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.
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray, Ph.D.
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.
- How Children Learn by John Holt
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.
- A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, by Daniel H. Pink
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.
- Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, M.D.
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.
- Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, & Joan Wolfsheimer Almon. (2015). Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose. Published online by the Alliance for Childhood.
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.
- Summary from Lifetime Effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (pp. 194–215), by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Jeanne Montie, Zongping Xiang, W. Steven Barnett, Clive R. Belfield, & Milagros Nores, 2005, Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press. © 2005 by High/Scope ® Educational Research Foundation.
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).”
- Dr. Michou, Dr. Vansteenkiste, Dr. Mouratidis and Dr. Lens. Enriching the Hierarchical Model of Achievement Motivation: Autonomous and Controlling Reasons Underlying Achievement Goals. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 2014
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.