What do you look for in a school?
If you are a student, perhaps you are looking for a place where you can find out what you are interested in doing, and then learn how to do it as well as you can; a comfortable place, where you can socialize if you want, or be left alone if you want; a place where you can find action or quiet, stimulation or peace, depending on your mood. You might want a school that will help you do what you want to do as quickly or as slowly as you choose, without pushing or pulling you along the way.
If you are a parent, perhaps you are looking for a place in which your child can develop as fully as possible, in many ways; in skills, in intellect, in wisdom, in judgement, in critical ability, and in self-discipline, to name a few.
Others may look for different things. Those who provide the money may look for good management, efficiency, discipline, and clean environment. Professional educators might look for specific evidence of good teaching, of student achievement, of successful graduates, and of overall school morale. The person with no special interest often looks for basic signs of health – a good atmosphere, openness to visitors, decent relationship between children and adults, or between people in general, a sense of order and dignity.
There are many things you might be looking for. What can you expect to find at Walden’s Path?
Walden’s Path is a place where children are free. Their natural curiosity is the starting point for everything that happens here. Students and staff move around freely, mix easily with each other and with the newcomer.
The place doesn’t look or feel like a school at all. The standard “school cues” are missing. People are not sitting in classrooms. There are no bells, no rows of chairs, no furnishings (only the kind you find in your home), no administrators to greet you.
Here, children initiate all their own activities. The facilitators are there to answer their needs. Learning takes place in formal and informal settings, in large and small groups, or individually. All ages are free to mix. The dynamics among students of different ages, helping each other learn about everything from fractions to human relations, is one of the greatest strengths of Walden’s Path.
In our free environment, the natural differences between children are respected and encouraged. This leads to a wide range of activities going on at school – all the usual ones and many more.
The learning that takes place outdoors is as vital as that pursued indoors at Walden’s Path. Students share responsibilities for their own environment, and for the quality of life at school.
Perhaps before you visit you had a chance to talk to a friend who visited us or perhaps you came in cold. Either way, you may find yourself unprepared for these first impressions. But the strangeness of it all has its good side, for it many help you realize that in order to make sense out of a visit, you have to go back to fundamentals and ask yourself what you think a school should be. And you have a measure Walden’s Path against the answers to this question – without prejudice, without preconceptions, and with an open mind. You have to start from scratch and come up with answers that really make sense and feel right to you.
Come, Discover the Happiest School on Earth!
Inspired By SummerHill School & Sudbury Valley School