sustainable design
learning by doing
learning by doing
Work Program

We take work seriously at Putney, and the Work Program is a central part of a Putney student’s experience.We believe in the dignity and relevance of physical work and the importance of students taking responsibility for it.

The Work Program provides a setting in which young adults can further their understanding of the relationships among work, home and community life. It offers the opportunity for physical growth as well as meaningful participation in the work necessary to sustain a community. It teaches adolescents the importance of sustained effort by providing physical work in a structured educational setting. In doing so it integrates intellectual and physical labor, thus helping to educate the whole child. The result of participation is empowerment. Students learn how to do fundamental human activities that form the foundation of life and the living of it. The objectives of the Work Program are:

  • To teach students about the value of physical work.
  • To instill a sense of self-reliance and the importance of providing for oneself. To foster a sense of pride and dignity in work well done and in making a meaningful contribution to the community as a whole.
  • To instill a sense of caring for our place and the environment in which we live.
  • To provide an alternative setting in which adults can mentor students.
  • To teach self-discipline and responsibility toward others through assignment to a variety of jobs.
  • To provide instruction in practical life skills: how to manage time and work on a schedule, call in sick, take direction, resolve problems in the work place, work together with others toward a common goal.
  • To provide instruction in specific job skills, i.e. carpentry, cooking, farming, forestry.
  • To use the campus as a laboratory in which the students strengthen their understanding of classroom material by application in a real-life setting.

Throughout their stay at Putney, all students must satisfy six work distribution requirements:

  1. Lunch job
  2. Dinner waiting
  3. Barn crew
  4. Dish crew
  5. General substitute
  6. An afternoon job in one of the land-use activities (garden, farm, woods, sugaring, landscaping, trail maintenance, etc.)

Students take an active role in assigning and supervising work at The Putney School. This student Work Committee consists of seven students (each covering a particular area: barn, general subs, breakfast, lunch, dinner, classrooms and secretary), who assign each student a job (six days of 30-40 minute work) and supervise them. These job assignments last for a trimester. At the end of each trimester, students fill out a request for the next trimester’s job.

The Putney School | Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road, Putney, Vermont 05346-8675
802-387-5566 (main) | 802-387-6278 (fax) | |