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Fairhaven Blog


Just another Tuesday in the Chesapeake Room. With Clue on Stage a week away from its premiere, the student director and crew have set up the room as a theater-in-the-round to resemble the board game, with different rooms in different

Giving Radical Happiness

Fairhaven School students become ambassadors of radical happiness for everyone they meet. Strangers marvel at how articulate they are, their ability to entertain themselves, their desire for justice, their comfort occupying their own skin, and their ability to speak up and be heard. Fairhaven School students and graduates present an alternative childhood, where trust in oneself forms the foundation for a life well-lived.

What’s Normal?

At a recent Talkabout co-hosted with visiting staff and students from Houston Sudbury school, staff member Mark McCaig began the discussion with some thoughts about “What’s Normal at a Sudbury  School?”

What I’ve Learned at Sudbury Schools

We all think our kids are special and brilliant and couldn’t possibly do the bone-headed things other kids do. As a staff member with two kids at school, I was able to see that my kids—although, of course, brilliant and special—were among peers who were equally brilliant and special, and that my kids were just as capable of spinning tales at the dinner table about why they’d been hauled into JC through no fault of their own.

Twenty Year Celebration!

On Saturday, June 9th, we celebrated twenty years of Fairhaven School. In addition to joining our annual Capture the Flag game, about two hundred current students, alumni, founders, and friends of the school visited, shared stories, played music, ate brick oven pizza, and dug up the time capsule we buried in 1998. Founder and staff member Mark McCaig shared these remarks in the backyard at the time capsule ceremony.

A Trip to the Stream – An Intern’s Tale

Although I can’t believe it now, looking out at all this rain, a couple of days ago the weather was very hot and humid. One of the younger girls invited me to go to the stream with her, so we walked together down the winding, forest stairs. The leaves on the trees are now toughened up, and the sun is almost completely covered, except for the occasional diamond of light shining down. She got in the water, I stayed on the shore.

The Challenges and Rewards of Trusting Children

I have been working at Sudbury Valley School since my kids were little. They are older than many of you are now, and those of my grandchildren that are old enough to go to school are going to a school like Fairhaven, and like SVS, in Oregon. So it is clear to me: I trust children. My children trust children. I even trust grownups.

Fair Ball

Since we first opened our doors, we have spent hundreds of hours playing kickball. This year, however, tension caused by players trash-talking, disagreements about rules, and a general malaise descending on the game threatened its existence. How the players addressed these issues exemplifies problem solving at Sudbury schools, and might concretize how our community functions.

From a Parent’s Eye

My son was comparing Fairhaven to the public school he attended until he was eight. “You know,” he said, “when I went to my old school, I was always doing things because someone told me to. I did things to make my teachers happy, or to get someone to like me, or to be like everyone else. At Fairhaven I do things for myself, and I don’t have to worry about what other people think.”

A Day at Fairhaven

The one thing that makes my job as a staff member at Fairhaven School interesting and challenging is that it offers an ever-changing kaleidoscope of experiences. No day is ever quite the same as the one before, because the infinite potential of human creativity is unfolding before me on a daily basis. I have observed that when students are given the chance to create what they want, many unexpected and rich experiences evolve.

OK, So You’re Sort of Like

After hearing a short explanation of our school’s philosophy, many people understandably try to link it with something already familiar to them. We have tried to be fair but clear in distinguishing ourselves from other philosophies. However, all the subtleties of these educational models are not laid out and comparisons are not made from every angle.

How do Sudbury Schools work: Why Not Offer Classes?

In the course of browsing content for our new website, we discovered on the Philly Free School’s site this article from our colleagues at Clearwater School. Since before we opened the school in 1998, people have been asking about classes, and they still

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