Through curiosity, play, and being social, children and teens learn about the world around them and about life, and they do so continuously when in an environment that supports their freedom of expression. Here at The Boulder Sudbury School, such freedom is not only supported, it is nourished in a safe environment where all are treated as equals, where children and teens are treated as people. Children and teens observed in an environment where they are democratically free, are seen to embody human nature without overt conditioning, engaging curiosity without unsubstantiated judgment, and a social relatedness unaffected by age-based segregation.
The image that should arise then is that of an ideal democratic micro-society governed by all members of the school’s community, and where each student conducts their day according to their own motivation. Each student will arrive and begin making decisions as to just what it is they intend to do, which could result in a trip to the art room, or to immediately see which of their friends have also arrived. The decision made is the responsibility of the student and factors such as time, mood, social atmosphere, and natural inclinations (i.e. reading, playing basketball, and/or practicing a musical instrument) are some possibilities that may influence such decisions. The life of students is not planned for them here at Boulder Sudbury, instead they are free to learn and they are free to be, they are free at last.
The Sudbury model of education was named after The Sudbury Valley School, was pioneered by its founders in 1968, and lived by its students since that time. There are now many Sudbury schools around the world, and more each year. The success of the Sudbury model and its worldwide demand is due to how courageously it reflects and allows for human nature, individual difference and diversity. In this way, every Sudbury school is unique due to the uniqueness of each student body as well as the staff. The Sudbury model is a paradigm flexible enough to meet the needs of all independent children and teens, who we believe are all innately intelligent, creative, and social. Since Sudbury schools in general offer a rich age-mixed social environment where students are empowered with freedom and responsibility, the innate potential of each student is fostered.