Meet Berwyn’s Creatives: Will Hudson of The Children’s School

Name: Will Hudson

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Current Residence: Berwyn, IL

What do you get when you add passion, community, and the outdoors? You get Will Hudson of The Children’s School! This community leader and 6th grade educator is sculpting the minds of his young pupils through project based learning, community-building principles and much more. Read up on Will, The Children’s School and stop by The Children’s School First Friday Open House on Friday, March 1 or any first Friday of the month!

The Children’s School located at 200 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302

All About Will: My name is Will Hudson. I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and moved to Berwyn from Denton, Texas in 2008. I grew up fishing and playing in the woods in North Carolina and playing music and experiencing suburban sprawl in Texas. I have a wonderful wife, who is also a small business owner, and two step-children. I like to hike and camp, garden, read, and sometimes play a little music with friends, or write funny songs with my students. In addition, I am currently serving on the board of Awake, a Berwyn organization focused on providing transformative educational programming, leadership development, and relationship building in our community.

Will Hudson in his 6th grade classroom.

The Business Side: This is my sixth year teaching 6th grade at The Children’s School (TCS), which is now in its fourteenth year, and my fifteenth year as an educator. I also serve as the school’s middle level (middle school) coordinator. TCS is a progressive, project based school serving children from Kindergarten through 8th grade. The school’s progressive philosophy, with its historical roots in Chicago, is based on the belief that children learn by doing, and that their questions, interests, and concerns are important and worth exploring.

We also believe in striving for equity, kindness, and democratic communities, and work to model and practice these ideals within our classrooms and throughout our school. To this end, our curriculum and projects are determined collaboratively with student input by sharing ideas and voting on outcomes. In many ways the students lead, but they are also guided by a dedicated faculty with deep knowledge and expertise in curriculum development and the social-emotional needs of young people.

Connection to Berwyn

Although The Children’s School recently relocated to Oak Park from Berwyn, there is still a strong Berwyn presence at the school. About 40% of the school’s enrollment is from Berwyn. Many of the staff have Berwyn roots, including Will. Throughout the year, The Children’s School offers community conversation open to families and friends of the school. Some of the upcoming conversations include:

  • Speaker Panel on the Importance of Nature Play
  • TCS Festival of Umoja

Describe yourself in 3 words.

The three words I would use to describe myself are skeptical, thoughtful, and humorous.

Skeptical: I originally chose irreverent instead of skeptical, but I think the irreverence of my youth has been replaced by a healthy skepticism of pretty much anything or idea that has been standardized, systematized, or commodified.

Thoughtful: I’m a thoughtful person, I think, and maybe sometimes to my own detriment. I know a fair amount about nature stuff and ecology. I’ve spent a lot of time observing and learning about the natural world, as well as observing and thinking about my students. I think a lot about creativity and play, socio-economic systems, and even neuroscience. I am inspired by ideas. I am inspired by people who are caretakers, who are brave, and who are kind.

Humorous: Oh yeah, and humorous. I like to make the people laugh.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I have a hidden talent, but I can’t tell you about it. It’s hidden, and it wouldn’t be a hidden talent if I told you about it. And it’s not juggling.

Which time period would you visit and why?

The time period that I would most like to visit is the future. Does that count? Anything from 50 to 1,000 years into the future would be cool. Maybe even 10,000…or right up to the point where the sun swells and swallows the Earth. I would like to see how the whole thing shakes out.

What do you think is mankind’s greatest invention?

Humankind’s greatest invention is compassion. It’s a work in progress.

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