Articles

Below is a list of articles written about the Sudbury model of education. The articles are split into categories such as introductory, how the school is governed, etc. Articles in a specific category can be selected using the menu on the right. Also, the most recent 5 articles are listed in a separate menu on the right.

If you are unfamiliar with the Sudbury model of education, we suggest that you start with the Introductory articles, then read the articles on Curriculum and Governance. The articles from parents and students will give some sense of what it is like to be a parent of a Sudbury student or to be a Sudbury student.

There are also some articles about general educational topics that are not specifically related to Sudbury education.

Why I Choose Sudbury

I think it is now widely acknowledged that the U.S. school system was originally intended to produce lots of good factory workers – individuals who have basic literacy and are practiced at following orders and obedience to authority figures. And that college was generally intended for a minority of the especially intelligent or wealthy. I have been asking myself over the past year, what is the goal of our country’s school system now? I have found many answers to this question, in books, documentaries, articles, and in conversations with people of differing perspectives.

The Three Rs: Rules, Respect, Responsibility

An article in a local Massachusetts paper recently described Sudbury Valley School as a "School with No Rules." The reporter obviously hadn't seen the 30-page rule book which Sudbury Valley's School Meeting has created (over 30 years) and to which all students and staff are beholden.

Free at Last

Free at Last - Book Cover

Our best-selling description of the school is bursting with the excitement of life at Sudbury Valley. Free at Last is also chock-full of stories that illustrate the many unique features of this highly original model. “Age mixing is Sudbury Valley’s secret weapon. I never could make heads or tails of age segregation. People don’t live their lives in the real world separated by age, year by year. Kids don’t all have the same interests or abilities at a particular age. “Anyway, we soon found out how children mix when they are left to their own devices. They mix. Just like real people. The principle is always the same: if anyone wants to do something, they do it. Interest is what counts. If the activity is on an advanced level, skill counts. A lot of little kids are much more skillful than older ones at a lot of things. “When the skills and rate of learning aren’t all on the same level, that’s when the fun begins. The kids help each other. They have to, otherwise the group as a whole will fall behind. They want to, because they are not competing for grades or gold stars. They like to, because it’s terribly satisfying to help someone else and succeed at it. And it’s terribly pleasing to watch. Everywhere you turn at school, age mixing confronts you.”

The Sudbury Model of Education

The fundamental difference between a Sudbury school and any other type of school is the student's level of responsibility. In a Sudbury school the students are solely responsible for their education, their learning methods, their evaluation and their environment.

In a public school, the state takes responsibility for most aspects of a student's education including curriculum and evaluation. The student is left with little responsibility except to learn what is taught, how it is taught, in the environment in which it is taught and then to reiterate it back at evaluation time.

Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept (excerpts)

Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept

How do Sudbury Schools work? For over thirty years, founders, staff, students and parents have written about this exhilarating new way of schooling children. Many excellent articles on the concepts and experiences that make up a Sudbury School have been collected in two books, this one and The Sudbury Valley School Experience, which together provide a solid introduction to this model of education.

A Clearer View (excerpts)

A Clearer View - Book Cover

To celebrate the Sudbury Valley School’s 30th anniversary, a series of six talks was presented showing how the people who struggled to implement this new educational model deepened their understanding of topics such as play, conversation, and democracy. The talks were collected in this wonderful book which packs a big punch in a little volume. It is particularly valuable for parents considering Sudbury education for their children.

Kingdom of Childhood Growing Up at Sudbury Valley School

Kingdom of Childhood - Book Cover

What do students say about life at Sudbury Valley? This book is a remarkable series of vivid personal recollections of school, in the words of former students. Drawn from comprehensive, reflective interviews, each account presents a picture of school days from the unique perspective of a student, telling what they did, and how they felt about their Sudbury Valley School experience.

Lessons of a Sudbury Education

As we sit in our school's main lounge, trying to write about the underlying lessons of a Sudbury education, we often find ourselves "off task." We are watching the bustling activity around us…Jeff, a staff member, and Sonya, a 14-year-old student, are working on math problems in order to move her closer to her goal of becoming a vet. (She's contacted Cornell University to find the best method of getting into their program.) Cody, age 11, and Madison, 15, are reading medicine cards for all who walk by. Eli, 5, and Kiran, 6, are comparing new Magic Cards and talking about the mysterious gum switcher—the spearmint and cinnamon gum from the School Store have seemingly switched bottles.

Back to Basics

Why go to school? For people who like to think through the important questions in life for themselves, Sudbury Valley stands as a challenge to the accepted answers.

"OK, So You're Sort of Like..."

Authors: 

After hearing a short explanation of our school's philosophy, many people understandably try to link it with something already familiar to them. The most frequently mentioned "so-you're-sort-of-likes" are listed below. We have tried to be fair, but clear, in distinguishing ourselves from other philosophies. However, all the subtleties of these educational models are not laid out and comparisons are not made from every angle. We hope that the explanations below serve to clarify what the Sudbury model is really about, and what it is not.

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