WHAT DOES A NORMAL SCHOOL DAY LOOK LIKE?
Children arrive to school between 8.30am-10.30am and are free to move about the school buildings and outdoor spaces and associate with whom they please. There are no assigned spaces or age groupings and no assigned lesson times. Children may leave the school between 2.30pm-4.30pm.
Adult staff members are on site at all times and are there to ensure students’ well being and safety and to perform tasks that are necessary to keep the school running efficiently and legally. They are also available to facilitate learning or discussion, or to support students with accessing the resources they need.
Classes in specific subjects are offered when children request them but have no formal or higher status and continue for as long as there is interest.
There are multi-purpose spaces which evolve and are purposed and re-purposed over time and with the changing needs and fashions of the community and the wider culture. We have dedicated spaces for Art, Cooking, Science, Gaming/ Technology, Music & Music Production, Carpentry, Libraries, Gardening, Food production etc.
Peter Gray’s account of the Sudbury Valley School, Framingham, Massachusetts taken from his book Free to Learn describes a typical scene at Sudbury Valley School
Visitors: “would observe students playing, talking, hanging out, and enjoying a wide variety of self-directed activities. Outside, groups might be seen eating lunch on the grass, climbing trees, fishing in the millpond, playing four square or basketball, fencing with padded swords, riding bicycles and unicycles, or swinging and sliding on the playground equipment. Inside, students might be found cooking, playing cards, playing video games, programming a computer, strumming guitars and making up songs, rough-housing (within the limits of the rules), discussing a movie or the latest teen vampire novel, gossiping, arguing politics, watching a music video, building with Lego, reading a book to themselves or aloud to younger children, painting in the art room, or selling cookies to raise money for a school activity. The visitors find little that looks like academic school work –perhaps a handful of students and a staff member engaged in a history seminar, a couple of teenagers solving math problems, and a small child intently and meticulously writing out the alphabet on a chalkboard, apparently for her own amusement, asking a nearby older student for help when she was stuck.”