The Circle School

School Status: 

Serving preschool, elementary, and high school-aged children from four through eighteen, The Circle School is an independent private day school located just minutes from downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in Swatara Township. A pioneer in integral education, The Circle School’s program balances freedom and responsibility in a self-directed, democratic community. Students are free to choose their own activities, while sharing with staff responsibility for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the school, from enforcing democratically adopted laws to creating an annual budget. The Circle School also operates Children’s Morning Out, a free weekly playgroup for preschoolers aged 3.5 thru 5. Use the links at the top of the page to explore this innovative alternative!

210 Oakleigh Ave
HarrisburgPennsylvania 17111

Articles Published by the School

What Are They Learning?

Associated School: 

What do kids learn at The Circle School? More than I can know or name, I'm sure. But what do we see them learning? Here's what some of the staff have seen in recent months ...

I have seen kids learn to value reading as a functional tool. They read the agenda for the School Meeting to determine whether or not to attend this week. They read about upcoming field trips and other events on the front door. When they serve on the JC they must read the complaints they are investigating. They read the muffin recipe, to divvy up the ingredients for various people to bring in. They read the school law book to determine what law was broken, so they can fill out a JC complaint.

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What's the Buzz?

Associated School: 

The buzzing sound is always present. Sometimes it swells up, loudly cloaking us all in an almost tangible roar. Sometimes it softens to background murmur. But always it changes, moment to moment, day by day, a living force, an electromagnetic surge of power and energy...It's people. It's people talking, talking, talking... in groups, in pairs, in threes, in informal sessions, in meetings, in side by side play activities, in games, in the office, on the stage, over lunch, during football, during cooking, hamming it up, or arguing an idea... talking. It's people finding their way, learning about choices, making new beginnings, trying new things, building and existing in community...Which way creates ownership, community, and creative independent thinking? Which way, in the long run, more efficiently allows individuals to become adults who can make choices, handle decisions, make judgments, take responsibility, and have initiative?

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Dancing 'Round Castles

Associated School: 

I'll begin with a little background about my children coming to The Circle School. Last year I came to the school as a new staff person. Zeb and Jyles, my stepchildren, were soon to follow, enrolling last year. My own three children have gone through an arduous campaign with their birth father to do the same. There was jubilation in our household late in the summer when he finally agreed to allow them to come.

By all measurable standards, the children are all bright successful students. They were in the gifted program, received excellent grades, had friends, and participated in various extra-curricular activities. However, despite these classical standards of success and enrichment, the children were neither happy nor satisfied with school. Instead, they constantly felt bored, unchallenged, and frustrated. There were many behavioral manifestations of these feelings. The most obvious one was a constant resistance to going to school each day - usually under the guise of being sick. Less direct, but equally disturbing, were the furrows in their brows while discussing their boredom in class. They felt isolated because they were smart, or different, or did not choose to get in trouble or shave their legs.

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Connor's List

Associated School: 

Why do you want to go to The Circle School, anyway, Connor? Connor attended the summer session and liked what he saw. He dictated this list of his own personal reasons, as part of his family's discussions prior to his enrollment this fall.

1. I'll learn Japanese at TCS.

2. I can do math at my own level and at my own speed....


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    Contact Us

    Hudson Valley Sudbury School

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