Rise and Shine International Democratic Secondary School


Rise and Shine International Democratic Secondary School is a start-up democratic school registered at Eudec, European Democratic Education Community. And juridically chained to the company Ariella Gracia registered at the Chambers of Commerce in Amsterdam under number KvK 51096617. We started this project in the Algarve in 2021, and have been travelling to find a right location for it. Also looking for business angels.

Rise and Shine International Democratic Secondary, is a school specialized in neuro-divergence and learning. Neuro- divergence is an umbrella term for high-sensitivity, high-giftedness and visual thinking. Twenty percent of all students in schools worldwide are physically neuro-divergent right now. It is a physical characteristic. In our school we see it as a talent, to be explored as such and not to be adjusted to a system, or suppressed to be used only for 10%. That would be like asking a top football player to win a match using one leg only.


Democratic education is as old as hundred years. In 1921 the first prototype democratic school started in USA, Summerhill. Sudbury Valley (USA) and Hadera (Israel) followed. Around the world democratic education has been widely accepted as a special form of regular education. In democratic schools students have the right to make their own choice regarding learning and all other areas of everyday life. In particular they may determine what to do, when, with whom and how, so long as their decisions do not infringe on the liberties of others to do the same. Responsibility for oneself and as well for each other, well being quotient, is another pilar. Ethics, emotional intelligence and the interconnection of students, parents and teachers as well is a founding principle. Students have an equal share in the decision making as to how their organization. School attendance in our school not necessarily leads to a final exam or to any exam or test. It is the students and parents choice.

Ideological embedding

Rise and Shine Democratic is an International Secondary school, in which we use holacracy, deep democracy, democracy for the intelligent (to the advice of Socrates). Holacracy is a way of organization that flows away from a pyramid power driven organization to a horizontal organization where each and everyone has independence to develop their tasks according to their own insights and cooperate with each other and share. It is a set of tools. Deep democracy is a method to value and include the opinion and views of the minority, to avoid sabotage and to maximize potential. As the latter two techniques were designed for companies they can be applied in schools as well, (almost replacing sociocracy). The practice of non-violent communication (Rosenberg) and the inspiration giving by the Japanese teacher Toshiro Kanamori (Children full of Life -documentary) are applied to help us grow consciousness about ourselves and the world. We make an attempt to embrace new economic models based on abundance, community and sharing instead of on exchange which is based on the principles of scarcity, separation and never ending competition (such as explained by Charles Eisenstein and many others). Our school as well embraces gender awareness, in the Northern European, classical feminist/humanistic sense. Girls are human beings first and then girls. Boys are human beings first, then boys, and not example humans. As far as violence is concerned our school will be connected to L’ Observatoire de la Violence Educative Ordinaire, in France, of Olivier Maurel. Parents of our students are recommended to read the works of Maurel.

Human Rights

In our school special attention is paid to education in human rights and civil rights. There has been a worldwide phenomenon of governments striving for the realization and respect for human and civil rights. Within the walls of schools however these rights seem to be absent. This causes a lot of unnecessary suffering for mainly students but as well for parents. Our school is a pilot in acknowledging human and civil rights within the walls of a school. We will as well actively teach about civil and human rights.

Cooperation with the world at large

It takes a whole village to raise a child is an saying from African countries and cultures. It points to some structures which have gone lost in our own culture, because we lost our sense of community through various mechanisms, amongst which religion which promoted the nuclear family as corner stone of society and capitalist economy which isolated the individual from nature, itself and from others. To offer our students the proper chances they deserve we organize periods of work or study for them in the outside world. The school invites the outside world in the school, to form a vibrant community of entrepeneurs, craftspeople and professionals offering insight and experiences in a teenager friendly way into their bizniz and skills. This could even be paid. Think of an architect, a bakery, a famous ballet dancer, a car mechanic, a perma-culture project, adopting a student a few weeks and taking it along the skills and giving assignments and teaching some. If a students falls in love with a profession she/he could continue learning on the spot. Individually tailored and overseen by the school and parents. If students do not want to engage in outside school learning they can develop their own 3 months learning plan, which can be about almost everything. Curriculum learning also is a possibility and can be offered digitally, and is real time adaptive. We do value personal humanized learning highest though, but might not be able always to offer that as the school needs t develop and we do pay our teachers a full and decent teachers salary. We design personally attuned teaching material if asked by students. We do have a monitoring system, which is fully transparent. It is accessible for parents, students as well as for teachers any time anywhere. A portfolio is created in this way and comments from parents, students and teachers can be accessed by each at any given moment. Each 3 months, the student designs a program for her/himself. At the end/beginning of this 3 months period the learning experience is reviewed by the student and teacher and parent, and deepening or new techniques or another program can be designed. It is very important for interested students that they are able to carry responsibility, as well as a learning process and have some knowledge of discipline as deep devotion/love.


This school is dedicated to my son and to all kids and teens who are neuro divergent by birth and who ran into the walls of school systems that are not yet prepared understanding or seeing them or reality. Their right to education and their duty to go to school had become two different things, far apart from each other. To fulfill their Childrens’ Right to fitting education and for them to Rise and Shine! Neuro divergence is the talent of the future.

Schoolguide, Pre-registration form and legal details

A schoolguide can be send to persons with great interest. Your filled in pre- registration form, would be a great gift for us in this phase to show the importance and need for our school to authorities. Filling in and returning the form will not bind you to actual attendance. Only a Registration form will. Both schoolguide and pre-registration form can be send to you on request. Use the contactform on this website to get in touch with us and for all further questions.

Our school is registered at EUDEC as a start-up initiative, registered in The Netherlands, at the Chambers of Commerce under number KvK 51096617 as a small enterprise. We are working on recognition from governments when we will have found the right location.

For information about Ariella Gracia see page on Specialist Neurodivergent Learning on this website.

Parents & Communication

Communication with parents has been severely neglected in education to date. Rise and Shine International realizes the vulnerability of parents in education and sees it as a task to empower parents. Parents’ civil and human rights often disappear in a school, even in democratic and alternative schools. At the same time they bring the persons that are most dear to their heart to a school en trust them in the care of a total stranger. The vulnerability and unnaturalness of this act often is ignored totally. As a documentary maker in the field of educational innovation in interviews with many parents worldwide, Ariella Gracia has encountered a lot of hidden suffering among parents caused by the way they were treated by schools and teachers. We want to change something in this area. Tilt parenting a platform for parents by parents with differently wired children, already is a start for parents to start with this change. (www.tiltparenting.com)

Copyrights by Ariella Gracia

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