Our family moved to Framingham over six years ago, mostly so our children could attend Sudbury Valley School. When we were researching schools, my husband and I read every book we could find about SVS. My favorite is “Kingdom of Childhood,” the one where students share their stories.
I now have a new favorite SVS story. My daughter Victoria, who’s seven, was planning a Welcome Back party for two friends who’d been on vacation for over a week. I was unaware of how extensive the party-planning process was. I thought it would just involve some handmade cards and shouting, “Welcome Back.” Boy, was I wrong! The kids made streamers, handed out candy corn, and played games. I completely underestimated the apparently natural event planning abilities of Victoria and her friends.
Most notable was a conversation that I had with her the afternoon of the party, when I picked her up from school. I had heard from a couple of other parents that Victoria had brought a large amount of money to school and that she bought pizza. Curious, I began to question her.
“Did you bring your money to school?”
“To order pizza for the party.”
“Where’d you get the pizza?”
“How did you order it?”
“I called them and ordered it.”
“Whose phone did you use?”
“I went to the office and Jean let me use her phone.”
“How much was it?”
“Did you give the driver a tip?”
All the while, she was looking at me quizzically, trying to figure out where I was going with this line of questioning. I must say I was a bit impressed and amazed that my seven-year old was responsible and capable enough to plan and execute buying pizza for a party. Then I remembered all the stories that I had read in “Kingdom of Childhood,” and I realized, that’s just what kids at SVS do.