Re: DSM: Interest increasing?

Bruce Smith (
Fri, 5 Jan 2001 20:27:53 -0700

>From the Living School's website:

<<A large part of the Living School is to place the learning environment in
the context of a farm. We intend to have organic gardening, orchards and
farm animals as an integral part of the school.

Ecological and social contexts are also an important part of the Living
School -- the recognition that each of us is in relationship to each other
and to the natural world.>>

I find it interesting that, in previous posts, we were told that the
structures of the school will be allowed to emerge on its own, while,
according to their website, they hope to have organic farming, etc. "as an
integral part of the school."

I did see many things on this website familiar and encouraging to my
Sudbury eyes. But this may be one concrete departure from the SVM (not that
you said you were adhering to it; I'm trying not to be accusatory).

For one thing, another feature of Sudbury schools as I've known them is the
avoidance of promoting any particular cause, however progressive or
enlightened it may seem. We are each as apolitical, as a community, as can
be. This allows for the widest possible range of political/social
tendencies in our school communities, and more importantly, it frees the
children to choose their *own* agenda, free of adult guidance.

It's a subtle point too often missed even by people in democratic schools
(though not missed by the students!), the deceptively-benign insidiousness
of adult interference. Most of us would agree that to openly coerce a
student to follow a particular course of study is wrong. But what we
Sudbury purists maintain is that even to suggest, or to make available,
items of possible study without first waiting for students to express an
interest -- in other words, to entice or preemptively direct students --
is, in a way, even worse than naked coercion, since at least with that
there's no chance of mistaking the adults' role.

That said, I am interested in seeing how your school develops, and wish you
good luck.

Bruce Smith
Alpine Valley School

p.s. Would you please add me to your mailing list: 8410 N. 81st Street,
Longmont, CO, 80503.

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