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  • What's the history of Sudbury Schools?
    The visionary founders of the Sudbury model (Sudbury Valley School near Boston) began questioning the conventional schooling system in the 1960s. Their foresight, determination, and perseverance have well-proven a model that is empowering for young people. It has proven to be a highly effective model in preparing young people for responsible adulthood, citizenship and relationships, entrepreneurial endeavors, and further education in college and graduate school as they choose. There are many Sudbury model schools across America and all over the world. See this link for some of these schools:
  • Are all students really welcome to this type of school no matter their background?
    WSS was founded on the values of bringing a diverse group of students/staff together to make a community that more represents our world at large. Existing in a space with people exactly like us - age and social class - is not the reality of our world and does a disservice to our students. This is a problem that we see in many schools - especially private ones. Schools talk of equality and equity, but this isn't seen in our districts and classrooms. We know that our society has a long history of using education to divide us and take away the rights of children. Private schools have been at the forefront of this problem. We believe that democratic education is needed as our school communities view each student as a valuable, contributing member - no matter where they come from or what their interests are. We must learn to thrive with others from all backgrounds and this is what will be valuable when they leave school as a young adult. WSS is actively working against this with our tuition model and diversity goals - hoping that in the future we will look like the communities that we serve!
  • How will my child be motivated to learn?
    It has been seen time and time again, if children are given unlimited time to play and even experience boredom, they will inevitably begin finding their own passions and interests, tapping into a deeper intrinsic desire for learning. This might be a fast transition for younger children and could take longer for children that have been in the traditional school for years. This process is referred to as de-schooling that both children and many parents of self-directed learners will also have to go through.
  • Will my child learn through play?
    There has been ample research done on all the ways learning takes place in what looks like simple child's play or what appears as just sitting around and talking for older children. Dr. Peter Gray will define play as an activity that is self-chosen and self-directed; motivated by means more than ends; guided by mental rules; includes a strong element of imagination; and is conducted in an alert, active, but relatively non-stressed frame of mind (Psychology Today 2008). Self-directed play (not encouraged by the adults) is where children are able to practice for real life in every realm - physically, intellectually, linguistically, morally and socially. Children have to assume full responsibility to make the play happen while negotiating differences and solving problems with others. Gray, Peter 2008, The Value of Play 1: The Definition of Play Gives Insights. Psychology Today 2008, <https:>.</https:>
  • How will my child learn to read?
    Children learn to read when they need that skill to do life. This could be early in life or much later. Despite what traditional schooling has pushed us to believe, there is no prescribed age for this to happen. They will learn and acquire the skill when they are interested and motivated to be able to do it. Some will learn fast and others will take more time. Children have learned to read through listening to stories and interacting with books, having to communicate through all types of games, and a variety of other means. Students that have learned to read in Sudbury schools have said learning to read is magical and hard to describe the process but it happens! Similar to someone asking you how you learned to walk or talk - you just did it. Or a skill you learned later in life, you worked hard and taught yourself. Children are capable of this exact type of self-motivation and drive to learn, but they need adults to trust them and let them try.
  • Are there a lot of rules?
    There are definitely rules at the school. These rules and policies are painstakingly created and amended by the School Meeting (SM). Then the Judicial Committee (JC) helps to have all members following the rules so everyone is happy, safe and respected. Similar to jury duty, a rotating group of students and staff serve together on JC for one week at a time. Serving on JC is a requirement of all SM members, from the 5 year olds to the staff. JC meets every day to handle any needs that arise.
  • Judicial Committee, School Meeting, and other parts sound so rigid. What's it really like?"
    All students and staff at the school are considered members of the School Meeting (SM) which is the decision making body of all that happens at the school. JC, or the Judicial Committee, is a smaller group (Rotating SM members) that takes care of any rules that are broken that concern members of the school meeting. The rule that was broken/offense is documented and then the case is usually heard the next day. This is typically run much like a small court: hearing from all parties and then working to find a solution. The process is designed to make sure that all involved understand and appreciate the rules in order to keep the community functioning well.
  • Will my child have homework?
    There is no prescribed homework as in a traditional school, but children are often found working on their hobbies and passions outside the typical school day.
  • Are students able to bring their own devices or access computers?
    Yes! There will often be a child playing on their device or interacting with others over a computer. It's the current tools of our society! Many people see the value, but then some have these lingering worries and doubts about children in regard to computers and technology! Society plays into this telling families that those people who play a lot of video games will be addicted and not able to function as adults. However, far too often video games/computers/technology are vilified and we don't look at all the research around this topic. Just like many people experience movies, exercise, shopping, plants, sports, etc. as enjoyment, video games can also be played from a place of joy and fun, not addictions. More and more research is pointing at the benefits of video games for children's logical, literary, executive, and social skills. An issue of the American Journal of Play (Fall 2014) includes an article by researchers summarizing recent evidence of lasting positive effects of video games on basic mental processes—such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. At WSS, this is one more way that we learn to trust the process and the child.
  • Can my child graduate and go to college?
    Of course, when a Sudbury graduate decides they want to go to college and chooses the college they want, the experience of all Sudbury schools is that there will be no stopping them. Most graduates get into their choice of college because of who they are, not what a transcript says. Sudbury graduates are determined and ready to work hard for whatever they want. Most colleges today don't need to see an accredited high school diploma but want to see a detailed portfolio of the students school work. Some colleges will require ACT or SAT scores, but with everything at Sudbury schools, if students are motivated for something, they'll work, study and learn to be able to do it. Depending on their choice of jobs then, this might involve tests and college classes, but the students can and will do it because they see the end goal and will do all that's required to reach that.
  • What role does the staff hold?
    Adults are just staff, not teachers. They make sure the school functions and continues to thrive. The adults employed by the school are responsible for the administration and upkeep of the school as delegated to them by School Meeting. Oftentimes staff will oversee more administration processes, finances, upkeep and maintenance of the school, and various other jobs. As students and staff have equal standing in an institutional sense, relationships between students and staff tend to be collegial. As in any community, staff and students will develop closer relationships with those they have affinity for and will naturally influence each other’s interests and activities. Staff do not artificially seize "teachable moments" as is often discussed in conventional educational models, but, like anyone, are certainly apt to expound on topics they feel passionately about if a student brings it up. "What I have learned, very slowly and painfully over the years, is that children make vital decisions for themselves in ways that no adults could have anticipated or even imagined." ~ Hanna Greenberg, founder of Sudbury Valley School, in The Art of Doing Nothing. Staff are supportive and meant to be there for the child, not matter what!
  • Sounds like fun!
    At WSS, we are looking at the long-term benefits of a learning experience as Sudbury. If children are doing things that interest them in a community environment - from playing video games to playing outside, or sitting on a couch and talking, all of this is helping the child to acquire real-life skills and is learning through their own experiences. Many parents are on their own trajectory of experiencing a real mindset shift with education. Instead of judging a child's "success" based on the facts they know or their report card grades, society needs to look at the whole child. It's not an easy process to undo what our society deems "normal" but many parents have not looked back when they see all the growth in their child - and it's not solely focused on only the academics.
  • What is WSS's Covid Plan?
    This plan is expected to be updated as needed, based on changes in city and state government guidelines, guidance from health officials, feedback from the community, and issues and experiences that arise. Guests to the school are limited as much as possible, especially during school hours (after hours admissions visits are okay). Parents must stay outside the building for pickup and drop-off. Please contact the school for more information concerning the particulars presently.
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