The Trillium School

  • WA


United States

About Us

The Trillium School offers an education in the Sudbury tradition, where freedom, trust, and responsibility support student-directed learning for ages 5 - 19. We are located near the beach in Indianola, Washington.

A little more about the school philosophy:

The philosophy of the Trillium School is based on that of the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, MA. There are about thirty other sudbury schools across the US.

These are the Principles of the Sudbury Philosophy:

  • Freedom with responsibility. Students are free to spend their time however they please, so long as they do not impinge on the right of other students to do the same.
  • Self-initiated learning. We believe effective learning is self-motivated, self-regulated, and self-evaluated. Students plan their own activities (traditionally academic or not) rather than attending preset classes. This allows students the space to discover their own interests and pursue their passions. Students acquire initiative and learning skills they can use throughout their lives.
  • Democratic governance. All members of the school community, both staff and students of all ages, participate equally in the day-to-day decisions of the school by making and enforcing its rules and procedures. Students learn to be accountable for their own actions while developing valuable communication skills.
  • Trust. We believe that students learn responsibility toward themselves and others by being given responsibility. Staff members serve not as supervisors of the students, but as role models for life-long learning and responsible adult behavior. The Trillium School encourages self-evaluation by not issuing grades or report cards.
  • Community. We see The Trillium School as part of a larger community encompassing students, staff, families, neighbors, and ultimately, the world. The school is not a haven which shelters students from society, but is rather a safe place from which to explore the resources and negotiate the challenges of the world at large.

These core beliefs rest on a number of assumptions, among them:

  • We are all born with an intense drive to understand and master our environment.
  • Learning happens all the time, in whatever we do.
  • No one can decide for another what they should learn (or when, or how), or what constitutes a good use of their time.
  • The only way a young person can learn to be responsible is by being given real responsibility from the youngest age.

As a consequence, learning assumes a multitude of very different forms at a Sudbury school. Some of the more visible features are:

  • Age-mixing. Students are not grouped by age, so they are free to interact with and learn from everyone in the school community. Students learn to appreciate the variety of experiences and viewpoints which enrich our society, and to find their own places within it confidently.
  • Play and conversation. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of play and conversation in people's effort to build conceptual models of the world. Because this model-building also happens to be very enjoyable, some of the most common activities at Sudbury schools are things which most people would label as "just" playing and talking.
  • Open campus. Students' freedom would be incomplete if it did not include freedom of movement. Consequently, students are free to come and go from campus as they please, so long as they meet their commitments to the school.
  • All activities are valued equally. Since students are free to spend their time however they choose, it is no one's place to tell them that they are "wasting" their time, or that they should move on from one activity to another. Since we believe that people learn in all sorts of ways, from whatever they do, there is also no bias toward traditional academic subjects.