Re: re[4]: DSM: democratic classroom

Date: Tue Nov 20 2001 - 12:07:06 EST

Hi William,

I have two daughters in a Sudbury school in Concord, California.
Here is something that surprised me. My youngest daughter started the week
after her fifth birthday. I was surprised when during her first month she
already grasped the way you handle a complaint against another child. There
were no special accommodations made because of her age or the fact she
doesn't read or write. When she has a complaint against another child, she
finds someone to dictate it to. She understands that at Judicial meeting a
sentences are given to children who have complaints against them.
If you had asked me at the beginning of the year how long that would take, I
might have guessed any where from a few months to a year. It made me realize
how much I underestimate her.
If you've ever seen those documentaries about refuge centers where injured
wildlife are nursed back to health. It is always mentioned that the care
givers have to be careful not let there own nurturing impulses turn these
animals from wild life into pets. At the end of these documentaries, there
always a scene where the animal is released back into the wild and everyone
When it comes to our children, people seem to believe that impulses that keep
our children dependent on us are right because it comes from the desire to
nurture. Since my personal belief is that my job is not to raise children
but to raise adults, democratic schooling where the staff treated the
children like equals made sense to me.
My five year old understands what's expected of her in her new community.
Even though it is different then how things were handled in her preschool and
how things are handled in our home.
My point is we don't know what children will thrive in a free/democratic
school until they have tried it. I think our own nurturing instincts and
assumptions sometimes blind us to what our children are capable of.

Evelyn Hardesty
DVS Parent


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