A democratic environment where students are allowed to pick and choose what they wish to learn is the type of environment that is the most conducive to learning.
From birth, humans are wired to want to learn. With little to no help from outside parties, babies learn to walk, talk and explore the world around them. That love of learning can continue for the rest of the child's life, but most traditional school environments stamp it out.
Rather than letting children follow their own interests, most schools force children into a narrow curriculum that is not necessarily well matched to their style of learning or their cognitive development. For instance, many schools push early reading to the great detriment of students who are right-brain learners. Unable to easily grasp the concept of reading, these children fall behind their peers, and they often develop insecurities that can last a lifetime.
At a democratic school, in contrast, students learn what they want when they want, and on average, students at these schools do not read until they are between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. Because they get to choose when they are ready to read (or study math, history, or science), these children are able to pick the right times for their brains. As a result of the democratic environment, these students are more engaged in the learning process, and they truly learn, rather than just regurgitating facts for a test and forgetting them.