RE: DSM: attracting relatively free kids to a Sudbury school

Diablo Valley School (
Tue, 27 Mar 2001 12:7:35 -0800

Dear Ben,


Amy from Diablo Valley School here. I want to mention our experience as a
small school (24 kids) that has only been open for four years. We have found
that as our culture has become stronger and the number of students has grown
that we have definitely had more positive response from the type of families you
are refering to. We have become a legitimate option for home schoolers who are
looking for a broader base of people or activities to draw on, or perhaps their
lives changed and they weren't able to continue home schooling (parent needed to
get a job or something). These families are wonderful resources for the school
and very supportive in general (except for the parents who are focused on the
benefits of home schooling as an inexpensive option).

----- Original Message -----

From: Ben Robins


Sent: 03/25/01 10:20:43 PM

Subject: DSM: attracting relatively free
kids to a Sudbury school

Hi folks,


As kids gain more freedom, I wonder if Sudbury schools will gain or lose

popularity. One question I have is this:


Will many kids with non-coercive parents be attracted to Sudbury


Here's my take:


Sudbury schools offer many things, including...


1) an equal say in controlling the space


2) a day-to-day community of unintrusive, non-judgemental people (meaning

people who have no desire to judge how you should spend your time, beyond

not bothering others)


3) many resources, including staff and other students with self-initiative

and self-regulation


Kids in non-coercive families have 1) as much as Sudbury kids do.


Same with 2), although the community is likely to be smaller (namely the

family, and maybe some friends, and you'd have to see non-coercive parents

in action to decide if they truly are non-judgemental).


As for 3), kids in non-coercive families have many resources available in

their home and in their home town. Plus with no school

requirement and no fixed tuition costs, they have more flexibility for

those resources. This is the reason given to me by non-coercive
parents as

to why they didn't think their kids would choose a Sudbury school.


My conclusion is that to attract kids with non-coercive parents (and more

generally, kids with a relatively large amount of freedom), Sudbury schools

would have to gain resources by growing larger.


This conclusion is testable. For example, has a Sudbury school
that has

grown significantly (say from 60 students to 210 students) noticed a more

positive response from relatively free kids?


Since all Sudbury schools are trying to grow larger anyway (as far as I

know), this issue I've brought up has little importance for
today. However,

as child freedom increases, it's nice to understand the forces that will

effect Sudbury schools.




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