The Sudbury Model originated from the Sudbury Valley School, founded in 1968 in Framingham, near Sudbury, Massachusetts. There are now more than 40 Sudbury Schools around the world. The model is based on a simple idea that nature has provided children with the innate drive, desire and necessary tools to become effective adults. Therefore the central function of the school is to provide an environment in which children can grow and find their own particular paths to living and flourishing as adults.
In Sudbury Schools there are no predetermined educational syllabus, no prescriptive curriculum and no standardised instruction or testing. Learning is 100% informal or self-directed. Students individually decide what to do with their time and tend to learn as a by-product of their day to day experience rather than through coursework. Children are born curious and ready to learn and explore. Whether students are debating with a friend, playing football, contributing in meetings or pursuing something they view as meaningful and relevant, they are always learning.
Democracy is one of the key methods through which Sudbury Schools create an environment conducive to human flourishing. Every Sudbury School is a democratic community in which all decision-making processes, without exception, are in the hands of the whole school community. Students of all ages and staff have an equal vote. Thus students’ sense of ownership is fostered, not just over their own learning but also over their environment and school community. Within a community of equals the democratic process also ensures that values such as freedom of expression, justice, mutual respect, trust, responsibility and self-determination are also nurtured.
Sudbury Valley have produced a series of videos which cover various topics related to the school and the model.