Fairhaven Blog

Giving Tuesday – FHS Tuition Assistance Program

Please consider donating to Fairhaven School this Giving Tuesday! Every contribution helps lessen the burden for Fairhaven families who are providing their children a unique and empowering education. You can assist us in meeting the goal that cost will never prevent families from enrolling their children in Fairhaven School! Thank you in advance, from the entire Fairhaven community.

Welcome Back to Fairhaven School!

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.


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

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.

The Heart(s) of Fairhaven School

The Heart of Fairhaven? Consider the art of boredom…


 In our fast food, constant connection, instant gratification, helicopter parenting/wanting-life-to-be-perfect/fix-it or fix-your-kids world, we parents do not easily accept discomfort in our children. But are we doing them a disservice to protect them from struggle with difficulties, even ones that seem as mundane (and counterproductive) as boredom?

A week or so ago, I was sitting in the kitchen having lunch with a colleague, and as usual students were coming in and out. She asked a few in the room at that moment, “Where do you think the heart of the school is?” Without much thought, one 7-year-old boy said, “I know where the heart of the school is: it’s inside each of the students.” With a collective “Awwww,” we decided to keep asking anyone who came into the room, and I started writing down the answers. Soon the page was full of their wide-ranging suggestions. The answers ranged from the heart of the school being in a specific location, (the circle garden, fairy tree, the porch in the Fairhaven logo) to debating on the Chesapeake Room vs. the Circle Room.  Someone said the Chesapeake Room might be more of the brain and the Circle Room the heart, while others proposed more philosophical ideas such as JC or School Meeting. Less obvious (although unique) answers emerged,  such as “the database” and “in the cave under the school where we keep the dragon to guard it.”  I’m still in the process of collecting everyone’s answers, and several students and staff members  have said, “Let me think about it and get back to me.” I’ve been in that same boat, and I love the thoughts that this question provoked in all of us.

Fairhaven School is in the News Again!

From the Mind/Shift article by Luba Vangelova:

“The Fairhaven School, which opened its doors in 1998, has no tests or grades, and no assigned homework. Its goal is to help students develop two core traits: agency and autonomy. (In response to one of the most common questions posed by prospective parents, one parent and former staffer wrote a blog post explaining how a democratic school differs from other alternative approaches to education.)”

First Weeks of School

IMG_5153 (800x533)As we begin the final full week of September, enjoy these photos from campus. As you can see, the school year is off to a lovely start, with students pursuing their interests in splendid liberty.

Dirty Feet: Fairhaven School and Barefoot Culture

Are your feet, like mine, presently covered by shoes and socks? Do your feet, like mine, stink to high heavens when you take your shoes off in the evening? Do your children, like mine, often spend the entire day barefoot? Probably not, unless your children go to Fairhaven School, where bare feet are allowed and quite common to see, indoors and out, especially in the Fall and Spring.

Bare Feet


Points of View

At Fairhaven School, one must always remain open to seeing things from new and different perspectives. It is with this spirit in mind that I share these bird’s eye views of our remarkable campus. I hope that you are enjoying your summer, and we all look forward to another school year spent discovering both new and familiar things from multiple points of view.

Uncommon Core

I’ve been going through all my photos from this year while helping out with the yearbook. I came across several that I neglected to post anywhere during the year that represent well the interesting and amazing things that go on at Fairhaven School. First, some from the Art Room. I love to watch these students work!

EOY 0a

Chili Cook-off

As a final goodbye to the winter of 2013-2014, here are some pictures and a note from staff member Beth Williams about our recent chili cook-off. Enjoy!

At the end of February we hosted a Talkabout and Chili Cook-off, where Assembly President John Green led a lively discussion. The nine savory chili entries, several types of corn bread, and various other potluck treats were delicious. The community had a great time gathering with old friends and meeting some of the many new families of recently enrolled students. All around, we enjoyed a wonderful evening.

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