Greetings to you all! As we come towards the end of this incredible year we would like to share with you some of the highlights of our journey so far. When we started meeting in January 2017 with the intention of creating a democratic school, little did we know what we were getting into. What started out as 3 home school parents with a vision has become a concrete and very real possibility with strong community base. We have been blown away by the massive support we have had from people who have helped financially and practically, and also those who provided continuous encouragement and moral support. We couldn’t have got this far without all of it.
Over the course of this year, the core founder team met weekly to thrash out the philosophy of democratic education, to discuss the pros and cons, to research what has worked and what hasn’t and why. We agonized over the legalities, the finer details of self-directed learning environments, of self-governance. We questioned ourselves and our commitment to and ability to hold such a space for children in Sligo. We had many differences of opinions and changed opinions over the course of the year and have become ever more committed to this philosophy and to the conviction that children should be afforded the right to direct their learning, to know themselves and their gifts, and to grow into adults without hindrance or judgment. The practical tasks have been endless and we have learned much. Our search for suitable premises began in March and finally was rewarded in August with the discovery of an old schoolhouse, just north of Sligo town. While in need of repairs and a lot of loving care, we fell in love with it right away; the beautiful garden, the protective trees, the quiet rural landscape, and the proximity to Sligo town made it the perfect place for our school. When our offer to buy was accepted we almost couldn’t believe our luck. But the work was just beginning… planning meetings, engineer reports, architectural surveys took precedence over everything else in our lives. Thanks to the excellent services of all involved however, the planning application has been submitted successfully.
In the meantime a new member joined our core founding team and we continued the work of writing our constitution, filing our company registration and applying for charity status. As the summer came to a close we were pretty tired. The added support of a few very special people made all the difference and helped us to get to the next phase. Liam Scollan, Isabelle Coyle, and Jackie De Bruin all gave of their time and expertise so generously we can’t thank them enough. We now have a published website and held a public meeting at the Model at the end of November where we shared details of our fee structure and how the Sudbury School operates on a day to day basis.
We are now taking enrolments for September 2018. The interest to date has been very positive and we have already 20 students pre-enrolled, ranging in age from 5 to 17 years. We expect this number to increase in the coming months and we look forward to creating this community with you.
In the New Year, we will host 3 film screenings at the Model on the subject of alternatives in education. We hope to generate more public interest in the subject of learning in general and the variety of educational possibilities there could be for children.
We will keep you all updated as we make progress on the building and opportunities to get more involved.
Thank you all for your ongoing interest and support in Sligo Sudbury School. We wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.
The Sligo Sudbury School team