RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] New to the list

From: Joe Jackson <>
Date: Mon Aug 18 08:45:00 2003

Hi Christel!

Welcome to the list.

> Are there any children who don't thrive as well in a
> Sudbury school, or does it work well for all learning
> styles and personalities?

I have seen it take differing amounts of time for a child coming into a
Sudbury situation to hit their stride. Some kids walk into the school
and exhale and know precisely what to do. Others take time, sometimes
months or even a couple of years, to really "spread their wings".

Boys tend to take to it quicker than girls, at least on a level that I
can observe.

There is the occasional teenager for whom it is often too late for them
to truly realize that they own the place - I suppose these have been in
so many situations where they have been led to believe they have
control, only to discover that they don't where the "rubber meets the
road". Some of them get the 2/3/4 years they need in the school to
transition their focus from the external causes of their behavior to the
internal; some of them are just not able to do it.

The few younger children that we have seen that are not able to make the
school work have either lacked time at the school, or support of the
parents, or both.

> Do children ever decide on
> their own to transfer into a more traditional school?
> If so, for what reasons?

Yes, it has happened. The reason I have heard is that they are afraid
they aren't getting what they need academically, and they feel more
comfortable with adults taking control of the process of giving it to

Of course, students at Sudbury schools can and do get whatever academic
instruction they desire; in these cases my sense is that it is just a
general anxiety and a general fear of having responsibility for
specifically learning the academic stuff.

Once again, parental pressure to take academic classes and to push
themselves in the school has been a factor in setting the stage for
these students feeling like the responsibility to learn academic
subjects is so great.

Searching my memory, but other than the few teens who were so damaged
coming into the school that they had real difficulty letting go of their
fears, all of the cases I have seen where students did not work in our
school were caused by either not having enough time in the school (takes
2 years minimum for non-teens, IMO), or by a parent or parents who did
not support the school in one way or another (through either outright
"dissing" the model at home in front of the kids, applying subtle
pressure for the children to take classes, or even in several cases,
tutoring at home!).

In fact, there have been so many cases of this type of behavior of
parents at Fairhaven School, it is sometimes amazing to me that the
school works as well as it does.

Anyway, good luck on your decision, Christel. Not many parents put as
much thought into their child's schooling as you and your husband
already have - I think your child is very fortunate and will do very
well with parents like you regardless of where she goes to school.


Joe Jackson
Fairhaven School
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Received on Mon Aug 18 2003 - 08:44:06 EDT

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