like to hear about your views and experiences.

We invite you to join the online session on "Digital Learning - A fantastic opportunity to enhance creativity or a danger for the health of children?" which we are hosting as part of our annual assembly. The session takes place on November 28, 2020 from 4 pm (CET) onwards.


Georg Jürgens from the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) will provide input on "Age appropriate learning" and the author, former teacher and teacher trainer Edward Warren (Norway) will talk from a teacher's perspective about "The pros and cons of digital learning processes for children" .
The presentations will be followed by an open discussion. Angeliki Tseliou will contribute to the discussion regarding the project #NextStationVictoria, which was implemented in Athens this year, supported by the German Embassy in Athens and effe
In order to register and to receive information how to join the online session on "Digital Learning - A fantastic opportunity to enhance creativity or a danger for the health of Children?" please write an E-mail to us.


“Next Station: Victoria | Nächste Station: Viktoriaplatz”

After its decline from a wealthy area of residence in the 20th century, the area around Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, has become a multicultural area and, more recently, a hot spot for migrants. The Greeks who left the area after the Second World War share with the Syrian and Afghan refugees who have arrived at Victoria Square in the recent years a vision of Germany as a latter-day "Promised Land": While the former look(ed) at emigration as a way towards employment, the latter, provisionally "stationed" in Victoria Square, have fled their home countries and are anxious to to on and to reach their final destination to reconnect with family and friends and build a new life.


The project explores the recent history of the area in the context of the relations between Greece and Germany. Starting from this, participants have an opportunity to reflect on questions of coexistence and the preservation of collective memory, get to know their neighbourhood better and express themselves in creative ways.


The project focusses on 12-18-year-old students who live in the area of Victoria Square and come from diverse ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. 


Read more about Next Station: Victoria | Nächste Station: Viktoriaplatz.

"Next Station: Victoria" is a programme by Victoria Square Project with the collaboration of karpos, MONUMFENTA and the WORLD HUMAN FORUM. The programme is co-funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through funds of the German-Greek Future Fund. The harvesting publication is produced by the European Forum for Freedom in Education (effe).

The European Democratic Education Community is delighted to invite you to the 13th European Conference on Democratic Education in Bulgaria. 


The goals of the conference are: To present the democratic education to the Bulgarian society with lectures from well-known names in the field. To ensure the traditional creative and inspiring EUDEC conference's atmosphere as an annual meeting point for all people from the community. To share the experience of the Bulgarian people in the fields of interesting teaching methodologies, child development, risky play, play therapy, restorative practices, nonviolent communication, school mediation and group facilitation. To enjoy every moment, have fun and play together. To meet all the community with Bulgarian traditions, culture, nature, music and spirit.


Save the date for the LLLP Annual Conference 2020 which will take place in Zagreb, Croatia, from May 27th to 28th, 2020. 2020 will be a forward looking year in Europe: while the programme cycles will come to an end, it will also be the moment to assess whether the ambitions of the ET2020 and its indicators were met, and thus engage in the discussions on the next goals. To this extend, the LLLPlatform believes that sustainability - of learning and of education systems as a whole - shall be the polar star for Europe for the years to come. For our communities to be sustainable - socially, environmentally and economically - we believe that we should start by rendering our education systems sustainable. "Sustainable learning" is defined as inclusive, learner-centered and fostering personal development: just like our societies should be.

The EUDEC2018 takes place in Greece from August 1-7The conference will take place at the very hospitable village Astritsi in Crete. The speeches, workshops, games and warm conversations of the community will be surrounded by a traditional Greek scenery of unique natural beauty.

Conference goals:

  • To bring together all initiatives on alternative education in Greece.
  • To open the discussion on children’s rights in education.
  • To link education to social organization and facilitate a manifesto of social emancipation.
  • To contribute towards redefining democracy and imbuing democratic values.
  • To foster international and interclass networking.
  • To create open educational structures available to minorities, through cooperative initiatives.
  • To collect resources for the creation of a long term program introducing democratic methods in public schools.



Mikros Dounias means "small world" and is an initiative which is located on the island of Lesvos in Greece. The aim of Mikros Dounias is to support the co-existence of refugee and local children and their parents, so that they can create, learn and explore the world together.


We play and we learn together in nature. Playing involves the body and soul of the participant holistically, bringing balance and harmony and promoting action instead of passivity. It cultivates spontaneity, creativity and imagination. We believe in the freedom of choice and the right to participate. We want to create a feeling of safety, of being seen, listened to and respected. We uphold the principles of equality and integration. Contact with nature is of great importance for wellness and personal development. We want children to have the opportunity to move, play, observe and explore in natural environments throughout the year.


