Parents: It Doesn’t Matter What College Your Kids Attend

In the United States, almost anyone who wants to can get into college, and research shows it doesn't usually matter, in the long run, which college one goes to.

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How Schools Thwart Passions

“Follow your passion” is what almost every commencement speaker tells new graduates. It’s almost cruel.

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Infants’ Instincts to Help, Share, and Comfort

Children know innately what they must do to develop well. This applies to physical, intellectual, emotional and social development—and also to moral development.

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Toddlers Want to Help and We Should Let Them

Researchers have found that very young children innately want to help, and they will continue helping into adulthood.

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Confessions of a Privileged White Guy

After reading yet another story of an innocent African American reported to police for looking suspicious, I thought of how my life would change if I were Black.

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How We Deprive Children of the Physical Activity They Need

Trips to the park and adult-organized sports do not, and cannot, remedy the health problems caused by today's restrictions on children's freedom to play.

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Twenty Year Celebration!

On Saturday, June 9th, we celebrated twenty years of Fairhaven School. In addition to joining our annual Capture the Flag game, about two hundred current students, alumni, founders, and friends of the school visited, shared stories, played music, ate brick oven pizza, and dug up the time capsule we buried in 1998. Founder and staff member Mark McCaig shared these remarks in the backyard at the time capsule ceremony.


It’s About Time

How do you mark twenty years? We’ve been open about 3,780 days for 30,240 hours. We have 79 graduates. JC has adjudicated approximately 24,074 cases. School Meeting has met about 800 times.


In the summer of 1998, approximately 200 people, almost all volunteers, contributed time, money, muscle, and grit to build the Old Building. It was, as they say, a labor of love. On September 23, 1998, we opened for business, and students immediately started managing their own time here. And so it began. I often boil down the Fairhaven experience, the Fairhaven magic, if you will, to the following: students here have the gift of time. Time to play, time to talk, time to think, time to fail, time to succeed, time to grow, time to change, time to learn, time to forget, time to hide, time to seek, time to jam, time to drum, time to sing, time to swing, time to survive, time to game, time to curse, time to pray, time to Youtube, time to vote, time to plead, time to believe, time to doubt, time to draw, time to read, time to graduate, time to celebrate, time to write, time to add, time to subtract, time to love, and yes, time to hate, time to kickball, time to ultimate, time to infection, time to pretend, time to create, time to explore, time to munchkin, time to cook, time to argue, time to agree, time to hug, time to roughhouse, time to exist peaceably, time to ball, time to skate, time to act, time to improv, time to run, time to foodrun, time to snap, time to insta, time to climb, time to stumble, time to parkour, time to dance, time to clean (occasionally), time to cry, time to laugh, time to give thanks, and finally, just maybe, today we need a new verb: time to fairhaven.

Two more numbers I’d like to share: 1 mastodon tooth found in the stream. And my personal favorite: 10 alumni who have worked here so far. I love this number best because one day, I’ll be gone, and, along with my remarkable colleagues, these alumni will continue the work. They will keep pushing this boulder up the hill, they will fairhaven this place into the next twenty years.

–Mark McCaig 

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Libraries as Centers for Self-Directed Education

We have two types of publicly supported institutions whose purpose is education—schools and libraries. One tries to mold us; the other tries to respond to our needs..

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Children’s & Teens’ Suicides Related to the School Calendar

Psychiatric emergencies and youth suicides rise sharply with the school year.

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A Trip to the Stream – An Intern’s Tale


Fairy Stream by Kathrine Egeberg

Although I can’t believe it now, looking out at all this rain, a couple of days ago the weather was very hot and humid. One of the younger girls invited me to go to the stream with her, so we walked together down the winding, forest stairs. The leaves on the trees are now toughened up, and the sun is almost completely covered, except for the occasional diamond of light shining down. She got in the water, I stayed on the shore. She found fossils, I looked for them. Eventually, she asked me whether I was too afraid to go into the water, since I had hurt myself a month earlier in the stream. I told her that I wasn’t afraid, I just didn’t feel like it. Then I realized how silly I sounded, and every other time I had gone in the stream it had been a nice experience. So, I took off my shoes and socks, feeling the dirt beneath my feet. She took my hand, and we walked down the small staircase made of dirt and tree roots. The tree roots acted as hand holds in our descent into the water. The stream bed was both hard jagged rocks and soft with algae. It flowed quickly over my feet, instantly cooling them and giving me relief from the heat of the day.

We wandered about, and she told me they used to make fairy houses here with a previous staff member. She said that she didn’t necessarily believe that fairies were real, however, she had enjoyed making the houses. Then she showed me how to make the perfect mud and dirt mixture, so we could build the optimal home for the fairies. We started to work making the mud bricks. She would place them in her design. We made a doorway of sticks, so the fairies would have a place to go in and out. The floor was made with mud from the water, but then we had to make it solid by sprinkling dirt on it. In the beginning, I was asking her what she wanted to do in every step of the construction. At one point she stopped me and asked, “What do you think? I want your ideas as well!” The four walls rose from the sand bed, the mud sinking and creating a triangle shape to the walls. She put in rooms and furnished them with chairs and table, beds for the fairies to sleep in. There were three fairies that lived here, she proclaimed: a mother, a father and a child fairy. She made sure the fairies’ beds were soft with mud from the stream, and she carefully placed vibrant beech leaves for their bedcovers. For the roof we decided on grasses, sticks and leaves as our building material. We laid the sticks across and piled the leaves over, thereby creating a shady home for our fairy friends. I hope they are enjoying their home, especially now that the rain is pouring down. I hope that the mother and father tuck in the child at night, and I can’t help but wonder whether they get a visit from the tooth fairy in the fairy woods.
–Kathrine Egeberg

(Kathrine is Fairhaven School’s wonderful Danish intern. She is a student of education who wants to start a Sudbury school in Denmark one day. Kathrine is leaving soon, but this post shows you why we will miss her so much.)

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