Re: DSM: role of parents

Mike Sadofsky (
Thu, 14 Dec 2000 11:52:19 -0500

There have already been several responses to this post, but
I thought I'd reply directly.

Allen writes that he is planning to create his own
'democratic' school, and then goes on to describe what I
interpret as a proximate community school with the
requirement (I assume for compliance with government
regulations) for all children and the opportunity all adults
in this community to participate. OK, but where does
'democratic' come into play?

Then he asks about the role of parents and the potential for
children to resent their parents continued close involvement
in their lives. OK, he says he's ready to live with this

Then he describes this as a community of multiple
generations living together and supporting one another.
Again OK.

Then he asks how this fits the sudbury model. My analysis
is that it represents something other than the sudbury

I don't understand where 'democratic' comes into play in
this community.
I don't understand how this community might relate to the
rest of the neighborhood, the village, town, city, the
I don't understand whether the adults in this community have
activities that take them away from the community or whether
they spend much of their wakeful time there.
I don't understand what choices children may have as to
which adults they associate with and under what
I don't understand at what points the dynamics of familial
relationships might give way to the dynamics of a different
relationship among people.
And there is more that I don't understand.

None of this suggests that should the people involved see
values in the sudbury model, they might not be able to adopt
those values and find a way to use them in their community.
If that is what they want, I encourage them and would be
interested in learning about their result at some point.
But I would point out that the sudbury model does not adapt
easily to a 7x24 community.

Allan Saugstad wrote:
> Dear all,
> As a parent who has strived to raise two children (4 and 2) in a democratic
> household, and as a principal in a public school who can see the undemocratic
> workings here, I am very inspired by the sudbury model and am making plans to
> open my own democratic school.
> I have heard a couple of you say that they are uncomfortable with the idea of
> parents working in a sudbury school. I am having difficulty understanding this so
> I hope you will help me. I understand that many parents impose their own will and
> dreams upon their children; this I do not agree with. I also understand that the
> children may resent or dislike my involvement in their lives when they are older.
> This I can accept and will not challenge in my children.
> My community of friends all want to stay involved in their childrens' education.
> We imagine establishing an "extended family" community, where our children are
> free to learn and live whatever they choose. As a supportive family, we would all
> support them in their wishes and goals. We feel the strength of this model is
> that the family bond is maintained. There would be a natural respect and love for
> each of the children in the community as they pursue their interests. There would
> be little need to structure opening hours of our "school" because learning would,
> of course, happen all day long, every day. Together we hope to learn from each
> other and stay close to each other. Our hope is to give our children the
> opportunity to associate with and learn from whoever they choose; maybe us, maybe
> others in the community, and maybe others outside our community.
> Ultimately it's about more than just the kids. It's about all of us, together,
> supporting, living, and learning alongside one another; children, adults, and
> seniors.
> So what do you think of this? I have a hard time figuring out how this fits with
> the sudbury model.
> Please feel free to be critical. I rely on your advice in the pursuit of my
> dreams!!
> Allan

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