Re: DSM: public school prisons (sharing the SVS model, etc.)

Allan Saugstad (
Thu, 09 Nov 2000 14:09:35 -0800

This seems to be the right time for me to communicate my own thoughts on
the messages from the last few days regarding the "evils" of public
schools and why more people don't adopt the SVM.

My own journey began before I ever did any research into altenative
schooling. My journey also didn't begin when I first became a teacher or
a daycare worker, which I was for many years.

My journey didn't even begin when my wife became pregrant. I worked long
hours building a cradle for my little one to sleep in.

My journey truly began the day my first girl was born. When she cried,
we held her close. When she reached for things, we helped her. When she
called for us, we came. When she wanted to nurse, my wife nursed her.
The cradle? What good was that, since the baby was obviously more happy
in our arms, sleeping with us in our bed? We truly loved and respected
her. We treated her as a genuine person, with feelings which needed to
be respected.

Later, when she was a toddler, we naturally let her wean herself. We let
her choose her clothes (ugh!) We let her eat what she wanted to eat. We
let her go to sleep whenever she was tired, etc.

We watched her huge smiling face and energetic, emotional personality
flourish. We watched as she learned, learned, learned - all day long,
non-stop. She learned, through trial and error how to run down a hill.
She experimented with crayons and learned how to make beautiful
drawings. She learned about what happens when you drop something from a
height. The list was endless (and still is).

Suddenly she is approaching school-age (funny phrase, isn't it?).
Bango!! My two worlds collide. Even though I work in a public school, a
million questions race through my head; How can I send my daughter
somewhere with people she has never met before? How could I ever expect
her just to trust these people? How could I tell her to follow
directions, when she has rarely been made to in her whole life? I watch
the kids lining up in straight lines. (She wouldn't do this). I watch
them being told what to do (ha ha, try this with my kid!) I watch them
learn that school is about jumping through hoops rather than following
your heart (something my girl has never enjoyed).

So you see, the sudbury idea came upon me quite unexpectedly and through
my heart - the truth of the model to me was totally self-evident.

Most parents out there think they need to manage their kids - manage
their behaviour, manage their sleeping routines, manage their
dependencies, manage their emotions, and of course manage their
learning. Often this out of a need to manage the enormous time demands
of parenting and their own busy life. It is not until parents truly
understand that they can simply and truly just love their child, enjoy
them, learn from them, and let them be, that they will look for and
perhaps demand more schools like sudbury.

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