The Sudbury Valley School Experience

Edited by Mimsy Sadofsky and Daniel Greenberg
234 pages
3rd ed., 1992

How do Sudbury Schools work? Many excellent articles on the concepts and experiences that make up a Sudbury School have been collected in two books, this one and Reflections on the Sudbury School Concept, which together provide a solid introduction to this model of education.

“The people who play sports as we do at S.V.S. learn far more profound lessons about life than those that can be taught by regimented, performance-oriented sports. They learn teamwork – not the ‘we against them’ type of teamwork, but the teamwork of a diverse group of people of diverse talents organizing themselves to pursue a common activity – the teamwork of life. They learn excellence, not the ‘I’m a star’ type of excellence, but the type of excellence that comes from setting a standard for yourself to live up to and then trying your best to live up to it.

“I’m twenty-three years old and I’ve played a lot of soccer. It would be pretty silly for me to try to be better than the three eight-year-olds who crowd around my feet every time I try to kick the ball. I think that the eight year olds are too busy running after kids who are three feet taller than they are to worry about being the best eight year old. In this game, as in real life, the only standard that matters is one you set for yourself. One of the profound truths you learn is that we are all so different from each other that peer pressure and comparisons of worth are meaningless. If you’re eleven years old and you are only allowed to play with other eleven year olds, it’s very hard to glimpse this profound truth which unlocks the true meaning of excellence.”