Our Vision

Student Autonomy

People arrive in this world naturally curious. The core principles of Fairhaven School are built on the fact that young people thrive best when trusted to follow their natural curiosity. Instead of imposing a time schedule for the mastery of skills, Fairhaven School gives time back to young people and supports their innate desire to learn what they want at their own pace, all within a well-run, fully hands-on democratic governance structure.

Play is Vital

All students who are willing and able to be responsible for their own behavior are welcome, from children who want to explore the world around them to teenagers who want to pursue their passions. At Fairhaven, students of all ages decide how to spend their days. When students have complete educational freedom, their inherent desire to learn flourishes, and nothing can stand in their way.

At Fairhaven School we prioritize people, not test scores.

No one imposes curriculum on the students, no matter how tempting it may be. The school’s emphasis on innovation and self-motivation provides students with the best possible preparation for an ever-changing future in the 21st century. Fairhaven students grow emotionally, creatively, and intellectually through play, school governance, conversation, the arts, classes, computer activities, reading, and the exploration of nature.

Our graduates have learned how to think for themselves, how to motivate themselves, and how to work hard. They are law-abiding, articulate, and practiced in the art of working with others. They embrace excellence, and reject prejudice, and are determined to live lives that are both fun and fulfilling.

Inspired by
Sudbury Valley School

Fairhaven School models itself on the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts, which has pioneered this philosophy of education since 1968. Sudbury Valley's model of freedom in education coupled with hands-on democratic governance has caught on to many areas of the globe. More Sudbury schools continue to form here in the United States and around the world, in Japan, Canada, Israel, and across Europe.

Building for the Future

The story of the origin of Fairhaven School is worth noting. During the summer of 1998, motivated by Sudbury Valley's testimony to success, a group of founders and their friends gathered to help build Fairhaven, literally. Between ten and fifty people would show up daily on this lovely piece of property in Prince George’s County to dig, hammer, pound, paint, or hoist until the school opened its doors that September.

Set on twelve lovely acres amidst towering trees, Fairhaven School now features two buildings connected by porches and continues to remain a testament to the idea of community building. Founded by groups of people from all walks of life who were drawn together to create something bigger than they could imagine for young people, Fairhaven School continues to evolve as a place where children can pursue their dreams in a supportive environment.