Trust as a Learning Base
Adriana Pérez Pesce • 1/18/11 • In the Education and Culture Category
"School was something I expected every day." “There is no hurry to finish reading a book but you have to mature what you read. Otherwise, you are doing it for nothing. The school gave us the gift of time, of the time for reflection and introspection that is needed to really develop one's creativity. ” “You learn to deal with people. Most of what you learn in Sudbury Valley is about life. ” These are three opinions of graduates of the Sudbury Valley School, a school that maintains that the child can learn on his own all that he really needs to assimilate.
Students are responsible for their own learning and also for the operation of the school. Students of all ages determine what they will do, when, how and where: the little ones play outdoors, mold with mud, catch insects or they fish in a lake while the elders read, talk, play instruments, paint, make cakes to raise funds for their projects, surf the Internet, edit videos they have recorded, play basketball or chess or prepare for the entrance exam to University.
The idea is for the scholar to freely explore the world at his own pace. They learn to think for themselves and use information tools from multiple sources. They develop the ability to make clear the logical arguments and deal with complex ethical problems. Trust and respect are the keys to school success. Students enjoy total intellectual freedom, says the institution's presentation.
And he adds: The fundamental premises are simple: all people are curious by nature, so that the most effective, lasting and deep learning is carried out when it is initiated and is pursued by the student. The mixture of ages promotes growth in all group members and freedom is an essential element for the development of personal responsibility .
To graduate, young people must write a thesis explaining what they have learned, why they think they are prepared to graduate and defend it before a court formed by teachers from other schools that follow the Sudbury model.
In this small democracy, the central organ is the School Meeting, a weekly meeting where everything is decided practically, from where to invest the budget to which teachers are hired again next year. The meeting is moderated by a student and all members of the educational community have a voice and vote.
Sudbury Valley School was created in 1968 in Framingham, Massachusetts, United States around a key concept: trust in children. It is a private school, financed only through family fees and donations from individuals. Currently, the initiative has 40 schools, most of them distributed in the United States and the rest, in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Israel.
http://www.sudval.com/index.html (Web in English)
Photography: Courtesy of Sudbury Valley School.
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