in progress edited by Daniel
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
Imagine a school Ö
we look around us, we will notice that there are not many schools that are
inspired by these principles and enact them in their everyday practice. The Sudbury
Valley School, which has
been operating in Framingham, Massachusetts, since 1968, is one of the
exceptions. The Sudbury Valley School was part of the progressive school movement of the
1960s that built on the inroads made at the beginning of the 20th
century by pioneering efforts like Ferrerís Modern
School in Spain or Neillís Summerhill in
premises of the progressive education movement guide the work of the Sudbury
Valley School. They are mentioned on the school website (http://www.sudval.org):
fundamental premises of the school are simple: that all people are curious by
nature; that the most efficient, long-lasting and profound learning takes place
when started and pursued by the learner; that all people are creative if they
are allowed to develop their unique talents; that age-mixing among students
promotes growth in all members of the group; that freedom is essential to the
development of personal responsibility; and that school should be a community in
which students are exposed to the complexities of life in the framework of a
one of the key principles of the Sudbury Valley School is that the
most enduring and profound learning occurs when learners pursue their unique
interests and are self-motivated. Therefore, its institutional organization aims
at enabling students to freely explore their own interests. This means that in
the Sudbury Valley School all learning is self-initiated, and there is no
mandated curriculum. The main philosophy behind this is the education of the
whole person in a free and creative environment.
A related principle is that
children are able to make sound decisions on matters that affect their lives and
that, given a choice, they will choose the most appropriate path for their
education. Moreover, it is posited that when children make these decisions, they
learn to trust themselves and become responsible for their own destinies. So, in
the Sudbury Valley School students participate actively in the school
governance. For instance, there is a school assembly and a school judicial
committee, and all decisions and precedents related to this committee are
available in a school publication. One of the main assumptions behind this
principle is that the best way to learn democracy is by doing it.
To get a
diploma from Sudbury Valley, students must write a thesis describing their
struggles and their achievements, and explaining how they have prepared
themselves to go out into the adult world.
those modest beginnings in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1968, the independent
and democratic self-directed Sudbury Valley School
model has become a paradigmatic example of progressive education, and it has
been adopted by more than 20 schools in different parts of the world.
more information on the Sudbury Valley School:
The Sudbury Valley School Website: http://www.sudval.org
Michael (2002). The View from Inside. Framingham,
Mass.: The Sudbury Valley
Daniel (1995). Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School 2nd ed.. Framingham,
Mass.: The Sudbury Valley
Sadofsky, Mimsy and Daniel Greenberg (eds.). (1994). Kingdom of Childhood (from interviews by Hanna Greenberg. Framingham, Mass.: The Sudbury Valley School.
Prepared by DS (OISE/University of Toronto), 2003
Citation: Author (2003). Title. In Daniel Schugurensky (Ed.), History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century [online]. Available: http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_schugurensky/assignment1/ (date accessed).
DS Home Page Back to Index Suggest or Submit a Moment
© 1996-2003 Daniel Schugurensky. All Rights Reserved.
Design and maintenance by LMS.
Last updated on February 02, 2003.