Ep 05 - Nergis El Berria - Freedom Cake

Brief intro

Nergis El Berria is a founding staff member at Ecole Dynamique Paris - a democratic School based on Sudbury Valley School model. After graduating from a business school in France and venturing into corporate HR, Nergis turned her attention towards education, first as a teacher in the public sector and later on the democratic school network.  

In this episode, we uncover the story of Ecole Dynamique, the philosophy behind Sudbury School model and the possibilities of self-organized learning around kids’ interests and passions. We also hit on some critical aspects such as accessibility, parents involvement, funding, social paradigms, jobs and more.


Show notes

03:25 - A letter to my past-self

4:20 - My story, the morning routine and how I got into Ecole Dynamique

7:30 - A wow learning experience. On failure and success

10:00 - The concept of Ecole Dynamique. The story.

15:10 - Inspirations for the school. Early struggles

21:30 - The space and early funding story 

23:00 - The structure/processes at ED school

25:30- The freedom cake 

27:30 - Clubs and learning activities. Access to tools/equipment 

34:30 - Checklist for staff and member recruitment 

40:00 - Parents and trust issues

42:00 - On evaluation and fitting in the society

46:00 - Student-run Starbury cafe  

48:40 - On technology use at school

52:20 - Community question: Raphael Ungar, Vienna.

55:30 - Community question: Floris Koot, Amsterdam.

1:00:00 - The future of education. Starting a democratic school and the purpose of schools.

01:09:30 -  Resources and advice for educators

01:13:00 - Advice for pupils / students

01:14:40 - 3 actions as the Minister of Education

01:16:40 - "Miss France" message to the world

01:18:00 - Open Mic moment

01:21:00 - A question for the next experimentQ guest

01:24:00 - Ways to get in touch

01:25:00 - The secret message



  1. Nonviolent Communication

  2. Deschooling Society

  3. The power of Vulnerability

  4. Free to Learn

  5. The Pursuit of Happiness



  1. Daniel Greenberg

  2. Ramin Farhangi

  3. Francois Taddei

  4. Brene Brown

  5. Ricardo Semler

  6. Sugata Mitra


Links / Resources

  1. Documentary - Being and Becoming

  2. Ecole Dynamique

  3. Sudbury Valley School

  4. EUDEC France

  5. Ecole Democratic de Paris

  6. The Choice of School Members / The Choice of parents