core values of sudbury education
At Tallgrass, students are free to explore the world around them on their own schedule according to their own passions and interests. With freedom to be themselves and spend their time as they choose, they engage the world and other people through conversation, play, and a myriad of other activities. As with all Sudbury schools, students are free to utilize resources and staff; the greater community becomes their “living laboratory.”
Tallgrass does not have grades or compulsory testing. Instead, students are allowed to follow their own courses of interest in a mixed-age environment.
There is an innate drive for learning in humans, from the first steps a toddler takes to the most advanced scientific discoveries. When students at Tallgrass are immersed in baking, manga, computer programming, paper airplanes, art, music, or any activity that interests them, no adult manipulation or intervention is necessary. Students are entrusted with their own education because they want to grow, develop their abilities, and master the world. In this atmosphere of trust, they flourish.
With freedom comes responsibility. One individual’s rights end where another’s begin. Each student and staff member must take responsibility for his or her actions, and must also practice balancing their needs and rights with those of other School Meeting members and the needs of the school as a whole. The youngest students to the oldest are fully responsible for how they spend their own time, developing a sense of mastery and accomplishment. Upon graduation, students are ready to become responsible members of the larger society.
Because Tallgrass is structured democratically, every student and staff member has a vote in the weekly School Meeting, which is where decisions are made about the running of the school, from budget expenses to staff hiring to rules regarding student behavior. The policies that are set in School Meeting are enforced in Judicial Committee, where students investigate infractions and set consequences. Students see the direct result of how their behavior impacts the greater community, and quickly learn that involvement can influence an outcome.
Sudbury educated students are uniquely equipped for adulthood - having spent their childhood cultivating the ability to handle freedom, trust and responsibility. Students who wish to go on to higher education are able to do so, often getting into their first choice of college.