A Lifetime of Confidence Starts Here

We all want our children to be happy and successful – to chase their dreams and live meaningful, fulfilled lives. Confidence plays such an important role in our capacity to believe in our own skills, goals and in our ability to succeed.

With confidence we are more likely to take action, stand up for ourselves and persevere long after those who doubt themselves have given up.

The good news is confidence is a skill which can be developed and built through experience. The Sudbury model of education supports this in many ways and most effectively, through providing numerous opportunities for students to have responsibilities.

For instance in a Sudbury school, everyone in the community shares the responsibility of caring for the school environment. According to research by Dr. Marty Rossman, children who are given household chores build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.

Children thrive when they have a role to play and they know they are an integral part of a community. Roles such as “Chairperson of the School Meetings” and “Justice Committee Clerk” provide real-life experience with roles of responsibility for students.

Furthermore, through democratic decision making in a Sudbury school, every child experiences their voice being heard and their opinions being valued. They develop the belief that they have the power to impact the world around them. They become decision makers….

In the words of educational author Alfie Kohn ‘the way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions’ (Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason)

Children in Sudbury schools learn to take responsibility for their choices and actions. Some of the hardest and long-lasting lessons we learn come from times when we fail. Adults in Sudbury school don’t rescue children when struggling, but instead offer time, space and encouragement for them to solve their own problems.

Confidence is also instilled through being self-directed learners. It develops their ability to take initiative, identify their own learning needs, determine their learning goals, find sources they need to learn and use appropriate learning strategies. Research has shown that self-directed learners become life-long learners, which is arguably one of the most sought after attributes for future careers.

Being a self-directed learner also gives the opportunity for children to engage in subjects they are passionate about. Having as much time and space to spend studying or practicing their chosen subject means they can master it in depths otherwise unattainable. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any given field according to author Malcom Gladwell (Outliers, The story of success). Achieving skills or learning goals they have set for themselves, gives children a sense of accomplishment and grows self-esteem.

Experiencing values such as trust and respect from adults and other students, creates an atmosphere of acceptance. Trusting children gives them the message they are trustworthy, which in turn encourages their self- belief. Respecting all members of the community as equal regardless of their age, size or stature engrains a clear message that every member has the right to be treated with respect. Children go on to believe they also have this right and grow into adults with a strong sense of inclusion and self-respect.

In the democratic model of education, children are not tested of assessed by adults. This means that relationships can develop without fear or judgment. Children’s self-esteem is often damaged through unnecessary testing, sometimes leaving life-long negative effects. In a Sudbury school the individual child is valued for their uniqueness. They are given the time and space for self-discovery. Knowing their strengths, weaknesses, abilities and character traits, helps them reach their full potential and become confident adults ready to take on whatever challenges life throws at them.

You see, a lifetime of confidence does start here!


True Nature Sudbury School


Where children can truly be themselves


A42 XD43
(Formerly known as St. Finians N.S.)

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