Here is a piece about democratic schooling with lots to say about Sudbury Valley, where I spent my day today with kids and adults, all busy in our ways. It’s a fun, fun, fun place to spend my days, as well as a fascinating place to think about education, learning, people, and many other things, including making things with kids.

This week lots of folks worked with beads and clay and I assisted and watched a lot. Tomorrow I’ll work again with kids making gingerbread structures, as I did last Friday. Today I watched as kids from nine to eighteen designed fancy variations of the gingerbread house, including The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building, a church, a tent, and a pagoda. Designs have to be approved, then kids make templates of the shapes they’ll need to cut from gingerbread to construct their designs. Tomorrow we’ll roll and cut and bake and recut and decorate and put together the gingerbread into all these things and more.

I am also learning to display all kinds of things in the school, which dovetails nicely with my work with the Documentation Studios group at Wheelock College. Yesterday I attended the Library Corp meeting, where we talked about reorganizing and relabeling the school’s collection of books. Later in the day I helped prepare and organize framing materials for a show of student work due to go up in January. Today I helped create a collage of photos from a student trip. In school meeting we debated the proper way to sign off on a motion which is to be recorded in the School Meeting Record. All these things reflect upon and create the environment of the school, and all are up for discussion, input, and debate.

There is so much going on, it will take me a long, long time to figure out where I belong or what my long term purpose at school might be. For now, I’m enjoying the chance to be part of things day by day, to get to know the staff and students, and to expand my understanding of what democratic schooling is and how it works in practice in a real live, well established school.

Enjoy the article. The comments section is long and cantankerous. I won’t contribute to that back and forth, as it’s not my style. It’s a school that works for my kids and fascinates me. Beyond that, I am aware that many others have different opinions, from curiosity to studious interest to passionate allegiance to disbelief to disillusion to distrust.