How do we work together? Parents, children, educators, volunteers, partners and members of Lesvos Solidarity are actively contributing to the organization of Mikros Dunias. Decisions are taken democratically and should enjoy wide acceptance. Children's opinions, needs and desires are of central importance.


Mikros Dounias is a project in cooperation with Lesvos Solidarity. Learn more about Mikros Dounias and support the project by donating once or on a monthly basis.


Lets make this small world a better place for everyone!




The International Togetherness Conference


Thursday 11 of October, 2018


How can schools splice individual fulfilment with social and political responsibility? What does it mean to work together for the common good? In a multicultural world, how can we develop our interdependence and our integrity to build a shared future?

In this second International Togetherness Conference, we shall explore the Power of Belonging.

The focus will be on schools as spheres of belonging, on integration and collective action, on promoting democratic understanding and empowering social and political engagement, on managing and enlivening togetherness.


The conference takes place at The Independent Academy for Free School Teaching.

The conference fee is 160 Euro (free for international participants). There are two options to visit a school in the area on Friday 12th of October, 2018.


More information


The conference is organized by The Efterskole Association, The Danish Friskole Association, The Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark, The Independent Academy for Free School Teaching. In partnership with effe.

Annual Conference - Lifelong Learning Culture: A Partnership for Rethinking Education

Life Long Learning Platform - Annual Conference 

"Lifelong Learning Culture: a partnership for rethinking education"

Vienna, July 5-6, 2018


What does it take to have a culture shift in education? Embracing a lifelong learning culture? Partnering up to rethink education? 

Facing the fourth industrial revolution requires a re-think of the different skills and competences we equip our citizens with; from universal thinking to social skills. In an increasingly globalised and interconnected world we can expect migratory flows that will require us to embrace cultural diversity on one side, and continuous learning on the other. This doesn’t apply to the younger generations only, as citizens of all ages are already facing these challenges. Hence, we need a comprehensive framework of key competences for lifelong learning informed with a holistic approach – across formal, non-formal and informal settings. If we want to ensure a better future of learning for all and truly “strengthen identity through Education and Culture”, our approach should be as innovative and inclusive as possible.

Find out more about the conference and the programme and how to register.

Crisis, resilience and the future of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe - Reflection Workshop of Practitioners and Scholars


The Bosch Alumni Network has invited a diverse group of practitioners and thinkers from civil society, public administration, media and think tanks to to jointly start answering the question: What is taking place in CEE these days when it comes to the state of democracy and what follows from that for us, who care about its future?

The workshop takes place from November 23-25, 2017 in Berlin.

effe has been invited to join the workshop and to contribute to the discussion from the perspective of education. 


CitizensLab prototype for education

CitizensLab is on its way from the pilot stage to becoming a community of practice. The members of CitizensLab have discussed their vision for Europe in 2030 and have formed working groups who are working together to develop prototypes. Right now there are four project teams with members from different European countries who are preparing cross-sectoral prototypes. The issues which are addressed are educationdemocracysocial inclusionurban transformation and art and culture.


effe is a member of CitizensLab and is involved in the development of a prototype in the area of education.

Competendo - Methods and Inspiration for Empowerment

Competendo offers experience, methods and inspiration for empowerment in community, school, organization, non-formal group or institution.

How to inspire personal, professional and societal development? The Competendo team have developed a collection of well-tried innovative approaches and methods by trainers for trainers, teachers and facilitators. 

Competendo is a cooperation between five civil society organizations. MitOst in Germany, Südwind in Austria, Ideas Factory in Bulgaria and Working Between Cultures in Poland who are developing and implementing educational programs, developing handbooks and offer qualification for activists and professionals in formal- and non-formal education and in civil society. Together they are advocating for the ideas of empowerment and active citizenship.

MitOst Festival 2017 in Frankfurt (Oder)/ Słubice

The 15th International MitOst Festival takes place in Frankfurt (Oder)/ Słubice from October 4-8 2017.


MitOst connects active citizens in Europe and its neighbouring regions. MitOst implements programmes and projects which foster cultural exchange, active citizenship, social cohesion and participatory urban and rural designs beyond cultural, sectoral or political borders.


The international MitOst Festival is a meeting point for all those who are interested in cultural and civic exchange in Europe and its neighbouring regions. It brings together thinkers and activists, experts and newcomers.


