Laura Sandefer

February 1, 2021

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Joseph Campbell

I’d add to dear Joseph’s quote: “And you discover who you are by being in relationship with others.”

This illustrates a paradox of an Acton community: highly individualized learning but only because it’s deeply rooted in community.

I recently hung paintings of aspen trees in the elementary studio to share this truth to the children. Individual aspens share an extensive root system. The individual trees live longer and are stronger because of this shared system. The health of all depends on the health of the root system.

Such is life in an Acton studio. Each learner is unique. And all need each other to learn and grow.

Another paradox of the Acton community is that our learners strive to become highly independent only to realize how interdependent they need to be in order to thrive. The ultimate progression is from dependence to independence to interdependence.

The interplay of the individual and the community stirs up an energy that is tangible when you walk into one of our studios. Some people call it the buzz of Acton.

But it’s not a magical, mysterious force.

It’s an energy intentionally formulated through the strategic layering of 10 essential elements atop the grounding belief that every child is a genius.

The elements are:

The Hero’s Journey

Growth Mindset


Mixed ages

The Socratic Method

Trial and Error learning


Freedom and Responsibility

Frequent Public Exhibitions

The Guide – a unique role for an adult

I can’t wait to dig into each one of these over the next few days. In preparation for tomorrow’s post, you may want to ponder this: What’s your story?

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Middle School

6th-8th Grade

acton academy, highschool, modern school,montessori, private school in san diego , private school in la mesa

Middle School is where young people rapidly start owning their education. Middle school is the perfect time to develop intellect and character while gaining a deeper sense of self and the real world. Students have a broad palette of topics to study and pair in-depth academic exploration with real-world connections to experts and local apprenticeships. Middle School is about deepening a passion for individual subjects while broadening your understanding of yourself and your future.