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"It's like unschooling in a community"

Special thanks to the Alliance of Self-Directed education for making and sharing this video.


  • What exactly is a Sudbury School?
    A Sudbury school is a Democratic school where each member (students and staff) have a vote in the running of the school. Sudbury schools follow the philosophy of self-directed learning, responsibility, freedom, and age-mixing. There are no fixed curriculum, homework, teachers, or schedules to follow. Students are free to choose how to spend their days in ways that most engage them in their own learning process, in community, and with the help of caring adults who recognize the inherent value of unstructured learning. ​
  • What if my children play all day?
    Play is how children learn and process their world. Children need intense play in their earliest years of development, when they learn more and faster than any other time in life. Not only do children make meaning and construct models of the world through play, they also practice their physical, intellectual, social, and emotional skills. “Play is the highest form of research.” ~ Albert Einstein
  • How do the students learn?
    “When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself.” ~ Jean Piaget We live in the information age, where knowledge is available at your fingertips. Because students are free to explore and interact with other students and adults of all ages, they are exposed to a wide variety of topics. Students follow their curiosity and interest, which isn’t limited to a set curriculum.
  • What is the role of staff?
    Staff serve as facilitators, rather than teachers; and although we practice non-interference as much as possible, staff are always present and available to help students at any time. Staff are also responsible for the administrative and operational functions of the school. They are with the students inside and outside and participate as full members of the learning community at School Meeting, Judicial Committee and other committees and clubs. “What I have learned, very slowly and painfully over the years, is that children make vital decisions for themselves in ways that no adults could have anticipated or even imagined.” ~ Hanna Greenberg, founder of Sudbury Valley School, in The Art of Doing Nothing
  • What is "play"?"
    Free play is typically described as play that is self-directed, voluntary, internally motivated, and pleasurable. Play is an activity that organically allows for knowledge exchange, creativity, social skills, problem-solve, critical thinking and fun! It should always be Enjoyable Inherently Valuable Self-Chosen Unstructured
  • How do the students get into college?
    Students who attend Sudbury schools are usually extremely well-prepared to go to college. They are motivated, driven, and excellent self-directed learners. They have been experiencing authentic responsibilty and trust since a young age, which makes them passionate, responsible, and curious. Statistics from the longest-running Sudbury model schools demonstrate that 80% of Sudbury graduates go to college and 80% of those get into their #1 school of choice. This is on par with graduates of high-performing “traditional model” schools. Sudbury students go into a wide variety of careers and stand out to admissions counselors because of the confidence they have in themselves, their field of study and reasons why they are choosing a particular institution. The experience to choose your own learning path in K-12 prepares them well for life as a college student.
  • Are you a co-op?
    No. SSA is a democratic learning community run by students and staff. We are a non-profit, with a Board of Trustees. And although we rely on volunteers, parents are not involved in the day-to-day operation or governance of the school.
  • What about Math?
    "WE HAVE, IRRATIONALLY, PUT MATH ON A PEDESTAL, believing it is hard to learn, important to learn, and somehow a measure of our intelligence. Even many parents who otherwise embrace Self-Directed Eduction for their children worry about math" Researcher Peter Gray worked on a qualitative analysis of stories of unschooling and democratic schooling families and their journey with math. He divided it into four main categories:playful math, instrumental math, didactic math, and college admissions math. Follow this link to read more: [Also avaliable on our resources page]

Frequently Asked Questions

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