During the last few months, throughout the new and strange times of the covid-19 pandemic and global lockdowns, many of us have questioned how we live. We have had to rethink our work, our travel and how our children are educated. Having to educate our children at home has led many to question how they are educated at school and the rigidity of the national curriculum.
What if schools were more responsive, and rather than teaching a curriculum that was written twenty years ago, a child could adapt and change the path of their education? A lack of responsiveness in education and the rigidity of curriculum can inhibit diversity. In a world that is changing so fast it is hard to know what is the best way to educate the future adult.
A democratic, self-directed education (with the support of facilitators and a nurturing learning environment) can be sculpted by the learner to suit and meet their needs. This embraces diversity, creativity and interests.
Though it may seem that the learner is left to their own devices, the Sudbury model is built around the strength of the school community and the support this offers. So what if school was where you went to build your own education, rather than to be taught what others have mandated, thus encouraging lifelong learning?
West Cork Sudbury School (WCSS) will be a place where children aged 5 to 18 will be able to learn through play and experience, directing their own education. Sudbury schools are founded on freedom, trust, respect and responsibility. We see the importance in joy, for learning to reach its full potential, for time for full exploration, and for embracing the educational value in processes not necessarily recognised as such. By offering children trust, freedom and responsibility and the opportunity to exercise their rights to live peacefully, they will be able to learn how to offer others the same. The school will be built on the balance between individual freedoms and their responsibility to the school community.
The first Sudbury school in Ireland opened in Wicklow in 2016 and was then followed by Sligo
Sudbury School in 2018. These schools have gone from strength to strength, despite the challenges of not receiving state funding, and have been a huge source of support and inspiration for our core group at WCSS. Our core group of founders has been meeting weekly since November 2018, working in a voluntary capacity towards a goal of opening the school in September 2020.
While many things around the world have drawn to a halt, we at WCSS have been busy bees, with our weekly zoom meetings, online training courses and tasks behind the scenes. We continue to grow, learn and upskill so that we can put our best foot forward when we open our doors.
Admissions for the school for September 2020 are now open.