Re: DSM:

Mike Sadofsky (
Thu, 07 Dec 2000 13:26:54 -0500

>From my "for what it's worth" department:
When I talk about Sudbury Valley, I almost invariably say
something like the following.
"Parents (and family) are the most important people and
influences in a kid's life, yet the process of growing up is
one of separating from the family, of developing
independence of thought, of ideas, of practices, etc.
As much as we want to see our kids develop this
independence, it remains a difficult process for us as
parents. We want to retain the ability to influence our
kids (and their lives) even as we want to see them succeed
without us. And this continues regardless of their age.
They are always "our kids."
Dealing with this "human factor" within the SVM means that
parents DO NOT have a role within the day to day operation
of the school. Reality, particularly in smaller schools,
does mean that some parents are there as staff, but this
creates an issue for those parents as staff and for their
kids as enrolled students. This is discussed in some depth
in the Sudbury literature as is the issue of non-staff
parents spending time at school when they have not been
invited to do so by the School Meeting."

Allan Saugstad wrote:
> Mike,
> Thank you for your comments,
> I agree that the lack of peer models of different ages will be a problem. I guess my
> hope is that, if successful, we will reach out to kids of all ages. If we end up with
> more than 20, or 30, or 40, well - we'll just have to grow and add more staff as we
> go.
> We also envision a very parent-centered school, where parents are directly involved in
> the operation of the school and the teaching. Our thoughts are that this will create a
> "family-feel" to it, not an "institutional feel". Most of the folks I know interested
> in our idea don't want to send their kids anywhere; they want to stay involved in
> their child's education as much as possible.
> Right now me and my friends all have young children (ages 0-4). I am wondering,
> though, that as they grow they won't want to neccessarily be around us as much
> anymore; as Robert has shared, they will look to role models outside of the family
> when they are older. Also, we as parents may enjoy a little freedom to pursue some of
> our own interests for a change.
> I think that perhaps what will happen is that parents will work at our school for a
> day a week, their children will use it three or four days a week, and the rest of the
> time they will spend together learning as a family.
> At the heart of our idea is to find families who wish to work together to build and
> run school for our children. The love for the children will be there, of course, in
> full force They are our kids, not somebody elses), the committment will be there, I
> think, and all else will follow. - I just hope the kids like it!!
> Allan
> Mike Sadofsky wrote:
> > Among the distinct strengths of the Sudbury model are (1)
> > the ability of students of diverse ages to mix and (2) for
> > students and multiple adult staff members to engage in
> > topical discussion across a broad spectrum of interests and
> > perspectives. I envision substantial constrains in these
> > areas in the model you describe.
> > Mike
> >
> > Allan Saugstad wrote:
> > >
> > > I am planning on twenty children who are all around 5-7 years old. We have quite
> > > a few friends who are interested who all have children this age. My hope is that
> > > we many of them will live close by or even on the large acerage that the school
> > > will be on, and grow up together as a genuine, close community.
> > >
> > > Allan
> > >
> > > Joseph Moore wrote:
> > >
> > > > Good points. One possible difference - as we got our school up to 20
> > > > students (took 3.5 years), things got much better for everybody - students,
> > > > staff and at least in our case, parents. Even 20 students provide a lot of
> > > > opportunity for friends and associations (in the informal sense).
> > > >
> > > > On a personal note, my 7 year old daughter had a hard time her first year -
> > > > we started with only about 11 kids, and there weren't enough little girls
> > > > for her to be friends with. The little boys didn't have time for her (or, at
> > > > least, not enough time - which is a LOT with my daughter). But this year,
> > > > with 3 little girls within a year or two of her age, she's so much happier
> > > > she practically glows.
> > > >
> > > > Anyway, just saying that 20 may not be too small a number - but that the mix
> > > > is going to be more important to some kids at that size.
> > > >
> > > > Joseph

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