We asked students to answer two questions: Why do you like it at Fairhaven more than where you were before? What makes being at Fairhaven different?
“Because we get to do whatever we want. There are simple rules that are good rules. We get to see the fish in the Meeting Room. We get to be certified in the Art Room, and then we get to color a lot! I like that we get to run on Tuesdays and Fridays in the Chesapeake Room.” Student, age 6
“At my old school, I was told to do things that weren’t as fun for me. There were science experiments, but we couldn’t do them! I prefer choosing what to do instead of people telling me what to do.” Student, age 8
“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
“For me, the social freedom here matters. I can associate with whomever I want. The social environment is the biggest difference between here and homeschooling.” Student, age 18
“It doesn’t really feel like school, and that’s a good thing. You show up, there’s a lot of things you can do, and if you want to do something that isn’t available, it’s easy to set up. I didn’t take any classes when I started because I was in a play, and now I’m in the ASL (American Sign Language) class, and I’m thinking about doing other things.” Student, age 15
These were literally the first five students we asked, and the other sixty-five students here would share similar insights. As we have seen for over twenty years, joining Fairhaven School is an empowering, transformative experience. We only wish that more young people could have the opportunity to experience the freedom and responsibility a Sudbury education provides.