Fairhaven Blog

D&D at Fairhaven School:
Wired for Play and Story

Simply put, we as humans are wired to learn through play and story, two things role playing games merge perfectly together. It helps us make sense of the world and prepare for what’s next. D&D, of course, is not the only role playing game. At Fairhaven School, we see children of all ages play various role playing games throughout the day.  

Self-Directed Learning Leads To Student-Directed Play

Last month, Fairhaven School’s Theatre Corp produced “A Simpler Time.” A smashing success, the play ran for two nights and ended up turning a profit. For most of our twenty-two years, the student-run, democratic Theatre Corp has been staging plays, and these are wonderful examples of how the school works. We caught up with director Sam Duffy. At fourteen, he’s younger than most of his cast.

Field Notes: All This Hanging Out

Note that word, Aristotle’s “society.” On a macro level, the design of this school is to create an independent, interesting world with coequal freedom and responsibility, a society, if you will, with the explicit recognition that being social here is the best preparation for success in the larger society. Doing things together, then—social activities—may just represent the most important activity here.

Field Notes: Conversation

As so often happens here, the ordinary became the extraordinary, simply because we had the time and the mutual respect to practice the ancient art of conversation, of speaking and listening. Fairhaven is, among many other things, teeming with conversations, and this one was both typical and noteworthy, an especially lively portion of Ruefle’s lifelong sentence. Isn’t the spoken word perhaps the most important distinction of the human species? We recognize and honor this distinction here. Instead of sit down, be quiet, and do you work, our instruction is: do what excites you and talk!

Why Join Fairhaven School?

“Being able to have a voice at a young age is something I value a lot. At Fairhaven, I like being able to actually have an opinion and have that opinion matter. It’s different here, because my opinion impacts the environment—the rules, J.C. sentences, and so on. I actually have freedom of speech here, but in public school, telling someone who’s older than you that they’re doing something wrong or that you don’t agree with will get you in trouble. Here, my opinion matters.” Student, age 15

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.

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

Sudbury school vs Public school: Parkland

The recent high school shooting in Parkland, Florida has inspired some of the affected students to mobilize for change. I have watched with much interest as both politicians, the public and the media try to respond to the reality of young

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