“Children’s cultures didn’t evolve by accident. They served a function. In free play, children practice creative thinking and problem-solving. In mixed-age play groups, they learn from older peers and teach younger ones, meanwhile consolidating their skills.”
– anthropologist Dorsa Amir
As summer comes to a close, staff members are preparing for Fairhaven School’s twenty-second year. We are interviewing new families and showing them our wondrous campus. Carpenters are finishing up the new porch outside the art room, finally adding an element from the original design! Our dedicated Library Clerk is cataloging books, while our Computer Clerk is installing new software and hardware in the music studio. Staff members are also sharing articles we have found that speak to the philosophical ideas underpinning the school’s radical approach. This recent piece from the Washington Post by Dorsa Amir is a thoughtful consideration of the centrality of play to human growth and development.
Many interviews with prospective families begin with questions and answers about the bread and butter of traditional schools: classes, tests, homework. Soon, however the conversation shifts to learning, and we inevitably discuss the vital and creative human process known as play, probably the most common activity at Fairhaven School. If you’ve ever spent time here, you have seen the kaleidoscopic variety of students at play, including biking, tree-climbing, video gaming, role-playing, making music, playing house, drawing manga, and playing basketball. In a Sudbury school, play is everywhere.
We can’t wait to see how this partial list grows when our students return for another year, accompanied by new students who will bring their own unique ideas, experiences, and personalities.