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"Because I consider myself a "scholarly" person, I was worried that I wouldn't learn anything in such an unstructured environment. But I soon learned that being "scholarly" didn't have anything to do with sitting in a desk and doing what I'm told. In fact, I've read so much more since I started Sudbury than I would in a public school."
— Amelia, Student, Age 17

 

The Sudbury Curriculum — Work and Play

"... compulsory schooling, compulsory learning — is a tyranny and a crime against the human mind and spirit. Let all those escape it who can, any way they can."
— John Holt

Alexei, a student age 16, once said "When you tell a kid 'you can do anything, but we're trusting you to do the right thing', they take it to heart. They like to push the boundaries. If there's nothing to push against, they'll settle down and do work." But the work Alexei is referring to doesn't look like work. Eli, a student age 5, responded, "In other schools you have to work all day; here you get to play all day." By play, he doesn't mean, "recess." Recess is defined as "a suspension of business." Sudbury schools do not consider play to be a suspension of business; they consider it part of the "business" of the school.

Dividing a student's time between "learning" and "recess" says that learning is not fun and recess is fun, that play is not important but learning is important. Students at Sudbury schools don't differentiate between work and play; learning and fun. They play anything and everything with passion and intensity. They work at play like musicians work at music, like doctors work at medicine, and they play at work like writers play with language and carpenters play with wood.

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