Understanding the Sudbury philosophy takes most families on quite a journey. It is so radically different from anything other schools have to offer that it requires careful scrutinizing before you really get what it is, with everything it involves...and what isn't!
Regardless of one's understanding of the theory, however, an important step for all students and parents is coming to visit the school itself and discovering what the team and environment are like.
Meeting in the flesh is a great opportunity for us to discuss matters further, clarifying what might still be obscure.
How to go about it
We strongly recommend that families who would like to meet us read up on our approach before coming to meet us. The Sudbury concept can not properly be understood in just an hour or two, and we expect families who come to have done the research beforehand (i.e.: looked at our blog, at the videos and other resources on our inspiration page).
We offer two main options to families who would like to come and see us. Public meetings and individual ones.
Public meetings - and why we recommend them
The first and best option according to us is to attend a public meeting.
This way, as well as meeting the team you get a chance to also connect with other interested parents and students. And that is actually quite invaluable!
For a start, this way you all get a feel for who else is involved. Parents get an idea of who the other interested families are and, perhaps more importantly, prospective students get to spend a little time together in the school environment. It's always amazing to witness how quickly and easily some of them take ownership over the space!
A second advantage of public meetings is that you get multiple perspectives on the same issues and concerns – questions are raised that you might not have thought of, or are worded in a different way, and nothing is more enriching than when students get to ask their own questions in their own words.
Occasionally, parents of enrolled students or members from our sister school l'Ecole Dynamique are invited over to share their own perspective.
So if at all possible, we recommend that you come to a public meeting. Also, it's good if you can come as a whole family so that everyone has the same information to work with.
You will find the dates of our next public meetings and a general description of a public meeting on the registration page. Signing up for a meeting is not necessary, but it is helpful for us to work out the logistics. So if you can, please fill out the form to let us know you're coming.
Alternatively, for families who are not able to attend one of our public meetings we can organise an individual meeting (this is sometimes the case when a family doesn't live close by, or just can't do Thursdays).
Generally, individual meetings are for families who've already come to one or more public meetings and are considering a trial period. In this case, the meeting is an opportunity to go over the philosophy one last time with the student and parents and make sure everyone is on the same page before we proceed to the enrollment for the trial period.
In the case of a first meeting, however, we would expect the same level of preparation on the part of students and parents as we do for public meetings. That is to say, they should already be quite familiar and comfortable with the philosophy of a Sudbury school (there are plenty of available resources on our website and elsewhere), and have discussed it between themselves, particularly with the children concerned.
If you are an interested family but for some reason can't come and meet us, or if you're interested in meeting with us personally for reasons other than schooling your child, we're open to discussing it all over the phone or a skype chat. Check out our contact details on our contact page.