What is a Sudbury School?

A Sudbury school is a democratically-run school where each member of the school (students and staff) has a vote in the running of the school. Sudbury schools follow the philosophy of self-directed learning, responsibility, freedom, and age-mixing. There is no fixed curriculum, homework, teachers, or schedules to follow. Staff members serve as facilitators, rather than teachers. Students determine how to spend their days in ways that most engage them in their own learning process, in community, and with the help of caring adults who recognize their innate dignity and capabilities.

How will my child learn if there is no set curriculum?

Children are learning all of the time. When children are very young, they are like little scientists. This natural, driven, curiosity can continue into school age if it is allowed to thrive. Children and teens are curious about their world and naturally want to grow to become independent adults–which is unique for each of them, as it is for adults. Sudbury schools foster a child’s internal motivation, which is a much more powerful driver to learning than external coercion.

How will my child be able to go to college after graduating from a Sudbury school?

Students who attend Sudbury schools are usually extremely well-prepared to go to college. They’re quite knowledgeable, very articulate, and highly motivated. Sudbury students are able to learn all they need to know for college entrance, often in a very short time. Colleges are not as different from Sudbury schools in that students are expected to know themselves and to take responsibility for their own education. 85% of the students from the original Sudbury Valley School attend college. Others pursue their vocations in a variety of ways.

Will my child be safe?

Yes. Safety is the highest priority at the school.  The students and staff make the school’s rules together, and any student can report staff or students for violations of the rules. If someone is written up, they must attend the Judicial Committee, where the conflict is investigated and reviewed by their peers and a staff member to decide on appropriate action. Having a small student-to-staff ratio also contributes to safety. Students also go through a stringent certification process to participate in certain activities.