DSM: RE: [SVS Discussion Board] Re: Child Safety

Joe Jackson (shoeless@erols.com)
Sat, 4 Mar 2000 12:48:59 -0500

> I also would like to say that while
> children do have more common sense than some give them credit for
> an 8yr old
> child would NOT be able to find there way back to a campus
> through the woods.
> I agree with your concept of learning through experience and
> discussion but
> the saftey issue would be a problem for me to understand. I would
> also like to
> ask a few questions about your school to whoever reads this. 1.
> Is your school
> accredited? 2. How do you deal with the SATs? 3. How is math
> taught? I care
> about my brother very much and want only the best for him and if
> I offend you
> by questiuoning your educational methods I am very sorry.
> Thank-You Lauren

Joe from Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland


No offense is taken! This list exists for the frank and skeptical
discussion of the Sudbury Model; direct attacks and staunch defenses (and
everything in between) are what the internet was built on, and the only
danger is when the conversations never take place.

I appreciate the fact that your opinion of the eight-year-old is based on
children who are not students in a Sudbury Model school, and would say that
your statement regarding an eight-year-old finding their way around is
factually incorrect.

At this time there are many Sudbury schools functioning around the world,
and at each one, every day, dozens of eight-, seven-, and even
five-year-olds find their way back from wherever they may venture.

This issue is always a difficult one for folks new to the model to
understand, for the very fact that they are new to the model and assume
children that attend these schools would function the same way children that
go to regular schools do. Given time, the day-to-day experiences in our
schools always convince parents that their fears are unfounded.

Just to give you a couple of examples of factors which folks new to the
model would not know, is that:

-It's fairly rare for non-teenaged students to leave campus, and when they
do it's almost always with a Staff member or a student of driving age.

-Students simply don't hang out by themselves very often at our schools, and
they almost never go anywhere off campus by themselves, because there's no
reason to.

-Most young children have agreements with their parents that they won't
leave campus except with a Staff member (my wife Linda and I have that
agreement with 5yo Josette and 7yo Jimmy.

(your mileage may vary from school to school)

I'll let the SVS folks answer your accreditation question regarding them -
our accreditation is a different kind than theirs is.

SATs - students tend to prepare for them and take them in quite the same
manner conventionally-schooled students do.

As far as math is concerned, if and when a student decides to learn it, they
can do so in a variety of ways ranging from formal classes with a staff
member, to individual study, to learning at home. The key in all cases is
that when the student decides to learn things without the encouragement and
cajolement of their well-meaning parents and teachers, they learn it really
darn fast. For example, my son Jimmy decided to learn to read last week,
and last night he finished reading "A Fly Went By" which, for those who are
familiar, isn't exactly a beginning reader.

It's really great that you care so much for your brother. Every kid
deserves a sister like you.

Good luck! -And never hesitate to air your skepticism. You may encounter
passionate responses, but your doubts belong to you!

-Joe Jackson
See Fairhaven School's website at

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