[Discuss-sudbury-model] directing a democratic school

From: <reb_at_philadelphiafreeschool.org>
Date: Wed Apr 21 08:32:01 2004

Sally,

I'm a former staff member at two Sudbury schools. The first was built on
twelve country acres of woods, grass, hills and streams. The second was
located in some portable classrooms in the flat, back yard of a church.
[Compared to other lots in densely suburban silicon valley, it was
relatively large, but you could still throw a baseball over it,
diagonally, without hitting the ground.

My experience is that the most important resource, by far, that any
learner needs unfettered access to, is the space between her own ears.
The second most valuable resource is probably the mind of her fellow
students. Then, I'd say it's good to have enough physical space to move
around and make some noise in, without disturbing others - which entails
having space for quiet contemplation, as well. If I might flatter myself
a bit, I'd place the minds of staff members and volunteers next on the
list, though I concede the points of others (often students) who might
place this item somewhere below books and broadband internet access.

I am now working with a group of committed founders to open a
democratic/free school in an entirely urban setting in Philadelphia.
While I expect some features of our urban locale will require special
attention in learning how to navigate wisely, I see many challenges and
rewards that are largely analogous to those available to students in
democratic schools in more pastoral settings.

Reb Murphy

Philadelphia Free School
(coming soon. . . )

PS Jerry, What's entailed in "directing" a democratic school? I'm not
trying to bust your butt, here. But, why wasn't your school
self-directing?

Not that
> I'm at all suggesting we need the world but I think space is a factor in
> how folks can hang out and mix and try things out. I'm wondering how many
> free schools are in urban or congested environments and how that is
> working
> out.
>
> Sally >>
>
> Sally. . . I directed a democratic school for 17 years before I started
AERO. . .

Jerry Mintz
Received on Wed Apr 21 2004 - 08:31:33 EDT

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