A perfect spring day at Sudbury Valley

This week's post was written by Hanna Greenberg.

Friday is my day off, but I had to see somebody at school, so I went there at about noon. I came upon a magnificent scene: two tables were set up for tie dying on a large patch of grass, and about a dozen students of many ages were busy producing tee shirts with beautiful colors and designs.

Tie dying at SVS

 “What is so special about that?” you might ask. After all, kids at SVS are engaged in the arts all the time.  They do excellent pottery, drawing and painting, photography, creative writing and music of many varieties, including last year’s original musical (which was a huge success).

Tie dying at SVS

What was so special for me was the whole gestalt of the scene.  The sky was bright blue, the spring grass was very green, as were the new leaves on the surrounding maple trees. The air temperature was comfortable, if a bit on the cool side. Gathered around the tables were a staff member, Maria, and four teenaged students busily helping our youngest kids with this activity. They passed out gloves to avoid stained hands, demonstrated how to tie the shirts and how to use the dyes artistically, and helped bag the shirts to take home. Even L. who is five years old, could not refrain from participating, although he had broken his elbow just three days earlier and had undergone surgery and the insertion of metal pins into his arm.   Ouch! Tie dying at SVS

So what was it that moved me to hang around and watch, take pictures and now write about it?  It's really simple – because of the age mixing at the school, and the intellectual freedom here, the community of kids of all ages and the adult staff do what all people do in their lives.  They do the things they enjoy in quiet harmony, with older more experienced individuals helping the younger less experienced ones.  I saw people working hard showing others what to do, but doing it in a relaxed, kind manner with infinite patience and with an obvious pleasure of the moment.  What’s more, later in the day I saw some of the kids who'd just learned to tie dye that morning helping other kids with their projects. In one day they learned not only how to tie dye but also how to teach.

All in all it was a perfect day indeed.