Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Newbie with questions about safety

From: Naomi Rivkis <>
Date: Fri Dec 1 21:16:01 2006

> The first is that the enrolling child has reached a
> maturity that
> will allow him/her to be free within the boundaries
> of the school's
> rules. For instance, kids who go in the street if
> they are told not
> to are not yet ready to enroll. Crossing streets is
> hard, takes
> skills and maturity, and kids should approach
> streets slowly and as
> they are ready. I have a grandson who I felt
> couldn't cross a busy
> street until he was about 10 (I am sure I was wrong,
> but not very
> wrong), whereas I was allowed to cross an extremely
> busy city street
> at 6. Different kids mature differently. Most 4 or
> 5 year olds are
> perfectly capable of staying out of the water if
> told that the rules
> say they can't go in the water. It is once again
> maturity. (Some
> children are born cautious; others learn it later,
> but we would just
> as soon none of them did death-defying feats at
> school!)
> Being a victim of a random drive-by shooting? Is
> there a way to
> prevent that? A lot of people would like to know
> what it is if there
> is. But being moderately cautious around strangers
> is not so hard to
> teach to those few kids who aren't born knowing it.
> I don't know of
> any Sudbury schools that allow very young children
> the freedom of
> wandering the streets alone!

Thanks very much for the answer, Mimsy; I didn't know
this. I think I was under the impression that there
were, by design, no school rules whatever about who is
permitted to leave campus, or with whom, or where they
could go unaccompanied.

My daughter, at not quite three, is already old enough
that I can trust her not to go someplace I tell her
not to, with occasional reminders when she forgets
because at her age there is SO much she has to sort
out about the way the world works and what the rules
are. I feel very confident that by the time she's five
or so and enrolling at Fairhaven is an option, she
will not need that kind of regular reminder about the
basics, and in that case, if she is told (by the
school rules or by me) that she is not to go off the
grounds without an older child in tow, or not to go in
the water except when there is a designated water
activity, she will follow the rules.

What I wasn't sure, and you seem to have answered it
and I very much appreciate the information, was that
the schools either had such rules or that they
sanctioned parents setting them. I sort of see
street-crossing or independent wandering in urban
areas as a complicated tool, for which a kind of
'certification' is necessary like any other
complicated and dangerous tool. You can have the
freedom to use the area outside the grounds when you
prove that you have the skill and judgment to do so
properly. But I wasn't sure the schools had any
mechanism for this or that they would be happy with a
parent making their own such requirement for their
child. I'm very relieved to know that they do, and I
agree that for a child old enough to be taking on
responsibility for themself at all, knowing that there
is a rule and why that rule exists is probably most of
the time enough to get them to respect it. And, as you
say, when impulse strikes and they sometimes forget,
there is generally another kid around to say hey,
that's not a good idea. Or to offer company -- I
wouldn't at all mind my five-year-old going out with a
street-savvy twelve-year-old or somesuch!

In general, I'd like to know more about what sort of
rules the school communities have seen fit to set for
themselves. Do any of the schools release their
written rules to outsiders? I'd be fascinated to read


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Received on Fri Dec 01 2006 - 21:15:20 EST

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