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

Joseph Moore (joseph@ivorycc.com)
Mon, 6 Mar 2000 08:10:13 -0800

Lauren - first of all, NEVER apologize for questioning anybody's educational
methods. Just don't stop with questioning ours - question everybody else's,
too! ;)

I'm a dad with a 6-year old girl and an 8-year old boy at Diablo Valley
School in the San Francisco Bay area. Sadly, there's no woods anywhere near
our school for my kids to get lost in - instead, my worry is that they don't
get run over in the busy streets nearby.

People need to learn that, ultimately, they are responsible for their own
safety. Given a chance, people can learn this at 18 months old. Some kids,
used to older people controlling their every move, may take a little time to
learn this. But I think the universal experience of Sudbury schools is that
the vast majority of kids already have or quickly learn a sense of safety -
what they, themselves, are comfortable with.

Like many parents, we have 'side agreements' with our kids - they agreed not
to leave campus unless they go with one of the older kids. If they decided
to ignore our agreement, there's nothing the school is going to do about it.

Welcome to the real world!

As far as math, etc., we don't teach it AT ALL! NO HOMEWORK! NO TIME TABLES!
NO ALGEBRA! We don't stop kids from learning it, and will even help them if
they ask, but we're not going to make them.

I'll let you in on a dirty little secret - the vast majority of adults
couldn't factor an equation to save their lives, even the ones who got an A
or B in high school Algebra. If you can balance your checkbook, you're way
ahead of the game. You can learn all the math required for balancing your
check book in a few weeks.

While your questioning educational methods, how about these questions: Why
does a school need to be accredited? Washington, Lincoln, Edison and a host
of 'normal' people did and do get by just fine with accredited schooling.
Why do people take SAT tests? You can get into college without one, you
know. None of the interesting and happy people I know got that way by
collecting degrees and certificates. Why not look at what the happy and
interesting people you know do? That would be educational.

Good luck with you questioning. Be fearless.

Joseph Moore

-----Original Message-----
From: webmaster@sudval.org [mailto:webmaster@sudval.org]
Sent: Saturday, March 04, 2000 7:01 AM
To: webmaster@sudval.org
Subject: DSM: [SVS Discussion Board] Re: Child Safety

The following new message has been posted on SVS Discussion Board at


   MESSAGE: (#96) Re: Child Safety
   AUTHOR: Lauren <L17KoRn452@aol.com>
   DATE: Saturday, 4 March 2000, at 10:00 a.m.

   Reply To: (#94) Re: Child Safety
   Author: liz ottoson
   Date: Saturday, 26 February 2000, at 8:48 p.m.

: Hi Patrice- My name is Liz Ottoson, I went to SVS from 1994-1997 and am
: attending Lesley College in Cambridge, Ma. I just made Dean's List for for

: the second time (out of three semesters) and am currently doing an
: internship at a local Early Intervention program (which is working with
: children ages birth to three at risk for developmental delays.) When I
: started at SVS, my parents were very concerned about what kind of college
: I could get into with no grades or GPA. After going through the transition

: of graduating SVS and starting college, I actually think going to SVS was
: ten times more of an advantage than any disadvange you could possibly
: think of. First off, I knew what I wanted from a college (although I did
: originally go to Hampshire College for a year). As many of the other young

: people at college were adjusting to this new found "freedom"
: they had over their lives, I already knew I had that. I realized very
: quickly that college could be anything I wanted to make out of it. I
: choose to concentrate on child development, though technically my major is

: Early Childhood Education. I never want to teach in a public school system

: (and I never want to labeled "a teacher", because I think
: everyone teaches) I do want to incorporate much of the SVS philosophy into

: infant, toddler, and preschool settings. Which brings me to your first
: question about your eight year old daughter's safety. Do you let your
: daughter go for a walk around the block without you? Does she have a
: tendency to walk into the middle of busy streets? I'm not trying to be
: sarcastic, I'm just trying to make the point that children have a lot more

: common sense than we sometimes give them credit for. I highly doubt your
: daughter would be in anymore danger at SVS than she would be anywhere else

: in America. If she did something that could be potentially harmful to
: herself or anyone else (like run into the street or play in the pond) the
: odds are someone would see her (the campus is big, but not that big,
: children are everywhere) and every person that is on that campus is
: responsible for everyone's safety. That's why we have the Judicial
: Committee. I'm not sure if you know about this aspect of the school, and
: if you aren't, then I completely see why you are so concerned. The
: Judicial Committee (JC) is run by both staff and students and is
: responsible for upholding the lawbook. Personal Safety is probably one of
: the, if not the, most important rules at SVS. I know that as a parent you
: may feel very aprehensive about the open campus policy because your
: natural instict is to protect your children, but if you spend any time at
: Sudbury Valley, you will see a completely safe and loving community where
: all children are safe (and responsible!) I hope I've helped answer your
: questions a bit and I'm sorry if I rambled on. Good Luck to you and your
: family.

: Liz Ottoson

MY name is Lauren and I am 17 years old my mother is looking into this
for my brother I am very sceptical. 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
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
ask a few questions about your school to whoever reads this. 1. Is your
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
by questiuoning your educational methods I am very sorry.

Thank-You Lauren


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