Sudbury Valley School Open House - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-25-2005, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We recently moved to Massachusetts, and my 8 year old daughter is now going to Sudbury Valley School in Framingham. I found out about the school through the discussions here.

Just wanted to let you know that the school is having it's annual open house on April 2, 2005 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
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#2 of 9 Old 03-25-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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Darn I really wanted to go again this year but we will be at the LLL conference here in MA on that day. We went to Sudbury Valley's open house last year but it was in May so I just assumed the same for this year.

How does your daughter like the school so far? Did she come from a public school?
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#3 of 9 Old 03-25-2005, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She loves the school. She was in public school in Pennsylvania (second grade) and things weren't going too well. She was very stressed out, and was evaluated as gifted but learning disabled. I think it's more accurate to say she was feeling a tremendous amount of pressure, and was quietly falling apart. Hence my search for some alternative when we moved to MA.

She seems to have had a very easy time adjusting to Sudbury Valley. She's made a bunch of friends, and while there are quite a few kids her age, she has enjoyed talking to the older kids, and playing with the littler kids on occasion as well. She's been there for about a month and seems to feel part of the community.

Much as I researched and I'm pretty comfortable with the concept, this is a bit of an adjustment for me. But it's great to see her natural enthusiasm for life (and school) returning.
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#4 of 9 Old 03-26-2005, 09:55 AM
 
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That's wonderful Pam. I hope the year continues to go well!

 
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#5 of 9 Old 03-26-2005, 10:28 AM
 
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Wow -- that's exciting to hear! The Sudbury Valley School is on our list to check out but we can't go to the open house

Will you keep us Massachusetts mamas posted if you have any triumphs or setbacks with the school in Framingham? We're eating up any info we can find.......

thanks!
mandy
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#6 of 9 Old 04-04-2005, 12:55 AM
 
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I went to the open house yesterday. Now, let me say that before we even attended the open house I was convinced we would be sending our kids there. That was before we saw the school. We spent well over 2 hours there, talked to parents, teachers and a couple students. I love the theory of the school on paper but...there was nothing to DO there! Its situated on this beautiful plot of land in a cool old building and there were dozens of rooms full of...yables and chairs and bookshelves full of random books. The music room was this closet of a room with a piano. The art room had 2 potters wheels and some clay...and tables and chairs (I assume there was some paint/paper somewhere, but I didn't see it) There was a SMALL photography lab, a 'woodshop' and this great big barn that has rooms to practice music in supposedly, but word on the street is that kids bring TV's and set up ....VIDEO GAMES. I was MORE than disappointed. I am ALL for allowing kids to follow their passion, and learn at their own speed/ as they're moved to, but WTH? there was NOTHING there to even entice them! I expected an art room brimming with all sorts of stuff! Our art room in my house puts their's to shame! I asked about the kitchen, envisioning kids getting together and cooking...nope. ANimals? Nada. They had a computer room with 5(?) computers, but dh asked where the one's were they could take apart to learn how they work, if one was interested? I just could NOT believe the lack of....well, anything! I would think kids would get bored. The 'little kids' room had a couple bins of blocks, a doll house, and ....you guessed it, more tables and chairs. Dh and I had a LOOOONG talk after we were there and decided this is not for us. I still like the philosophy, but the environment was just too blah.
They also REALLY frown on any parental involvement. You basically have to trust and relinquish your child to the process. I'm sorry but I am not relinquishing my 5 yo to 'the process' and completely step out of his life. Call me over-protective, but I'm not going to do it.
I'd be interested to hear anyone elses perspective if they went...
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#7 of 9 Old 04-04-2005, 08:36 AM
 
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BOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I was so hopeful!

Onto the next one on my list -- dh's company (organization?!?!) funds a charter school in Worcester. Need to look into that.

Rats.


Rats

Rats.
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#8 of 9 Old 04-08-2005, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tofumama -

I know what you mean about being disappointed in the physical layout - I was too, especially since we were looking at a Montessori school with what I found to be truly gorgeous classrooms at the same time.

I would say there is more there than meets the eye. My daughter spends much time in the art room, and has experimented with tons of art media. She's worked with markers, colored pencils, done a lot of collage with various paper punches and other cut out material, done some very interesting stuff with mat board which is almost sculptural, she's had specific lessons in water color painting, has worked with various beading, and recently begun hand modeling with clay. I've observed that the kids seem to get involved in a particular art area, and will stick with it for a while before moving on. The large amounts of art material there are very well maintained and put away, so maybe if you don't see the kids working on them, you just don't see them.

There is music happening at the school all the time - kids walk around playing guitar. They put on about 6 shows a year, and lots of people perform various musical styles and dancing. Lessons are available in various things.

Outdoors is very important. I walked down with my three year old son yesterday when I picked up my daughter and the kids welcomed him into the sand area. Some 5 - 9 year old boys created structures for him to knock down, while I went into the art room with my daughter to check out her modeling work. They were showing him the difference between the dryer and wetter sand for buiding when I got back. I love seeing the mixed ages in action there.

On the way out, we looked at a fairy village around the base of a big tree that kids had created. Spontaneous projects seem to break out all the time, with various kids coming and going and being involved in different ways.

I remember reading in one of the many Sudbury Valley books that when the school was new, they installed a big play system at great expense. The kids played on it for a few days, and more or less lost interest. They took it down. They have swings, a big slide, and the sand area, some chin up bars and a "tree house" and not a lot else for "play equipment". They have some fabulous rocks and really great trees though, and you find kids on and in them all the time.

This all seems very in keeping with the Sudbury Valley philosophy. More later, I've got to go.
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#9 of 9 Old 04-08-2005, 11:24 AM
 
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I wish I could have made it to the open house - I never knew it was coming up so soon!

SVS is a lot more than just meets the eye, especially what you see at the open houses - I graduated from there in 1996.

Quote:
They also REALLY frown on any parental involvement. You basically have to trust and relinquish your child to the process. I'm sorry but I am not relinquishing my 5 yo to 'the process' and completely step out of his life.
It's not so much that the school frowns on parental involvement, but that the school totally supports self-guided learning. Even a four or five year old chooses what they want to work with/learn that day, instead of being lumped into some stale curriculum.
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