Fairhaven School

School Status: 

Learning is entirely self-directed at Fairhaven. Students ages 5 to 18 decide for themselves how to spend their days. Their innate desire to play, explore, and gain competence flourishes here. People are naturally curious; just try to stop toddlers from exploring their world! When students have complete educational freedom they show the same unstoppable passion.

Students of all ages mix freely, learning from one another and from staff, gaining self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. All kinds of learning, all types of intelligence are valued. Students acquire life skills, growing emotionally, physically, and creatively as well as academically. Learning takes place in many ways: through play, school governance, conversation, classes, computer activities, reading, and the exploration of nature.

17900 Queen Anne Rd
Upper MarlboroMaryland 20774

Articles Published by the School

What Difference Does A Sudbury Education Make

Associated School: 

At our March informational meeting, a skeptical father asked me a very straight-forward question. He explained that after reading about the graduates of Sudbury Valley School he was convinced that this kind of education did not harm kids in their future academic pursuits and careers. But if it didn't make any difference one way or the other, why send a kid to a Sudbury-model school? That question stayed with me for several days. It had been such a great opportunity to explain why this form of education is so important and I had somehow not risen to the occasion. I'd like now to answer him again, this time with the luxury of a little more forethought.

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How Kids Learn and Learn and Learn

Fairhaven School's two fundamental principles are, of course, freedom and democracy. But sometimes, since these two ideas are sensible and decent in their own right, we lose sight of their importance as educational cornerstones, of the fact that they set conditions in which real learning can best occur.

In the world of educational and psychological research there are two basic notions of how learning takes place. Learning is seen in traditional schools as a process of transmission -- from adult to child or perhaps from book to child. A child is essentially an empty jar into which learning must be poured (or crammed). More recently, researchers have begun to define what has always been true -- that learning is, in fact, a process of construction. Kids don't acquire knowledge, they create it. They build from the inside out their understanding of the world.

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

Associated School: 

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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The Three Rs: Rules, Respect, Responsibility

Associated School: 

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. Why our schools need so many rules? It's the same question that was posed about democracy when it first emerged. In the absence of an overarching authority figure -- king, parent, teacher -- rules are the backbone of a just and orderly society. Painstaking attention to the process of rulemaking and enforcing is a necessary component of any democracy.

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Contact Us

Hudson Valley Sudbury School

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