We are a school that seeks to create an environment inspired by the Sudbury model, which believes that students are able to learn in a completely free environment, with little adult intervention. This model is so new to our community, so to ease this philosophy into the hearts and minds of people, The Living Water School does academic instruction in just a few core subject areas in small groups (generally 1 to 5 students) in the areas of reading, writing and math. Reading is taught using phonics based instruction for early readers and reading of classic literature for all other reading groups. Writing is learned through students writing about their thoughts and opinions of the literature. Math is taught in a way where students can progress at the pace they are comfortable with and through one on one instruction. In addition, all students complete an independent project that is presented on Friday of each week in the following 4 areas: science, history, technology, and a monthly book report/presentation. Outside of these, we seek to follow the Sudbury model as close as we can. With the support of staff, students flow throughout the day learning independently through play, socialization, and engagement in various activities and projects all around the school and school property, all along choosing how they will spend their time at school.
Ages 2 to 6 are grouped together in our preschool program, that we call The Little Springs and those students that express a desire to leave the preschool program, are able to come into the regular school program as young as 4 years old. Ages 6 (unless a 4 year old is also in the school program) through 18 are mixed because we believe that younger children can learn well from an older peer. Staff are present to oversee the healthy interaction of all students.
Unless the student is transferring to a new school or going to college (we prepare graded transcripts for these transitions), there are no formal grades (A, B, C, etc.) , but parents are welcome to meet with staff to discuss their child’s educational experience as often as they wish.
We also do not have standardized testing, homework assignments, etc. Our goal is to completely take away those elements of traditional school that conjure up feelings of competition, fear, anxiety, insecurity and inadequacy. Our goal is to facilitate students to freely learn for themselves while they develop into the person that God created them to be.
For those students who would like to enter college, they are free to pursue study of the college prep courses and staff will support them. We will provide the materials, tutoring, SAT prep, etc. that the student requires to reach this goal, but the student has to request and/or initiate this process.
We place a great deal of responsibility on the student to design their learning path. We have found that ALL students want to learn. They ALL have goals and ambitions. We as adults just have to be patient with them as they seek to discover who God created them to be and then we support that journey.
There are three ways in which students and staff work together to create a harmonious school community:
1. The School Meeting-This is a time during the week where the students and staff meet together to pray, worship, hear a word of inspiration, and to discuss school matters. The school community uses this time to vote in order to make decisions about the school program.
2. The Assembly-Three times a year the school community (students, staff, parents, and other supporters) meet together to discuss larger school matters, vote on various decision and to plan the overall structure of the school. Everyone who attends can vote on the yearly school program.
3. The Judicial Committee-The JC is made up of one staff member and several students. The JC meets once a day in order to address student and staff concerns, discipline issues, etc. They meet with those involved in the concern and vote to make a decision on how the issues should be addressed. The JC is the heart and soul of the school. This is the equivalent of being sent to the principal’s office, but in the true spirit of a democracy, they must meet “before a jury of their peers.” The JC helps to keep the order in the school community and it seeks to defend the right of each person in the school community to live in harmony during their educational journey at the Living Water School.