We are a school that follows the Sudbury/Democratic school model from a Christian perspective. Although we do not have formal grade levels in our school, in order for parents to understand our enrollment levels, we accept children in grades K to 12th.
The Living Water School has no formal classes/classrooms (i.e. 1st grade or 2nd grade or 3rd grade, etc.) but with the support of staff, students flow throughout the day learning independently through engagement in various activities and projects all around the school and school property. The only limits that are placed on their learning are the the school rules (established by the students and staff of the school). They are not limited by age level or any person’s perception of their ability. If they want to learn it, then we encourage them to go for it!
Ages are mixed because we believe that younger children can learn well from an older peer. We do have small group instruction for reading, math and writing and for those who show an interest in varying subject areas, (i.e. painting, crafts, computers, history, biology, etc.).
There are no formal grades (A, B, C, etc.) unless the student is transferring to a new school or going to college, but parents are welcome to meet with staff to discuss their child’s educational experience as often as they wish. Semester summaries are given twice a year for all students, which give an overview of the student’s learning experience for the semester.
We also do not have standardized testing, homework assignments, etc., but we do encourage families to read together in the evenings. 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 independent study of the college prep courses. We will provide the materials, tutoring, SAT prep, etc. that the student requires to reach this goal. If a desired college requires a transcript, then we will provide one, but the grades are only based upon if the student actually understands the subject matter. Initially, however we seek to have our students enter college by their own effort, making the case to the college of why they should be admitted. This is done through our semester summaries, the student’s entrance essay, SAT scores, and our correspondence with the college. Overall, we will do whatever is needed for the students to enter the college of their choice. For more information on this process please contact us.
All students are a part of a reading, writing and math learning group, where they receive instruction in these areas one on one or in small groups. They are able to learn about other subject areas (i.e. history and science) through independent study with the support of a staff member. High schoolers who want to enter college work with a staff member to chart their course to taking the classes necessary for a college-ready transcript. Outside of those, most instruction is by student choice. Other classes may include:
*music (recorder, piano and voice)
*historic research (we do not teach history through lecture and memorization of facts, but students engage in field trips and independent research projects)
*We also allow students to pursue independent study in any area of interest. We will provide the tutors, resources, etc. needed for the student to be successful in their learning 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 once a 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 daily school program. The School Meeting is planned and run by students
2. The Assembly-This is a time once a quarter where the entire school community (students, staff, parents, and other supporters) meet together to discuss 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 PJ 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.