Sudbury School News From Around the World

Sticks and stones

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:59
Yes, they can break bones.  But sticks and stones, are more importantly, the life blood of a great deal of imaginative play here and indeed not used to wound at Sudbury Valley at all. People sometimes look around the our … Continue reading →


News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Tue, 12/17/2013 - 09:37

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.



Ruth Yamamoto


Open House for Mrs. Peacock

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:19
This week’s post was written by staff member Jay Flood. I’ve grown to love the interactions with the guests at Open House. It’s fun to stumble onto someone who has little or no knowledge of the school, and also to … Continue reading →

Morning at Sudbury Valley

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Tue, 12/10/2013 - 10:21
Mimsy is back this week with another behind-the-scenes look at the life of the school. Not so many of us are here at 8:30. Just enough for a gentle but lively start to the day. But when I retreat to … Continue reading →

Another Fifteen Years Post

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:07

(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

The thing about gingerbread houses

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 12/02/2013 - 10:53
This week’s post was written by our head gingerbreadologist, Mimsy. I often ask myself why I am so enamored of the December ritual of making gingerbread houses (and trees) at Sudbury Valley. It is a big deal! Everyone has to … Continue reading →

All The Difference: Celebrating Fairhaven School’s First Fifteen Years

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Mon, 11/25/2013 - 10:52

(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

Let’s put on a show

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 11/25/2013 - 09:07
I’m a sucker for live theater. It’s all magical to me, whether it’s a Broadway show or a local production. So when I went to see “An SVS Musical” last June, I had no doubt that I would be entertained. … Continue reading →

Anything you can do, I can do too!

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 11/18/2013 - 09:24
This weeks’s post was written by Hanna Greenberg. Walking into our art room is usually fascinating.  It seems that most young people love to do art in all sort of ways.  They make things out of clay. They draw and … Continue reading →

Halloween slideshow!

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Mon, 11/11/2013 - 13:12


As usual, Fairhaven School students (and staff) got into the Halloween spirit this year. Check out this slideshow.


What’s in a name?

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 11/11/2013 - 09:23
Human beings love to name things. A name serves as a convenient shorthand, identifying something without going into a long description. Some names aren’t obviously connected to what they name: “My doll’s name is Joseph.” Some are: “This room is … Continue reading →

This is “the real world”

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 11/04/2013 - 09:09
Former SVS staffer Kelly Shultz wrote this week’s post. Sometimes when I’m explaining SVS to people who aren’t unfamiliar with it, they’ll ask me how kids will be prepared for the real world if they can do whatever they want … Continue reading →

Fifteen Year T-shirts Are In!

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Wed, 10/30/2013 - 17:57

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, 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

Where in the world?

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 10/28/2013 - 11:52
Jean Cote spends her days fielding incoming calls, preparing PR materials, providing an oasis of calm amidst the general hubbub of the school, and writing blog posts! If you haven’t checked out the School’s online bookstore lately, you may be … Continue reading →

Owning your education

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 10/21/2013 - 09:28
I have puzzled for a long time about a phenomenon that I encounter daily at Sudbury Valley but did not have a way to put into words. I didn’t know it was “ownership.” And I never realized how profoundly important … Continue reading →

Even I was surprised…

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Tue, 10/15/2013 - 13:21
This week: another glimpse of the SVS art scene, thanks to staff member Hanna Greenberg. The Dance Room is a large room with lots of wall space and windows. It looks and sounds rather cavernous. However, when the walls are … Continue reading →

Changing Education Paradigms (Sir Ken Robinson video)

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Thu, 10/10/2013 - 16:03

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.


Ruth Yamamoto

A blessing in disguise

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 10/07/2013 - 11:18
We have another parent-written post this week, from Sarit Ferreira. Like many American parents, when our boys were old enough for Kindergarten we excitedly waited with them at our neighborhood’s bus stop for the big, yellow school bus. We took … Continue reading →

Dr. Peter Gray to Speak at Fairhaven School Tomorrow

News Article From: Fairhaven School News - Fri, 10/04/2013 - 15:42

(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

Exploring new vistas

News Article From: Sudbury Valley Blog - Mon, 09/30/2013 - 09:25
Founder and staff member Hanna Greenberg interviewed student Hannah Schwartz for this week’s post. Hannah Schwartz has attended SVS for three years.  Last May, the SVS gallery exhibited a collection of her experiments with techniques that were new to her … Continue reading →