Theory

The School is based on one simple fact — that the survival of every species depends on the driving ambition of its young to develop the skills they need to thrive as effective adults in the world. Sudbury Valley offers each student a place to fulfill that ambition and discover their unique points of excellence.

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Backstory
In 1968, a group of parents and educators founded a school based on a clear vision of the individual freedom needed by children to flourish, and of a community governed equally by all its members. The result was a unique combination of liberty and responsibility that has been Sudbury Valley's hallmark ever since.

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A Place to Grow

The school was first conceived half a century ago, in the Fall of 1965. In so many ways, it was a different world back then. Talking to young people about life in those days is like relating stories about some distant far-gone period in the history of mankind. No laptops? No smartphones? No worldwide web? Continue Reading ›

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The Physical Plant

We got a great deal of insight into good campus design accidentally. Continue Reading ›

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A Paradigm Shift for Parents of a Child in a Sudbury School

We grow up making assumptions, which are derived from our culture. We build on these assumptions to form our view on how the world works. Many are self-correcting because of new information. But some of these assumptions are so obviously true, so much a part of our culture, of what we are, that it takes a great effort on our part to question them carefully. Continue Reading ›

Social Group
The Sudbury Model
We respect the ability of every student, regardless of age, to plan and carry out their daily activities. We do not encourage students to follow particular paths, nor do we provide assessments of their performance. Rules to protect individual liberty are made by all community members through the School Meeting, and the social order is protected by a peer judicial system.

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A Sudbury Valley Education: The View from Inside

In the long view of things, the concept of the school isn't that odd. In the history of human culture, public education as we know it has only really existed for about 150 years. Up until around the 1820s or the 1830s all human cultural achievements came about without the benefit of a public school system. Most people just hung around the people they lived with and learned what they needed to do. They didn't call it anything special. Continue Reading ›

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The Heart of the School, Two Takes

If you happen to be sitting in the large front room called “the sewing room,” you might notice that every day at 11:00 a.m., eight people walk into the adjacent book-lined “seminar room.” What you are seeing is the gathering of the school’s Judicial Committee (JC). Continue Reading ›

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On the Nature of Sports at SVS and the Limitations of Language in Describing SVS to the World

Have you ever noticed the uniqueness of the way that sports are played at SVS? The experience is a beautiful one which brings out most of the noble characteristics which a person can possess. It also illustrates a point about language and the SVS experience that is worth thinking about Continue Reading ›

Students looking forward
Students by the river
Why it Works
Freedom is the essence of the Sudbury Valley experience. From it stem the intellectual ferment, the joy of creativity, and the emotional effervescence that permeate the community. Freedom enables the age-mixing, the mobility, and the wide-ranging conversations that are the key to striving for the highest level of excellence in every activity. Access to the entire world of human experience made possible by the digital age is the icing on the cake.

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Why Does a Sudbury School Work?

Before I talk about the basic features of a Sudbury school, I would like to talk about two central ideas that don't even come up when you talk about most models of schooling and that are all-important in understanding why a child can go to a free school and still get a great education. Continue Reading ›

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Showing the World Who We Really Are

A Sudbury education emphasizes a set of expected outcomes. It is a very useful set of traits, but not a set that I believe most people expect their children to fully possess. Continue Reading ›

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The Human Condition: What it Tells us About How Children Get Educated

We always felt that Sudbury Valley was the best place to develop each child’s unique potential to the fullest. That was a given for us from day one. The question is, how does this beautiful concept relate to setting up a school? Continue Reading ›

The Meaning of Play

What makes play so central to the human race? My contention is that the survival and enhancement of the human species is centrally linked to play.

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