Sudbury Valley Press has published many books about education, learning and the experiences of the original Sudbury school in Framingham, Massachusetts.  These books will help deepen your understanding of the Sudbury school model and, most importantly, the positive impact it’s had on the lives of its students.  If you’re on our mailing list please contact us to purchase any of these books at a discount.

This book is highly recommended for those who wish to learn more about the biological underpinnings of the Sudbury approach.  Peter Gray is an evolutionary psychologist and research professor at Boston College who has written extensively about Sudbury Valley School and how its education model embraces the way humans are designed to learn.  His blog at Psychology Today contains a wealth of information and scientific research that supports the Sudbury school model either directly or indirectly.

The plain observations and insights in this book by educator John Holt has opened millions of eyes to the fascinating and mysterious ways children learn since it was first published in 1967.

This book focuses on the future job market: Can computers do it faster? Can overseas labor do it cheaper? Are your skills in demand? Are your skills overly abundant?  The author claims we’re entering the Conceptual Age where the majority of jobs will require care, humor, imagination, ingenuity, instinct, joyfulness, personal rapport, or social dexterity.  How do we develop these skills?  Through independent play and exploration.

Dr. Brown blends neuroscience, biology, psychology, social science, and inspiring human stories to explain why play is a biological drive as important as sleep.  Play uses scientific research to explain why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more.  Depriving young people of the opportunity to play deprives them of the very means by which they prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic.


A stunning review of research studies which show there is no scientific evidence that early reading instruction (prekindergarten and kindergarten) will help individuals become better readers.  In fact, the scientific evidence shows that replacing play with reading instruction actually causes long-term harm to social and emotional development.

This summary of the longest running research study into the effects of early education contains some breathtaking results on the power of play and self-directed activity versus the long-term harm caused by replacing it with formal direct instruction.  This study is a must read.  For those wondering whether this study provides evidence that some structure (High/Scope Model) is necessary as opposed to unfettered play, turn to pages 9-10 where the authors note that: “By age 23, the High/Scope and Nursery School [unfettered play] groups had 10 significant advantages over the Direct Instruction group, and the High/Scope and Nursery School groups did not differ significantly from each other on any outcome variable (Schweinhart & Weikart, 1997b).”

A study which shows that students motivated by fear of failing tests study in order to avoid feelings of guilt and shame rather than for their own personal interest and development and were also more likely to cheat.


1 comment
  1. Walker said:

    May I make a suggestion to add these sources to this tab?

    – Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes(

    – The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing (

    – Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community (

    -Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling (

    – In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids’ Inner Wildness (

    – Alliance for Self Directed Education (

    Let me know if you are interested in obtaining more sources 🙂


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