<Freie Schule Heckenbeck> - information for student or staff exchanges

Adress of school:

Freie Schule Heckenbeck; Kreuzstr. 13; 37581 Bad Gandersheim
contact: buero at freie-schule-heckenbeck.de

Number of students and staff; age range:

90 - 110 students in the age from 6-16; 10-12 people in the staff

Describe the location/surroundings:

Heckenbeck is a charming small village with 480 inhabitants situated between Hannover and Goettingen next to a small town called Bad Gandersheim in Lower Saxony, (pretty much in the middle of) Germany. There is a train station 3 kilometres from Heckenbeck in Kreiensen and it takes about half an hour to get from there to either Goettingen or Hannover.
The village community in Heckenbeck is generally friendly and open-minded. It is one of the few places in the countryside in Germany where people actually move to (in many cases our school is one of the reasons). Other projects like organic farming, a cultural association with a theatre or a meditation centre for example, have developed over the last 25 years. 

Description of school's concept:

The kids learn:

• at their own pace

• taking classes they are interested in

• working by themselves in a prepared environment 

• by helping each other and giving each other feedback

• by getting personal coaching from their school counsellor

At the moment we have 92 kids from age 6 to 16, divided into three groups (Primaria, Sekundaria, Tertia) and 10 staff-members. About 7 adults work in school each day to be available, support if necessary, give classes and run the everyday-day-organisation. We also usually have one or two young social service workers, aged between 19 and 24, each year supporting our staff.
We base our work on the experiences of Rebecca and Mauricio Wild and Maria Montessori. We are also connected to the democratic school movement (IDEC/EUDEC).

Who decides whether or not a student can come for exchange:

staff and school assembly

Contact person:

Nora Fahle, Felix Ordemann

How many students could you host:

2 students (if it's a group, maybe more)

For what duration:

1-4 weeks (maybe longer)

What age-range would you welcome:

12-18 years

Do you have host-families:


What is the main/only language spoken at your school; what other languages are spoken:

German; some English

Would the exchange student have to pay tuition; could tuition be exchanged for a free exchange opportunity for students of your school at the school of your guest?:

No, they wouldn't have to pay tuition.

Are there any expenses for staying in the host family:

depends on the family, we would have to talk about that.

Can you provide basic info on daily expenses (food, transportation) in your city:

not very high

Have you had previous experiences with student exchanges or hosting a student? what was positive/negative?:

We only had a student exchange with groups of students from the Free School in Freiburg.
That was very nice.

Do you have experience with raising funds for travel expenses?:


Can you put down a holiday schedule for your school? are there times when you wouldn't welcome students:

Holidays are different every year; please have a look in the Internet for more information. A period, where it is difficult for us to host students is from February to April.

Are you also interested in staff exchange? what are your ideas for such an exchange?:

Yes, but we don't have an exact idea of it yet.