[Discuss-sudbury-model] questions about social atmosphere

From: raymond hulser <r.hulser_at_worldnet.att.net>
Date: Sat Feb 15 10:32:00 2003

Hi,
My name is Temple and I live in Takoma Park, MD, with my husband Ray, and sons Gabe (3 1/2yrs.) and Emmett (8mos.). I've been lurking on this list for some time, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm so glad that we live near Fairhaven, and hope to send my sons if they're amenable.

Anyway, as Gabe's social life has become more complicated (attending nursery school, increasing language skills, etc.), I've become increasingly curious about how kids at democratic schools generally treat one another. Lately, I've noticed that all of Gabe's friends who attend pre-school, engage in a surprising amount of -- for lack of a better word -- disturbing behavior. Specifically, I've seen a surge in teasing, name-calling, and excluding ("We don't like you," "No boys allowed") since these kids turned 3. I know that most people think this is typical pre-school behavior, but I think it's related to pre-school culture, and will get worse once they are immersed in the culture of traditional schools. I've been clinging to the hope that the democratic school culture fosters a higher degree of respect and compassion, so would really appreciate your observations of how kids tend to treat one-another in that setting (especially Fairhaven). I'm particularly interested in your observations of:
- how disputes are handled between individuals or within groups outside of school meetings
- how do older kids tend to treat younger ones?
- what kinds of social groups do you see? what age ranges do they encompass? are they cliquish?
- do you think the frequency of name-calling, excluding, teasing, etc. is lower among democratic school kids than it is among their traditional school peers?
- among the five year olds, do you see significant differences in behavior between kids who attended pre-school and those who did not?

Thanks so much,
Temple
Received on Sat Feb 15 2003 - 10:31:59 EST

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