I would love to answer any questions you have about our philosophy.
As it really is just a work in progress, any discussion around it will greatly
help me clarify what we really mean by what we say, and help us edit it as time
Feel free to e-mail me privately or via this discussion group.
Alan or Laura Gabelsberg wrote:
> Impressive statement. Thank you so much for sharing it. I have some food
> for thought.
> It leads me to many more questions which you may or may not want to answer.
> So let me first ask - would you be willing to help me understand your vision
> better by asking some of these questions in this environment (or privately)?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com
> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Allan
> Sent: Friday, April 20, 2001 6:44 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: DSM: 1st meeting advice?
> Laura, Robin, Connie, et all,
> Well, here's our vision. Sorry Connie, it's not a statement like I said;
> it's a
> rambling 3 page document we are working on.
> You will notice that there is quite an emphasis on family, which is
> from the sudbury model. We want it to be a place where both children and
> feel comfortable being and learning; we are hoping that parents will be
> in mentoring children and each other in numerous ways. The only limit on
> would be the choice of the children; obviously if my child didn't want me
> I would stay away. We are a group of families who have valued our connection
> our kids and we want to extend that connection as our children grow, while
> respecting their need to grow away from us and be influenced by others.
> We have a wish. Our wish is to be a part of a learning community which
> in a place where there is friendly company, inspiring resources, and people
> young and old sharing what they have to offer; A place which is an extension
> each families home, a comfortable space suspended between home and the
> We envision creating a space where:
> • children and their families can gather to share learning experiences,
> resources, passions and interests with each other
> • we can guide children in learning from their own experiences, where they
> formulate and ask their own questions, experiment, play and learn freely and
> • people of all ages can make things, explore and discover, and through
> processes learn self-evaluation and develop individual learning paths
> • the skills and energy of parents, children, and interested community
> provide learning opportunities and mentoring to each other (as we all know,
> are mentors too; they share their big spirits and we are challenged and
> by it!)
> Our Philosophy
> We believe that self direction within a varied and supportive environment is
> essential to deep learning. Here's an explanation of where our
> understanding is
> now. We are aware that our children learn by what they experience. And we've
> noticed that if they fully experience something with an eagre and open
> they learn in a way which is authentic, in that they feel the learning
> fits them. Their hearts can only be open to something they choose. If they
> the freedom to choose, then they have ownership of the choice, which means
> experience the power of responsibility. If the experience fits with the
> inherent truth (natural sense of honesty, compassion, and responsiveness)
> child learns wholely, with integrity. If an answer is given before the
> is asked, it's not an answer but an assumption to be adopted, for there is
> inner space ready and searching. We have noticed that if a child is forced
> follow another's interests, values and goals rather than following what they
> feel ready and searching for, they may cope by overriding or dis-attaching
> their true sense of curiosity, attentiveness, and responsibility. This is
> why we
> believe a curriculum, or a set of learning goals, which is not sought and
> by the child, doesn't optimize learning. We've experienced that an open
> heart is
> protected by an environment free of threatened judgement (grading) and
> competitiveness (comparative evaluation).. We envision a learning community
> which aims to trust each childs' positive intent and self-authority. This
> explains some of our present musing about curriculum, required attendance,
> grading. It also explains our parental struggle to trust childishness
> some of our conditioning We, as adults in this community, are excited to
> our lifelong learning process, both by sharing what we already know, and by
> learning with the kids a whole bunch of stuff we don't know yet. And we look
> forward to our family members being in the company of other family members
> are developing their interests. We know that inspiration is catchy!
> To achieve this, we imagine the learning community and it's gathering space:
> • will strive to respect and value the uniqueness of each child and hence
> be a cooperative, non-comparative, and non-competitive environment where
> diversity is celebrated.
> • will, in respect for self-directed learning, strive to create an
> free of extrinsic reward, punishment and other forms of coercion, and hence
> not subject the children to grading
> • will maintain the integrity of a non-coercive environment by accepting
> children's attendance and participation in activities will be of their own
> choice and will not be required.
> • will entrust children to make their own choices in their learning, and
> families to directly support their children, maintaining overall
> for their children's education.
> • will be cooperatively run with a paid ( hopefully funded) coordinator and
> democratically directed by both adult and child members in the spirit of
> space technology". The coordinator would, following the direction of
> order supplies, manage learning center space, keep track of finances,
> activities, organize field trips, and be a constant presence willing to
> help, when appropriate. We anticipate that having a coordinator would avoid
> parent burnout in administrative and organizational tasks, and allow more
> for supporting children directly, both at the center and in other
> our children are learning in (home, community and the big wide world!)
> How would this look practically?
> • We envision a "Drop-in" space several days and/or evenings a week where
> children and parents (or children on their own if they choose) can use the
> resources available in the space ( books, art supplies, science equipment
> and can take part in spontaneous activities supported by our coordinator and
> volunteers; a place where people can just come to hang out with friends.
> and field trips could be planned based on children's interests.
> • We also envision using the space for other family events
> • One option we are exploring is to obtain independent school funding for
> project. If we can do this without compromising our principles it will
> allow us
> to cover the cost of the coordinator and some of the costs of maintaining
> center. Allan is researching this option and is quite optimistic. Al is
> currently working in the public school system and is working with us to
> this vision to a reality for his family.
> We envision a community which cherishes families and their individual needs
> perspectives. It follows then, that the structure and decisions around the
> learning center will be reflective of this respect for each family's needs
> keeping with the philosophy of children's choice being respected).
> this would reflect the wishes of parents with work commitments as well as
> parents who wish to be more involved with their children days. Hopefully,
> through a combination of the gathering place's offerings and supportive
> friendship, parents could plan to both meet some work commitments and
> share in the learning community.
> As individual families with positive intention for our children and our
> community, we look forward to working together honestly to support each
> sharing our passions, and working with our differences to build something
> May our children learn freely by passion and responsibility and may we as
> parents learn alongside them.
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