Stonecote Sudbury School brings new style of learning to Alta Vi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Stonecote Sudbury School brings new style of learning to Alta Vista neighborhood

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new school is opening near Cherokee Park on Alta Vista Road.

Stonecote Sudbury School is the first of its kind in Louisville, bringing children and families Sudbury learning, where students have a lot of leeway.

"The student is free to direct their own course of learning," said Ashley Wright, a founder of Stonecote Sudbury School. "So after checking in, they would be free to choose their day ... They have 5.5 acres of the campus they'll be free to explore."

Students pick what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. 

There are no classrooms, no grade levels and students from ages 5 to 18 share the same spaces and the same responsibilities.

There's no hierarchy. Everything is decided by democratic process on the School Committee, where both kids and staff have equal votes.

"They have a voice, they have a vote, and in anything that they want to accomplish, they can make that clear," said April Williams, another founder of the school.

"They can say, 'I want this in my life, and these are the steps I want to take to reach this goal.'"

"You can look at the traditional measures of success, but for us, the profound measure of success is that a student leaves feeling capable of navigating their own life and successful in it," Wright said.

The Sudbury ideas and philosophies strive to deinstitutionalize education. They call it "unschooling."

It's giving students the freedom to do what they want throughout the day without adult interference.

"Traditional school assumes the best way to prepare you for life is through structured education, versus Sudbury, who feels that living is the best way to prepare you for life," said Chris Gillespie, a future Stonecote Sudbury School parent.

"They'll be able to explore their personalities more and who they are, as compared to what a traditional school imposes upon them as far as classes or what they learn," said Jenni McKim, a future Stonecote Sudbury School parent.

But not everyone is happy about Sudbury School moving into the $2.5 million estate.

"The neighbors are very concerned about traffic," said Paul Slackie, who lives on Alta Vista Road. "A child was hit by car a few years ago. There will be children just running around without boundaries ... It just seems inappropriate for the neighborhood."

"It's not an unnatural response to have opposition to something you don't understand and that's new, but I hope, over time, we're able to build positive relationships within the community, both direct neighborhood and beyond," Wright said.

The school is actively accepting admissions and plans to open this door in September.

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