Friday, April 27, 2007

Sudbury Schools

We're struggling to find a solution to Elliot's lack of interest in doing work in Kindergarten. Is it classic immature boy syndrome? Does he have ADD? Learning disabilities? His skills are in the normal range and he doesn't qualify for special education. He's not doing anything nefarious. He says he wants to choose his own works, he wants to do works with other kids and that he gets really tired after doing his works and wants to lie down. He's been getting into trouble for falling off his chair, talking to other kids during class and lying down. He's obviously not engaged. So much of it seems like normal behavior, I hate to see him internalizing his inability to fit in.

Montessori is supposed to teach to the individual's learning style, but it's also a public Montessori and they must also teach the standard curriculum as mandated by the state. We're going to work through it and send him to a non-Montessori classroom next year. We have to be very involved in his school and homework. But I want him to be genuinely motivated to learn.

I'm researching alternative education programs. Emergent curriculum programs, like Sudbury sound like they really do foster intellectual curiosity and responsibility.

"Human beings are intrinsically curious and motivated to learn"
The Clearwater School
is part of an international movement of Sudbury schools. The Sudbury model runs counter to the prevalent education system based on top down management, mandatory coursework and standardized testing. Yet Sudbury graduates are consistently successful in their adult lives—pursuing higher education and entering creative and entrepreneurial careers. They take on difficult challenges with confidence, achieve their personal goals and most importantly, make sure they lead meaningful lives. Sudbury students are characteristically articulate, compassionate individuals who know how to work with others, think critically, engage their creativity and solve problems—the skills most valued by employers and centers of higher learning.

Each day, Clearwater students explore the world guided by their own interests, moving at their own pace. Free to think about who they are and what to do with their time, they play, talk openly with friends, investigate the world and dream. Students draw from our staff and resources, as well as the offerings of the local community.

Without grades, groupings by age or mandatory tests, children engage wholeheartedly in their passions—discovering for themselves their place in the world.

Whether Clearwater students are passionate about dinosaurs, literature, art or computers, we make a point of not intruding on their natural drive to learn. We trust that they want to grow, want to thrive and want to become like the people around them: literate, articulate and compassionate.

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