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

From: David Rovner <>
Date: Mon Aug 18 18:29:00 2003

Hi Christel,
What can I contribute to your acquaintance with SVS ?
Just what I read about it. Even though that was enough to become an
enthusiastic supporter of the idea.

So here it goes:

"The older students are a different story. They come to us in a variety of
ways, and they pose a fascinating array of challenges.
"Some of them have been with the school all their lives. Others, perhaps the
majority, transfer to us from other schools. Generally, the transfers fall
into two groups: those who were successful ("A" students) elsewhere but not
happy, and those who were at war with their former schools
("troublemakers"). Occasionally, someone is both.
"Which of the two types would you prefer? Experience has thaught us some
strange lessons. . ."
[. . .]
"The teenagers who have been at Sudbury Valley from the beginning of their
school careers don't fall into either group. They are the lucky ones, and
you see it immediatly on their faces. At home with themselves and with their
surroundings, they are able to handle the ups and downs of life without
losing sight of their goals.
[. . .]
"In a way, we can't win. On the one hand, people look at our students in
action and say, 'you skim off the cream. No wonder this kind of freedom
works for these kids. It would be useless for the average kid.' On the other
hand, people look at our open admissions and some of the kids we have taken
in, and say, 'This is a school for 'rejects' It's just not appropriate for
normal kids.' The cream, the dross, the average . . .
"We can't win, but we usually do. It all comes from treating everyone in the
same way, as responsible persons, carrying their own burdens. There is no
secret formula, no therapeutic gimmick, no magic technique. Everyone has
within themselves the necessary resources to face life. At Sudbury Valley,
they are free to discover and use them."

[excerpts from, "Good Kids" and "Troublemakers," Free at Last -- The Sudbury
Valley School, by Daniel Greenberg]

My children didn't go to a democratic school. They went first to a kind of
"open" school and then lacking alternative, to a regular school. Still I,
the same as Carol does (hi, Carol), and even though it is not an easy task
because almost everybody is going all the way around, "encourage them to
seek out skills and learning as a way of life" -- and not specifically

I wish you the best,

~ David Rovner, Haifa, Israel.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christel Weixelman" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 12:45 PM
Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] New to the list

> Hi, my name is Christel Weixelman. My husband and I
> have a 3.5 year old daughter. I am planning to send
> her to the Sudbury school in Santa Clara, CA when she
> is old enough. (We currently live in San Francisco and
> are moving to the south Bay soon.) I never knew
> anything like Sudbury existed until I stumbled across
> a link on the Bay Area Veg Fair website.
> At first I was skeptical, and amazed, but the more I
> think about it the more it just makes sense. Nothing
> stunts a child's desire and ability to learn like
> making it an unpleasant duty that he or she must bear.
> If children can learn and be free and happy, then why
> in the world would one do anything else?
> I do have a couple questions for the list members:
> 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? Do children ever decide on
> their own to transfer into a more traditional school?
> If so, for what reasons?
> Thanks!
> -Christel
Received on Mon Aug 18 2003 - 18:28:20 EDT

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