Freedom to Learn: Dr. Peter Gray's blog
Peter Gray is a professor in psychology, renowned child development expert, self-directed learning advocate, and the father of an SVS alum and staff member, Scott Gray.

Recommended articles by Peter Grey:

The Six Optimizing Conditions for Self-Directed Education

This must-read by the Alliance for Self-Directed Education reads like a blueprint for our school.

Ten Signs that You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child 

by Jerry Mintz of AERO–The Alternative Education Resource Organization on cues from your child’s behavior and emotions that indicate a bad fit with the school environment.

A Thousand Rivers

This essay really makes self-directed learning real. "How did you learn to use a computer? Did a friend help you? Did you read the manual? Did you just sit down and start playing around with it? Did you do a little bit of all of those things? Do you even remember? You just learned it, right?"

Videos, articles, and email discussions by founders, staff, students about the school experience and philosophy.



 Free to Learn by Peter Gray 

Well-built and researched study of history of compulsory education, and a persuasive call to arms for a self-directed education revolution. Formative in Wildwood’s founders' thinking.

How Children Learn by John Holt

Instead of Education by John Holt

Quite possibly the most concise and well-spoken thinker on self-directed education.  

Free at Last by Daniel Greenberg
Overview of Sudbury Valley school by founder and former physics teacher. Provides slice-of-life as well as applied philosophy and history of school. Free E-book here.

Legacy of Trust by Greenberg and Sadofsky
Comprehensive study with in-depth interviews of the first generations of Sudbury Valley alumni.


Academic Articles




Ainley, Mary. 2012. “Students’ Interest and Engagement in Classroom Activities.” In Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, edited by S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, and C. Wylie, 283–302. New York: Springer.

Engel, Susan. 2011. “Children’s Need to Know: Curiosity in Schools.” Harvard Educational Review 81 (4). Harvard Education Publishing Group: 625–45.

Harackiewicz, Judith M., and Chris S. Hulleman. 2010. “The Importance of Interest: The Role of Achievement Goals and Task Values in Promoting the Development of Interest.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass 4 (1). Blackwell Publishing Ltd: 42–52.

Schiefele, Ulrich, Andreas Krapp, and Adolf Winteler. 1992. “Interest as a Predictor of Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of Research.” Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Seel, Norbert M. 2012. Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Boston, MA: Springer US.


Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger. 1991. Situated Learning : Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tenenberg, Josh, and Maria Knobelsdorf. 2014. “Out of Our Minds: A Review of Sociocultural Cognition Theory.” Computer Science Education 24 (1). Routledge: 1–24.

Thomas, Douglas, and John Seely Brown. 2011. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Vol. 219. CreateSpace Lexington, KY.

Vygotskii, L. S., and Michael Cole. 1978. Mind in Society : The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Weinberger, David. 2014. Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. Basic Books.

Wenger, Etienne. 1998. Communities of Practice : Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.

Wertsch, James V. 1985. Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.