Sudbury Valley School

At Sudbury Valley School, students from preschool through high school age explore the world freely, at their own pace and in their own unique ways. They learn to think for themselves, and learn to use Information Age tools to unearth the knowledge they need from multiple sources. They develop the ability to make clear logical arguments, and deal with complex ethical issues. Through self-initiated activities, they pick up the basics; as they direct their lives, they take responsibility for outcomes, set priorities, allocate resources, and work with others in a vibrant community

Articles Published by This School

"The judicial system was really important because it was so obviously justice that you were involved in... You knew how difficult it was. You were on both sides, or all sides, because you might be... a witness, or a complainant, or the alleged violator, or a member of the judicial committee."

This book quickly became a classic and is still enjoyable and relevant. It lays out the foundations of the Sudbury model in clear, easy terms.

Drop out of school. Do it, right now. That is the best piece of advice I can give you, because dropping out can get you a lot farther in life then staying in school. I dropped out about 10 months ago, and I have no regrets.

Doing nothing at Sudbury Valley requires a great deal of energy and discipline, and many years of experience. I get better at it every year, and it amuses me to see how I and others struggle with the inner conflict that arises in us inevitably. The conflict is between wanting to do things for people, to impart your knowledge and to pass on your hard earned wisdom, and the realization that the children have to do their learning under their own steam and at their own pace.

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.

Life is a journey and upon reflection I realize that, in my journey, I have been trying to recapture what was mine as a young child.

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.

Realizing that youth is the time in which most of our long-standing opinions and personality traits are formed, those of us between the ages of six and sixteen were herded like cattle onto buses. Many of us had only heard rumors about the place we were going; we didn't know what these camps were to really consist of.

"The thing that I really like about it was that all the rules were spelled when I came to Sudbury Valley, the first thing I did was read... the Law Book and all the school's rules."

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.”