Summerwood started when...
Summerwood's director, Wednesday Hobson, encountered an absence of educational opportunities in the Santa Clarita Valley. As an educator who currently works with teenagers at a progressive, inquiry-based high school on the Westside, she knew the value of an education that honors the interests and ideas of students. She could see, everyday, the importance of not just engaging students through fun projects, but, at the core, incorporating students into a democratic process of lesson planning. When students have input into what and how they learn, they become empowered by their own education. The quality of education is measurable in an empowered classroom: students recall, employ, and conceptually understand what they learn in ways that they could not outside of inquiry-based education. And all of this happens because, rather than teaching to a standardized lesson plan, she taught whatever was recently sparked by students’ questions and passions.
She knew that she wanted this experience for her own children, and despite fervent Google searches, nothing popped up that came remotely close. Inquiry-driven, emergent, constructivist elementary schools existed--just nowhere nearby. Combine that with the desire for extended free-play, for time to experiment outside, for a school that immersed students in nature, in a consistent manner (not just as a one-off field trip), and she could barely find a school inside the United States that fit the parameters.
Summerwood School was started with the intention to fill a giant void, as a model for future schools, and to create the framework for a K-5 progressive, independent micro school. Our program focuses on the important stuff: students who feel empowered by school, lessons that encourage cooperation, instead of coercion or competition, and the sense of adventure that learning always out to have.