Years ago I bought a book about theÂ Sudbury School, enjoyed it very much.Â The bookÂ influenced my thinking, and how the kids and I homeschooled together.Â OnÂ another blogÂ (thanks, Izzy, with hat tip to Judy), I found a link to an online article about Sudbury.Â Glad to see it in the news, and glad I read it in the first place.
- While his peers at other schools were memorizing their multiplication tables, Ken Pruitt was lying on his back watching clouds, building tree forts with friends, or poking around in the woods. Pruitt was no juvenile delinquent. He was a student at the Sudbury Valley School near Boston, where children get to decide for themselves how they want to spend each day.
Come again? What does cloud watching or fort building have to do with learning? Everything, according to Sudbury Valleyâ€™s founders. â€œChildren donâ€™t know what they want to learn, they know what they want to do,â€ says Mimsy Sadofsky, one of several original founders who still work at the school. What children typically want to do is playâ€”which cognitive scientists say is one of the main ways human beings learn.
â€œLearning teaches us what is known, play makes it possible for new things to be learned,â€ says David Elkind, Professor of Child Development at Tufts University, and most recently author of The Hurried Child, All Grown Up and No Place to Go, and Miseducation. â€œThere are many concepts and skills that can only be learned through play.â€
A later paragraph bears out what I noticed with my own kids.Â The ‘subjects’ that they unschooled themselves in (in contrast to the ‘gen ed’ areas they asked me to provide)Â are the areas of life that they’ve chosen to pursue as adults.
- A new survey of alumni from the Sudbury Valley School shows that such idyllic school experiences has not harmed or hampered them as adults. Eighty-two percent of graduates interviewed pursued further study such as college or trade school after Sudbury Valley. The others said they were ready to enter the fields they planned to pursue as adults. Alumni have become ballet dancers and farmers, physicians and circus performers, carpenters, teachers, lawyers, farmers, entrepreneurs, musicians, clerks, you name it.
[more at link]