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In solidarity with Sudbury Schule Ammersee

After 2 very successful years of operation, the ministry of Bavaria decided to close Sudbury School Ammersee. The staf, students and parents of the school want their school reopened and called for an international day of solidarity to which we kindly contribute.

We feel that if more than 10 families move to a small town outside of Munich to be part of a school where they think their children will flourish, this school must be a great place and deserves to exist.

Today our school decided to write to the Bavarian minister of education the following letter:

Dear Mr, Spaenle Minister of Education,

I write to you on behalf of Sudbury School Gent (Belgium). Our school has been in operation for 6 years. We know the people from Sudbury Schule Ammersee well and had the pleasure of visiting them in the summer of 2015 for our annual European Sudbury workshop. Our way of working is very similar.

We discussed the closing of Sudbury Schule Ammersee at our own school today and we decided to write to you about that. Some of our students wanted to show you how they feel about this decision:

Our students are rarely indignant. As you know children have a great sense of what is fair. Our students don't understand the decision to close Sudbury Schule Ammersee. For many of the students our school has been a lifesaver, for some, you can take that quite literally. Others have been at our school their whole schooling lives and have learned and grown so much, and are now very inquisitive, eager, involved young people. For them it is incomprehensible to why a successful Sudbury school was closed.

This is what some of our students have to say:

A (14):" It's so important to have a place where I love to go to and where I want to be. People need our kind of schools because they don't fit in other places. Here the rules we make and the way we work makes sense to me."

An (6): "At my previous school my head kept spinning, people told me 'do this and do that'. Here we also have rules but there is more peace as well."

M (7): "I learn to read and write and calculate because I can go to the shop and staff or other students help me. We learn to deal with problems and comfort each other."

D (10): "I learn so much about friendship and caring for each other here. With my friends we also invent, write and sing our own songs."

K (9): "My brother (6) now knows more about the alphabet then he would have when he was in our old school because he can play with letters and words here. We learn to live with people of all ages and sorts, we learn from each other. First I thought I couldn't do something, then an older student showed me how to do it myself"

G (9): "I don't like to be forced to learn something, but I love to learn many things in my own way. I love mathematics"

E(17): "I've visited Sudbury Schule Ammersee, it is such a great place, full of activity, with many wonderful people, why would you close it? This is not good for the students who need it."

Q (15): "This is such a good school for me. It's like a miniature society, it is much more realistic than other schools and that is one of the reasons why this kind of schools are a necessity."

E (10): "We learn the same things as we would in other schools, but here we can do it at our own pace and we are allowed to move around"

L (11): "I learned to believe in myself in this school, now I dare to do many more things. I learn a lot of subjects, just not in a fragmented way."

J (10): "I learned so much English here and I like maths more now because here we can learn it in a different way."

R(16): "I am new to this school and here people are treated respectfully. You learn how to be independent so you can achieve your own goals."

Learning is a process. At our schools we want to give time and room to this process, so the innate curiosity of children is safeguarded and their natural learning talents can flourish. Too much control, evaluation and pressure calls the learning process to a halt and stresses people out.

If you look at our schools with judgment and in a predetermined way it is probably a funny and weird place. We realize that. But if you really look with an open mind, as we did for the past 6 years, you get to see how the marvelous process of education takes place.

What we see is that our students learn all the necessary things they need in life. Not by our schedule and agenda. But in an atmosphere of respect and at the pace and fashion that fits and respects them. What we see on a daily basis is children taking their own life and learning in their own way, working hard, commited to achieve goals they set themselves, struggle with challenges, overcoming fears, and learning, learning and learning all the time.

We know the staff of Sudbury Schule Ammersee and they are dear to us. They are a passionate and dedicated team, with a big heart for children and their rights. Their great way of working always shows respect, understanding and compassion. Please let them get on with the wonderful and dedicated job they're doing: making a school possible where children flourish!

If we would let the children, parents and the school themselves be the judges of their own success you clearly see this school is an amazing place. Please consider to re-open this school!

With kind regards,

The students and staf at Sudbury School Gent

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