Age mixing

Giving

This week's blog is a joint effort from Staff Members Vanessa Van Burek and Matthew Gioia.  They both reflect on their recent experiences with gifts, giving and community.

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Chase and Pursuit

Author: 
Associated School: 

Recently, a staff member made a motion to put a defunct law called “Chase and Pursuit,” which forbids indoors chase games, back onto the books.  It passed to Second Reading, which means that it can be made into official school law at the following meeting.  But this law proved to be controversial, and the debate that followed revealed how in a democratic community even a seemingly simple proposition involves a complex web of implications.  In a small direct democracy, different perspectives inform and balance each other; it’s harder to get things done than in autocratic systems, but what’s done generally has more consideration behind it.

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My Depression

Associated School: 

After a few months, my parents realized that grounding me was making it worse. I got new medication. They sat me down and asked me if I would like to try out a private school. A Sudbury school. A non-stressful, no curriculum, democratic school that lets its students choose how they spend their days, learning through everyday experiences and play. 

 

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Images of Sudbury

Associated School: 
This year – my tenth as a staff member at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School – I have been given a gift; I get to follow my ever curious toddler as he explores campus and interacts with the big kids.

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The Qualities of a Sudbury Education

Author: 
Associated School: 

]Last year I spent my afternoons tutoring students who came to me mostly from high-powered traditional private schools. I didn't do much during sessions; I spoke casually with the students, commiserated, encouraged, laughed, asked occasional questions, and tried to stay out of their way as they navigated the difficulties of compulsory performance. But the students, their parents, and the owner of the company all thought I was doing a lot, and they happily bestowed upon me the credit for improvements...

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Why I Choose Sudbury

Associated School: 

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. I am no authority on the subject, but it is with a feeling of passionate interest that I share with you my opinion, my answer to this question, in the following paragraphs.

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The Sudbury Model of Education

Associated School: 

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.

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.

In a non-Sudbury private school, the school administrators take a larger role in determining a student's curriculum than in a public school. In some private schools, the school takes responsibility for evaluation, while in others the school administers the state tests. In most private schools, as with public schools, a student has personal responsibility only for learning what someone else determines is important to learn, at a time they think it is important to learn it, in a way someone else has determined it should be taught, in an environment designed by someone else, and they must do this well enough to pass the evaluations written and graded by someone else.

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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.  The Judicial Committee members file into the JC room to start the daily session but Natasha, 15, one of our JC clerks, has to find a replacement for the 5- to 9-year old representative to the JC who is out sick. Success—Sophie, age 8, is filling in. Lisa, a staff member, and David, age 16, are discussing whether or not putting "spring water" on a bottled water label ensures you aren't getting someone's random tap water. A man drives up attempting to deliver food to the Zena Elementary School, a public school down the road. While only a few miles away, the Zena Elementary School couldn't be more different then The Hudson Valley Sudbury School on Zena Road.

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Kingdom of Childhood Growing Up at Sudbury Valley School

From interivews by Hanna Greenberg; Edited by Mimsy Sadofsky and Daniel Greenberg

I came to Sudbury Valley the first summer we were open. I was seven. I was really surprised when I saw the school. The picture I had before I came was nothing like what it turned out to be! I had imagined it to be a place with rooms that had labels according to what you did inside the rooms a room that said "Science," and a room that said "Reading," and I don't know what else. My picture didn't look like the public school I went to, but it also didn't look like a house; it looked institutional.

The school is such a great looking building to a little kid, big and old and kind of mysterious. It was exciting to go there and find out that it looked like some old mansion, where you can get lost or hide from people if you want to and not be found, and things like that. I remember just feeling joy at being at this place where I could do what I wanted where I wanted. The school was physically beautiful, and to be around this beautiful place and not be constrained was wonderful. The grounds were also incredible, and walking around on the rocks were really frightening! They were big. They were several times higher than I was, and people were jumping around on them. It amazed me that people were just going up there to this far away, scary place and nobody was attempting to make them not do that.

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Kiran

Author: 
Associated School: 

From the time he was an infant, my son Kiran (now age 6) has had issues around feeling safe. Cautious, perceptive, and highly sensitive to other people's energies and emotional states by nature, he is generally slow to adapt to new people and situations. He has always shown an aversion to group activities, preferring the intimacy of one-on-one interactions with trusted individuals in familiar environments. Add to the mix his intense dislike of anything he perceives as compromising his sense of control over his own situation, and the result is a challenging child, to say the least. Monitoring his reactions to any given circumstance and making adjustments accordingly has long since become second nature to me. On more occasions that I care to remember, we have had to make a quick exit from social settings to avert a full-blown tantrum.

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Contact Us

Hudson Valley Sudbury School

84 Zena Road
Kingston, NY 12401
 
Phone: 845-679-1002
Fax: 845-679-3874