Re: DSM: Sudbury Schools in an Urban setting

Susan Jarquin (
Wed, 31 Jan 2001 13:13:23 -0800

Susan in Los Angeles, California.

I remember being a kid around 10 and my sister was 8. During the summer, we used
to wander along Brand Blvd, which was the main street for Glendale, California.
Looking back, it must have been a strange scene for the adults. We knew
everyone. All the store owners knew us as regular paying customers. We also
used the buses regularly. One day we decided to check out a mall that was an
hour away. We would ask our Mom to leave money and we would walk down to the
grocery store and do the shopping for the family. These are my best childhood

I'm thinking there would probably have to be some sort of certification for
explorations outside of the school. The safety issues would be different.
Instead of knowing about the dangers of the pond or bugs, the kids would have to
be aware of gang members and crime. Things that we all have to be aware of as
city dwellers.

There is one thing that is a benefit now that I didn't have as a child. These
days there are year round schools and homeschooling is so big that it isn't
strange to see kids out and about during school hours. When I quit school in
sixth grade I had to stay indoors until after 3 p.m. or I would be questioned. I
think now kids just need a notice from the school saying that they have
permission to be off campus. At our local public high school, 11th and 12th
graders can have an annual pass signed by there parent to be off campus.

Susan Jarquin
Los Angeles, California wrote:

> Robert at Cedarwood responding to Stuart, below:
> <<<< This is Stuart Williams-Ley at Cedarwood Sudbury School in Santa Clara,
> CA,
> responding to Cindy K's question:
> << For those of you with schools, do
> > you find that the country setting lures them or sends them away? Are
> > there any schools with no space for the kids and how well have they
> > done? >>
> Cedarwood is located in an urban, middle-class residential area, a couple of
> blocks from a main commercial street. We have chosen a location that is
> relatively central rather than a rural location that would be distant from
> many of our families. For some of us, the choice is a reluctant one, as we
> would love to have better access to nature. However, even without creeks, big
> rocks, etc., our students generally find plenty of things to do.
> Stuart >>>>
> While I trust Stuart knows in what sense Santa Clara is an ""urban area",
> even with the modifiers "middle-class," and "residential," I think his
> description belies our actual setting. We are not located in a bucolic
> "country" scene by any stretch. But, neither is Santa Clara a bustling city.
> Nor does it benefit from the sense of "neighborhood" that can imbue smaller
> communities. We are in the middle of a giant span of suburban sprawl that
> has sprung up around silicon valley industry. Nobody's first choice, when
> dreaming up locales. But, as Stuart says, we are located centrally tou our
> students' families.
> Still, as a person in the model who feels a strong commitment to cities and
> city-kids, I long to see Sudbury schools in true "urban settings." Cities
> have much unexplored potential to offer Sudbury schools, in terms of spaces
> to be, and explore. Granted there is something about nature and time to be
> in it, that can be synergetic with the exploration of self undertaken by many
> in the model. But what about city living? In addition to the museums and
> parks, and restaurants, and zoos, (etc.) there are thousands of people to
> encounter, interact with and learn from, on any given day. Certainly, in
> terms of educational environment, what cities lack in some areas, they could
> more than make up for in others. And given the desperate plight of many city
> school systems (in the U.S. at least,) I find it hard to imagine a sudbury
> school in a true urban setting would have difficulty attracting a critical
> (tired, poor, huddled?) mass of students, yearning to breathe free.
> In any event, the real treasure of these schools is the freedom to explore
> the space between one's own ears.
> By that measure, I'd say that Cedarwood students do about as well as any.
> -Robert

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