Founded on principles, backed by research and proven through experience, a Sudbury school is a cutting edge school modeled after Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts which has been in continuous operation for nearly 50 years.
A Sudbury school is a democratic school where students are free to pursue their own interests in their own way. It is founded on the principles of democracy, freedom and individual responsibility. These principles transcend pedagogical concepts, theories of learning or trending labels such as unschooling. Students – regardless of age – and staff have an equal vote at the weekly School Meeting where all policies, rules and other matters concerning operation of the school are decided. Students and staff are personally responsible for their own decisions, actions and conduct. Underlying these principles is respect for the individual and the idea that this respect is conferred on the students by giving them the freedom to pursue their own education and have an equal say in how their school is run.
In practice the founding principles of a Sudbury school necessarily eliminate many features of a traditional school. Sudbury students are not segregated into grades based on age. There is no curriculum. And there are no tests or homework. Quite simply students are free to pursue their own interests in their own way in a democratic setting. This is not a “pedagogical method” but rather the natural result of embracing the founding principles of a Sudbury school.
Remarkably, but unsurprisingly, scientific research across multiple disciplines continues to confirm the benefits of the educational practices naturally present in a Sudbury school. This is not a coincidence. Rather, it is scientific confirmation of the value embedded in the ancient wisdom of the founding principles of the school.
The original Sudbury school has nearly 50 years of proven experience. Books (here, here, here) and research (here) show the overwhelmingly positive influence Sudbury has on the lives of its students. Other research (here, here) focused on certain aspects present in a Sudbury school show similar positive influence. Highly regarded academics admit (here) something different is needed and there are no compelling reasons to attend standard schooling today. Even public school teachers (here) know the value of a Sudbury school and show it by sending their own children. There are now over 30 Sudbury schools around the world.