Essays

Saturday, October 1, 2016
It’s another snow day. I’m shoveling our sidewalk, while my husband is working on a talk about visual presentations of work, and I’m thinking about what he’s doing, what I’m doing, about what “work” is, and about Sudbury Valley. If you’d look at my… Read more ›
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Note: “In Appreciation of Liberty” was posted on the SVS blog (www.sudval.org) on June 9, 2014. It elicited several fascinating comments which, we felt, enriched the conversation, so we thought you might enjoy reading it as a “package”. With all the… Read more ›
Monday, August 1, 2016
When visitors arrive at the Sudbury Valley School for the first time, they usually get the impression that they’ve come during “recess.” Everywhere children are playing and happily enjoying themselves in various ways. If they stay a while, they… Read more ›
Friday, July 1, 2016
Every one of us here this evening has something in common. We have all come here because we are thinking about a subject which is very much in the public eye and is very much a subject of controversy right now. In this country, at this moment, there… Read more ›
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Some issues that have been crying for attention This essay started with some thoughts I had about the concept of decentralization in the modern world. I was focussing on this because I had a feeling that decentralization is a key idea closely… Read more ›
Sunday, May 1, 2016
There is a question which I dread and which I am invariably always asked. It is: “If you say that the children at SVS are supposed to be in charge of their lives at the school and do and learn what they want when and how they want, what then is that… Read more ›
Friday, April 1, 2016
I Not long ago, an article appeared in a major urban newspaper, which labeled Sudbury Valley as a “School with No Teachers.” Soon after, the newspaper that serves the Metro-West Boston region (in which Sudbury Valley is located) featured us in a big… Read more ›
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Many parents in Hong Kong (and in other places) want their children to study at and graduate from a prestigious university. While for some this is just a pipedream others start serious preparations shortly after the offspring is born. The most… Read more ›
Monday, February 1, 2016
The Hidden Power of Conversation I We have always stressed the central role conversation plays in the way people learn – and, in particular, in the way students learn at Sudbury Valley. The students recognize this clearly, and often talk about the… Read more ›
Friday, January 1, 2016
During the school year 1997-98, as part of Sudbury Valley School’s Thirtieth Anniversary celebrations, a series of six talks was presented on the theme: What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Thirty Years Ago. This is an edited version of the second… Read more ›
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
(edited from a presentation to the Cascade Valley School Assembly) Over the years, we found that the parents who choose to send their children to Sudbury Valley School very few things in common. They don’t seem to come from the same socio-economic… Read more ›
Sunday, November 1, 2015
This article originally appeared in the Sudbury Valley School NEWSLETTER, and it has since been published in The Sudbury Valley School Experience, 1992, Sudbury Valley School Press, Framingham, MA. Have you ever noticed the uniqueness of the way… Read more ›
Thursday, October 1, 2015
You “brought people up” and that’s kind of a funny thing. If an adult had asked me, I don’t know if I would have been able to explain “bringing people up.” What does that mean? [p.172] 1 The judicial committee was your tool for making people… Read more ›
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Reprinted from The Sudbury Valley School NEWSLETTER; vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 3-6 I On at least four occasions during the past eight years, people have attempted to film documentaries of The Sudbury Valley School, for presentation to the public. Two of… Read more ›
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Based on a talk delivered on July 18, 2005 during the Summer Workshop for Staff of Sudbury Schools and Startup Groups held on the campus of Sudbury Valley School. The subject of this paper is central to any Sudbury school – indeed, to any community… Read more ›
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
November is the time of year that I always feel is least adventuresome, so I tried to add a little challenge to mine this year. Dan and I are studying the judicial system at SVS, something some of us have been calling “the heart of the school” for… Read more ›
Monday, June 1, 2015
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of my first entry into the world of education, as a teaching assistant in the Physics Department of Columbia University (where I was a graduate student). I wanted to share some of my ruminations about my half… Read more ›
Friday, May 1, 2015
One day in late summer Danny came home from school with a very grim face. I knew that he had bad news for me and he indeed said that something terrible happened. Of course, being me, I thought that someone I cared about died. Danny said, “Yes, it’s… Read more ›