For further information go to the website of MitOst Festival.


effe is a member of CitizensLab which has been initiated by MitOst.

Diversity in Democratic Education - EUDEC conference 2017

The EUDEC conference will be held from August 19-27, 2017 in Paris. EUDEC invites you to live democratic education through open workshops, informal sharing and conferences. The theme of the Paris conference is "Diversity in Democratic Education".


Conference on Learning & Teaching for a new era in Wales

The Welsh conference on Learning & Teaching for a new era takes place at June 28, 2017 in Llanelli. Speakers are Dr. Bill Maxwell (Education Scotland), Fiona Carnie (European Forum for Freedom in Education), Beatriz Pont (OECD), Gareth Morgans (Carmarthenshire Council), David Taylor (Stanley Park High School) and Mette Hauch (Autens Future Schools Denmark).


If you have further questions or would like to participate please contact Adele Davies.

The conference is organized by effe (European Forum for Freedom in Education), Sir Gâr Carmarthenshire (Cyngor County Council) and Prifysgol Cymru (University of Wales).

Lifelong Learning Platform - Annual Conference 2017

The annual conference of the Lifelong Learning Platform takes place from May 31 to June 01, 2017 at Tallinn University in Estonia. Register now for the conference!


Digitalization is ever growing and will inevitably affect all sectors. Yet we still struggle to understand the extent of it and few are fully prepared for it: there is a change in the nature of the race between man and the machine, and the machine is running faster. The challenge of education in a digital world commands us to open education as widely as possible to include all, through flexible pathways and innovative thinking in order to enable all to adapt to yet unknown developments. How can lifelong learning answer these challenges in order to insure universal access to digital education?

Fachtag des BFAS 2017 - Alternativschule morgen: Pädagogik jenseits von Reform

Bundesverband der Freien Alternativschulen e.V. (BFAS)

Der diesjährige Fachtag des Bundesverbandes der Freien Alternativschulen (BFAS) "Alternativschulen morgen: Pädagogik jenseits von Reform" findet am 17. Mai 2017 in Kassel statt.


Ist der freie Zugang ins Internet die Voraussetzung für eine Schule von morgen? Oder zerstört dieser vielmehr schulische Lernprozesse und soziale Beziehungen? Hat Schule als gesellschaftlicher Ort von Bildung überhaupt eine Zukunft? Und wenn ja: Welche? Wenn nein: was kann an ihre Stelle treten?


Auf dem Fachtag 2017 sollen gemeinsame und konkrete Perspektiven für zukunftsfähige Schulen entwickelt werden. Er ist Anstoß für einen zukunftsoffenen Produktion Lernprozess für Schulen jenseits von Reform.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt - Schools of tomorrow

Which educational futures could guide our thinking and actions if we see schools as laboratories of tomorrow´s society? What do digitalization and demographic transition mean for learning in a migration society? And in what ways can art advance change?


At the kick-off conference "Schools of tomorrow" at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin from 2017, May 4-6, educational theorists and practitioners will discuss how schools can shape the future with teachers, parents, students and artists.

“Schools of Tomorrow” takes place as part of the HKW series 100 Years of Now.

International Democratic Education Conference

Register now for the International Democratic Education Conference
Register now for the International Democratic Education Conference


The International Democratic Education Conference will take place in Hadera in Israel from March 28 to April 3. The IDEC 2017 brings together experts, educators and democratic education lovers in an exciting learning environment. 


Read more about the International Education Conference or register for the conference.


Freie Schule Spatz - Offenburg Resolution

We have had a very successful board meeting and members’ assembly in Offenburg. The festivities around the 20th Anniversary of Freie Schule Spatz were great and inspiring. Thanks for hosting us!


Part of the meeting was a resolution stating the fundamental right to education for refugees and displaced people. The declaration refers to the "Offenburger Erklärung" of 1847. The right to education for all people includes the right to education for refugees and displaced people, the root causes for flight and migration and the conditions and the impact should be part of an open debate in society and should be implemented in school curricula.

Offenburger Erklärung zum Grundrecht auf Bildung für geflüchtete Menschen
Erklärung zum Grundrecht auf Bildung für geflüchtete Menschen unter Bezugnahme auf die Offenburger Erklärung von 1847
Offenburger Erklärung.pdf
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News from Bruxelles

Visit EUCIS-LLL website to see the latest news from Bruxelles regarding education and learning.