By Maisy Redmayne, Block 4
During half term a fortunate group of students from Block 4 spent two weeks at The Putney School, Vermont. Accompanied by Gordon and Helen we were greeted at the school with a warm welcome. The school, situated just outside the village of Putney, is surrounded by acres of woodland – which looked stunning in their ‘fall’ colours. Founded by educator Carmelita Hinton it holds similar values to Bedales and is considered one of the most progressive schools in America. As students arriving there from a similarly regarded school in England, it was interesting to see the differences but also the similarities.
Putney had a constant buzzing, enthusiastic atmosphere despite the chilly weather, for our two week stay we were given a regular Putney timetable; we were shocked by there being only three lessons each day. However, in addition to these lessons we also participated in activities such as gardening, landscaping, farm, meditation, yoga and fibre arts. We were also given barn duty – milking and cleaning out the cows – something we were told was all part of ‘the Putney experience’. Every student at Putney is given a job such as barn, cleaning, cooking or washing up; this ensures that the school employs no cleaners and only three chefs. These aspects of the school life support the attitude they try to instil and encourage in the students ‘to want to lend a hand to the community at large’. Other lessons included: anatomy, bioethics, drawing, photography, astronomy and American studies – it was extremely interesting to learn about American culture and politics.
One afternoon was spent in the picturesque local village where we had fun in the thrift shop. Our last night was Halloween, everybody dressed up and we trick or treated around the boarding houses – which made our suitcases a lot heavier for our return.
Everybody was sad to leave, as it didn’t feel like long enough to explore everything the school had to offer. Before catching our flight home we had some time to spend in Boston – a beautiful city. We had a packed day here, visiting the bustling Quincey market, a bus and boat tour – where we witnessed a breath-taking sunset and the stunning city lights across the water.
Memories of this fabulous trip and the friends we made will, I’m sure, stay with us all for a lifetime.