(no subject)

Scott D Gray (sdg@world.std.com)
Sat, 21 Dec 1996 00:37:10 -0500 (EST)

On Fri, 20 Dec 1996 KleinCon@aol.com wrote:

> In a message responding to Dale, Dan wrote (in small part):
> << Nor do our children have "contests seeing who could
> climb the ropes [or the tree] the farthest and fastest." >>
> Dan,
> I am pleased and impressed with your list of items in response to Dale's
> post. You said many things that needed to be said, and quite clearly. The
> only point of question I have is in the one I quote above. It has been my
> experience with kids of many ages, personalities, and abilities in many
> settings (both democratic and non-democratic) that many of them will often
> freely enter into such "contests" as a means of spicing up other activities,
> figuring out their "pecking order", and challenging themselves. Are you
> really saying that at no time in recent memory has any kid at SVS challenged
> another to "Race you to the beech tree!" or some other such "challenge"?

I was very glad to see Danny's recent article, myself... He made plain
some things about SVS which those of us at SVS take for granted but
which not everyone on this list may realize about competition at SVS.

On this one point, Danny's words do seem a bit broad... So let me try to

Speaking as an alumnus... I think its fair to say that there were often
contests, races, etc... I recall a number of footraces, and even a couple
reading contests, not to mention card games and board games.

There are three important points, though... 1) Neither the school, nor an
official organ of the school (such as a staff member) organized or offered
special praise for such activities. 2) I can't recall such games ever
establishing any kind of "pecking order" -- in part because the age-mixing
caused 6 year olds to be competing with 14 year olds in foot races; the
notion of such a contest establishing a pecking order would have been
ludicrous. (I don't want to deny that pecking orders exist, in limited
form... But when they arise they come from very complex social
interactions, and not a handful of simple contests.) 3) Though such sorts
of competitions do exist, they are fairly infrequent relative to schools
where kids are all kept with others of the same age; and they serve to
_complement_ friendships and play a part in those friendships -- not to
form relationships.

> Alan