Sudbury Model Democratic SchoolING

The Sudbury model is a cutting edge educational philosophy that prepares students to be active participants in the real world. The model was originally developed at Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts, which has been applying it successfully since 1968.

In addition, there are over 50 Sudbury model democratic schools all over the world, and there have been peer-reviewed studies that show the success of Sudbury graduates in college and beyond in fields of their choosing.

The Hudson Valley Sudbury School (HVSS) in Woodstock, NY is an alternative, private school for students ages 5 to 18. HVSS is based on the educational philosophy first developed by the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, MA in 1968. Video made by

What makes a Sudbury Education Unique?

Time to Play, Time to Learn

Studies show that play is deeply involved in child development and learning: Play improves memory, creative problem solving, and self-regulation. Strong bodies, good coordination, social skills, and imagination are natural consequences of free play.

Additionally, since all pursuits are considered equal, students at Sudbury schools have an amazing opportunity to focus on tasks for hours on end, creating worlds and mastering complex skills from woodworking to goat farming to algebra.

Age Mixing

Children learn best from other kids who are just slightly ahead of their own abilities. In a mixed age setting, older students have the opportunity to mentor younger children. Age mixing also allows for nurturing relationships between older and younger children, and is an effective anti-bullying strategy.

 Democratic process

We believe that opportunity to participate in democracy now is the best way to educate young people to participate in a democratic society as adults. At a Sudbury school, students are empowered to legislate changes in their school that are meaningful in their everyday lives. Participation in the one-person-one-vote School Meeting and the mixed age judicial committee ensures that eveyone gets an equal voice in deciding and enforcing the rules of the school. Students and staff engage in challenging ethical debates, and everyone enjoys freedom knowing they are backed up by a strong and fair judicial system.

Our Vision and Mission At Pathfinder

Our vision is to help children grow into curious, confident, capable adults with the self-understanding, resilience, and initiative to act with integrity in a changing world.


Our mission is to provide students with a firsthand experience of a functional democracy, an enriched physical and social environment, and a safe space to explore and develop their many diverse interests and passions.

"We believe that, in any educational setting, young people have the right to decide individually how, what, when, where and with whom they learn; to have an equal share in the decision-making as to how their organizations - in particular - schools, are run, and which rules and sanctions, if any, are necessary."

International Democratic Education Network