Our world is rapidly changing and we are all considering how to prepare our children for the future. The skills that are and will continue to be valued are creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Compulsory education was created for the industrial revolution. It taught children to be compliant and follow directions. We have surpassed that time, yet our education system hasn't changed all that much. Reform after reform continues to preoccupy politicians and school staff's minds. Yet children receive more assessments and a loss of time to engage in classes that encourage the skills they will inevitably need. A variety of different educational models have been created - Montessori curriculum, STEM programs, Inquiry-based learning, etc... which can help, but the Sudbury model allows students the freedom to decide for themselves and is not driven by a curriculum or what the teachers think the students should know. Research shows us that our children are more stressed than ever before and we must look at an education revolution if we are to truly change anything for our children and the future that's before them.
The visionary founders of the Sudbury model (Sudbury Valley School near Boston) began this questioning more than 50 years ago. Their foresight, determination, and perseverance have well-proven a model that is centered in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as preparation for our American way of life. It has also 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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudbury_school.
At WSS, students and staff participate together in running the school through a democratic structure in which every staff and student has one vote in every decision made. Students are free to learn, explore, and reflect at their own pace in a manner that works best for them each and every day in a relatively stress-free environment.
We believe that children are curious and intrinsically motivated people and if given the freedom and unlimited time, they will naturally explore life and all of its many complexities. Our goal is that each child will experience a safe environment where they find their own drive and passions.
A day at a Sudbury school does not look anything like most other schools. The school is alive with joy and activity, with dialogue and debate, with indoor and outdoor freedom, with mixed-age mingling, questioning, and pondering, with teens chatting and children measuring, deciphering, planning, and implementing.
Relationships are as important as books; opinions are weighed against facts; support comes from a variety of sources; everyone is a learner and everyone is a teacher; time and space are valued for in-depth discovery; freedom is within the boundaries which the students set themselves; reading is a favorite pastime; the process of finding information usually becomes more important than the information itself; respect and responsibility for one’s self are always at the top of the list.
Because the building is more home-like than traditional school and the staff, more friend-like than traditional teachers, students are relaxed and comfortable to be who they are, to ask for what they need, and to enjoy every moment of school.