The Role of Sudbury Staff
Students' freedom to organise their time as they wish is a central idea of the Sudbury Model, and so it is quite natural that questions should arise regarding the nature of the work that Sudbury staff do - if staff are not focusing their efforts on encouraging students to learn a curriculum, what are they actually doing? A useful perspective to adopt when considering the role of Sudbury staff is to consider the idea of the student in the educational environment. The central idea of the Sudbury model is that, given the right environment, every child has the innate ability to flourish and learn to become effective adults. Therefore, Sudbury staff focus their efforts on the environment rather than teaching methods.
Thus the role of our staff includes:
- establishing a culture of freedom, equality and respect. A secure and safe school climate are essential ingredients to foster natural curiosity and learning.
- ensuring the school's philosophy is maintained, allowing each person to enjoy their full freedom of educational opportunity, regardless of age.
- taking care of the often quite complex day to day administrative needs of a self-managed autonomous school.
- taking care of jobs and roles which no student is interested in engaging with or competent enough to complete.
- being available to share their experience and knowledge with students.
- helping students with the implementation of projects if required.
The Sudbury School Paris team is made up of first language or bilingual English speakers who have come from a diverse range of educational backgrounds. The team was brought together by Aaron Keohane, who, inspired by the work of L'École Dynamique, moved to Paris to join them. The Sudbury School Paris is an offshoot of the success of L'École Dynamique and Aaron is both honoured and excited that L'École Dynamique has put their trust in him and the rest of the team to make the Sudbury School Paris a reality.
Born in Paris to a multicultural family, Finn grew up speaking both English and French. His uncomfortable experience of school lead to an early interest in education. He also questioned the injustices caused by the economy and politics, so after studying social sciences and linguistics, he went on to learning about education and responsible citizenship. After an intensive course backed by UNESCO in project management focusing on sustainable development and international solidarity, he worked in peace and non-violence education, and then with a network dedicated to facilitating and mutualising efforts towards building a fairer and more responsible world. For several years now, he's been working with children both in and outside of the school environment. He's been actively pursuing a life-long path to self-discovery, and likes to engage life and its challenges in a playful manner. Working in a democratic school brings together all these threads in a beautiful, coherent project.
Originally from Germany, Aaron is an alumni of the Netzwerk-Schule, a democratic school in Berlin. Aaron attended the Netwerk-Schule for a total of 5 years. During this time, he served as Judicial Committee Clerk and School Meeting Chair as well as a member of several other committees and became an essential member of the community. After Aaron left the school he worked at an Afterschool Daycare for a year, it was here where he realized that even outside of schools, in places that were built for young minors to enjoy, oftentimes their needs were not being considered and their choices ignored. After that year Aaron decided to attend the Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum (ESBZ) in Berlin to do his Abitur, through a school project he went to the Democratic School of Hadera as an intern for 10 weeks. Back in Berlin Aaron soon that at the ESBZ was not sharing his vision in how much freedom of choice and autonomy he should have and decided to part from his school. Aaron is a part of the SSP since January 2016and is enjoying his time and role here as a co-founder.
Born in England and raised in France in a multi-cultural family, Johanne went through the French public school system.She went to prep school (with a biology major) and achieved a master of science (agronomy) before becoming a consultant in digital information systems. Though she felt that none of those choices seemed to come from any real purpose other than the path set by her grades. Becoming a mother, she discovered the central question of her life : "How do I live in harmony and with responsibility with myself, my communities, my environment, what world do I want to build for myself and my children". Seeing in education a central component of her answer, and after a brief passage in Education Nationale as a Mathematics teacher, she decided to engage on a path where children‘s personal choices and ambitions were central to their learning. Through her involvement in various ecological associations, she is also working to enable people to enhance their will and abilities towards a more sustainable way of life, permaculture being one of them
Adrien’s multicultural heritage and experience have made him a polyglot as well as a humanist. Born in France and raised all over the world, he has worked in a variety of fields including architecture, sculpture, cinéma, music and more recently English teaching in the French public education system as well as a variety of related projects and initiatives.
Part of a broader life project, this immersion into the world of education is as much a family trend as it is linked to a strong personal belief that the world of tomorrow needs free, centred and autonomous individuals willing and able to collaborate.
Hugo is a psychomotor therapist who mainly worked with children under the age of 3 in a company's daycare. By observing and playing with the children he found that freedom was an important key to success in learning processes as in well-being. Attracted by the Sudbury philosophy, he decided to learn more by joining the SSP and is at the same time working on the opening of a democratic school in Loire-Atlantique.
Guillaume has a scientific background and experience in information system optimisation. After a time in animating associations like Objective International Science he promotes the usage of computer tools in education.
Youth motivation within free structures, minimal regulation is for Guillaume an obvious necessity for personal fulfilment as for results of autonomy and project development.
Originally from Western Australia, Belinda's main passions are social justice, sustainable food production, and holistic and empowering pedagogy. She has worked in a variety of educational contexts: as a high school history and social studies teacher; as a gardening teacher at a community school; and delivering workshops about sustainability across south-east Australia on a bike. Belinda has explored diverse approaches to education across several continents and considers democratic schools to be the most genuinely student-centred and empowering spaces for young people to learn and grow. When she is not in big cities, Belinda really likes being underwater, or above water in a tent.
Originally from the UK, Sally Hall is a teacher of Modern Foreign Languages, specialising in English, French and Russian. During her training, she realised that children learn much more effectively when given a choice in their education, and she continues to experiment with ways in which she can give her students more freedom to learn at their own rhythm. Currently carrying out a placement at La Croisée des Chemins in Dijon, the first democratic school to open in France, she is enjoying what she hopes will be a long-term association with the Sudbury School Paris.
Originally from Ireland, Aaron is a council member of the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) and a former Summerhill school teacher. While carrying out undergraduate applied psychology research on initiative development (the ability to set goals and work towards them over time), Aaron observed an ownership deficit in terms of students' learning - students did not feel in charge of their own learning. This sparked within him an interest in the field of education and after becoming qualified as an English and Mathematics teacher took up a post at Summerhill, the world's oldest and most famous democratic school. It was here that Aaron developed his philosophy of student-centered education which lead him to the Sudbury Model. In August 2015 he became part of the L'École Dynamique team. He was both honoured and excited to be joined by such a capable team of democratic educators.