Parents and School

The First Casualty

Author: 
Scott
Children are born with one overriding drive. They seek to grow up and to gain mastery over their own lives. Any child who grows up in a wider culture that values freedom is naturally jealous of what s/he feels to … Continue reading

Senate Confirmations, Donuts and the Price of Justice

Author: 
Foss Tighe
Last week I found an example of “life imitating life”. Or more specifically life at SVS was imitating life in Washington. I am fascinated by the quirky details of democratic institutions. So, I got a little thrill when the 50-50 … Continue reading

No Morning Bell Rings at the Sudbury Valley School

Author: 
Foss Tighe
Recently I was struggling with ideas on how to get the kids to help out more around the house. I found myself pondering what leverage I had over the kids. We have chosen not to make their allowance dependent on … Continue reading

Know Thyself - Know Thy Fun

Author: 
Associated School: 

Student readingLooking through children’s toy catalogs I’m always struck by the language. Scattered throughout the pictures of all sorts of toys, plastic or wood, bright colors or neutral colors, puzzles, trucks, dolls or whatever, there are special snippets of language designed to tell me something important. But what are they telling me? Phrases like “kickstart your child’s play,” “support your child’s development,” and “piano keys that play music and encourage creativity.” They make me suspicious. The first sounds violent, the next obvious, and the last sounds absurd. Since when did piano keys not play music or discourage creativity? Phrases like “helps your baby develop from a crawler to a walker through adaptive technology” are possibly reassuring to those concerned their children might instead develop from a crawler to a swimmer, or perhaps an orthodontist. Phrases like “differentiate among colors and sizes” make me imagine my toddler sorting white and brown eggs into large, extra large and jumbo sizes in an egg factory. 

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Death Knell for “Not on a School Night”

Author: 
Foss Tighe
There are so many ways that SVS challenges the way we think about school and education. Some are deep and profound others are just strange. Recently my daughter asked if she could sleep over at a friend’s house. It was … Continue reading

My First Glimpse of What SVS Is Really About

Author: 
Foss Tighe
While I was reading Daniel Greenberg’s essay (“Are 1000 Pictures Worth One Word?”) on why it has been so difficult to convey the SVS experience in film and pictures (http://www.sudval.org/essays/092015.shtml), I found myself thinking about the evolution of my own … Continue reading

Children as actors in their own lives

Author: 
Foss Tighe
When we first enrolled our girls in SVS, I thought the emphasis on having both parents and kids sign things was a little silly or forced. The kids were nervous, not about going to SVS, but how they should sign. … Continue reading

Gavin’s Education

Author: 
Shawna Nehiley
Our family recently moved to Framingham to be closer to SVS, and during my long hours of packing I found a large plastic bin filled with my son Gavinʼs elementary school papers. These were papers from kindergarten through the middle … Continue reading

Learning to Unplug from the Cultural Grid

Author: 
Associated School: 

Upon entering the doors at the Sudbury School for the open house, I noticed that there was no one available to engage my expectations for the usual handshakes and prepared introductions. Instead, warm but non-intrusive faces said hello, spaciously waiting for a hint of what we needed as visitors. It also felt like no one owned the building, space, or school, but instead expected that you should fill it as you like, not with “egoic mentalizations” that reflect the proscribed culture and conditioning we are accustomed to. At once I felt that I had to allow myself more space. A short while later, I had the recognition that all that hand shaking and greeting I am accustomed to is actually a kind of “sell.” “Sell” is the norm of the culture I was brought up in. In my family and community and schooling, you sell yourself by becoming articulate, learning how and who to hang with and when to drop names and by adorning proper handshaking. This way you will let people know you belong to the “right” club, or are cut from a certain cloth. Hence, it was an old and recognized structure in me that felt the respectful peace and non-pressured atmosphere at Sudbury as a discord. But as I challenged my usual internal frame, I also experienced it as hugely relaxing and pleasurable. Here there was no one imposing their will on another. After a while of exploring the physical space and finding their own way around, the group assembled to answer questions for the visitors. Again there was a deep peaceful space that was palpable as I calmed my “ready to step-up and fill the void self” back down again. Instead, I was able to notice what I can only describe as the roominess to be.

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The Sudbury Conversation

Associated School: 

I was talking to the father of a newly enrolled student recently.  During the conversation he told me about his experiences telling his friends about having his son enrolled at the school.  He said the basic conversation goes like this:

Friend: “So how is your son doing?”
Father: “Great!”
Friend: “Where is he going to school?”
Father: “He just started at the Sudbury School.”
Friend: “Ooohhhhhh….”

Accompanying this sound is a rather quizzical look.  While not saying any words, the sound and the expression convey a lot of meaning: thoughtfulness, concern, incredulity, and a large dose of “I don’t know what to say about that”.

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Contact Us

Hudson Valley Sudbury School

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