There’s a saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The 15 year anniversary was wonderful. We had planned to do s’mores by the fire, but the weather was not so conducive. Anyway, we had boxes of graham crackers left over. It being the holiday season there was talk of gingerbread houses. This is what came of that.
(Staff member Mark McCaig offered the following at the November 23rd open mike commemorating Fairhaven School’s first fifteen years.)
So I looked up fifteen year anniversary gifts, and it’s apparently crystal and I thought crystal watches, so time, how do we mark time? People say wow, fifteen years of the school and I think sometimes it seems like a hundred and others it seems like none, still I cannot describe what happens here, not completely, so I fixate on little things, like words, even a minor word like “or”: in favor or opposed? Basketball or Apples to Apples? Lunch or knitting? Improv or iPhone? Pokemon or Smash Brothers? Poop smoothie or the name game? Thesis or return? And maybe this is it, this freedom to choose, maybe this is the epicenter of Fairhaven, like the student who’s chosen to chart sunspots or the one whose red shoelace I broke when tying his hightops on the basketball court who chose to come to the creative writing workshop and hung around after, dictating his first poem to me, titled The Galaxy In Front Of Ours, who pointed at his head saying the factory of ideas in here are trying to get out. Choices: skateboarder or ballerina? Fair trade chocolate or Hershey’s? American elm or black haw? Deejay or bank teller? Andrew or Joe? Mastodons or cougars? Now or later? Fifteen years, so now we know the answer can also be “and,” as in now and later, as in this room works for weddings and funerals, as in both, still the possibility for “or” even creates the “ands,” and that first year we wrangled about consensus, finally raising our hands in favor or opposed and “or” held the day, and downstairs you can read the record of that vote alongside ten thousand other votes, ... Read More
(Last weekend we celebrated fifteen years of Fairhaven School with various activities on campus, including an open Microphone. Parent Lisa Speigner, who was out of town, wanted to share the following piece. Look for more posts from the evening soon!)
Although writing has always been a relatively effortless outlet for my creative expression, for some reason, whenever I try to write about the impact Fairhaven has had on me I find myself with a serious case of writer’s block. I have found it hard to put into words events that have so profoundly changed me in such unexpected ways. However, with Fairhaven School’s 15th anniversary coming, I was determined to get something on paper to share. I hope I can do it justice.
Aside from the positive changes Fairhaven and the Sudbury model of education has had on my daughter, I continue to be amazed at how it has changed ME. From my first school meeting, I began to realize that Fairhaven isn’t just about kids, a lack of homework, JC, the freedom to cuss if you want to, or some academic discussion about what education is or isn’t. It is about people, acceptance, individuality, and learning to find joy in “being” rather than doing.
Even though, initially, Fairhaven was about finding a safe place for my daughter, it has become an oasis of peace for me. As a black woman in America, I had come to expect to be judged harshly and treated unfairly because of stereotypical portrayals of what women who fit my profile are supposed to be. Sitting in my first Fairhaven meeting, where I happened to be the only black person in the room at the time, I was acutely aware of a strange sensation…the feeling that no one was judging me. I sensed that I was being observed ... Read More
As usual, Fairhaven School students (and staff) got into the Halloween spirit this year. Check out this slideshow.
Fairhaven School celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. With it will come a fun-filled celebration sure to have something for everyone on November 23rd. Amongst other things, we are planning to dedicate a new tree in the Circle Garden, collaborate on participatory art installations, and have a Words in the Woods reading with alumni novelist Max Neely-Cohen.
To commemorate the occasion a new T-shirt is here!!!
I created the graphic on the T-shirt on a website called Wordle.net, which allows you to make visual “word clouds” out of any text you enter. Words vary in size from smallest to largest (and therefore importance) according to the amount of times they were used in the text that was entered. Wordle allows for some manipulation of font, color, etc. (or you can let the computer randomly choose those elements) but after that you just keep pushing “return”, allowing the site to create various combinations until you get a cloud you like. It’s fun, addictive, and is a little like playing a slot machine and ending up with some weird refrigerator Magnetic Poetry!
This graphic was created by using the text from the “about” page on the Fairhaven School website, with the exception of names, which were removed, and the addition of “15years” entered MANY times so it would both stay together as one item and appear largest. I then played with it until things like School Meeting and Fairhaven School ended up together.
With the final touches of the school logo of the Old Building porch with a student in the rafters, and fall colors (the green shirt was a unanimous choice as being “very Fairhaven” by all students and staff polled), the graphic was complete! We hope you will consider purchasing one (or more) of these unique T’s to show your school pride. ... Read More
As an arts educator and alumni parent of Fairhaven School, I have experienced instances
where I have had to validate to friends, parents, colleagues, etc. why I felt a Sudbury
model education was preferable over a traditional public school one. While the Sudbury
philosophy is not new, it goes against the paradigm formed during the industrial
revolution. Often when talking about Fairhaven School and the Sudbury model, I use the same
talking points that Sir Ken used in this video.
(Fairhaven School parent Renee Switzer wrote the following post for her educational blog. Enjoy!)
I’m so excited to finally meet Peter Gray! He’s coming to speak at my oldest daughter’s school, Fairhaven School, which is the oldest Sudbury school in Maryland. We are lucky to live near it, since there are only a few democratic schools in the world, although there are the most in the U.S (according to the list of Sudbury schools on Wikipedia).
When I first heard about the democratic school model, I didn’t give it more than a passing thought. I didn’t take it more seriously until I met Barbara Dewey’s granddaughter, and I realized the KIND of people who come out of a democratic school environment. This articulate, compassionate, bright young woman was simply a phenomenal individual!
So I began to research the model and was particularly interested in it for the middle school years. My school subscribes to the American Journal of Play, which is a wonderful peer-reviewed journal, and is available in print or free online. This was where I discovered Peter Gray.
Dr. Peter Gray does his research on the value of play in education, and uses Sudbury schools as the venue for his research. They are valuable schools for this type of research because the self-directed model allows for time in the day for play, and the mixed age framework (ages 5-18 at our nearby school) allows for interesting research in the quality of play among mixed ages. The first article of his that I read was Play as a Foundation for Hunter-Gatherer Social Existence. Intrigued, I read more of his work. I liked The Special Value of Child’s Mixed-Age Play, but Playing in the Zone of Proximal Development: Qualities of Self- Directed Age Mixing between Adolescents and Young ... Read More