Your Thoughts On An Ideal School Environment

Discussion in 'Children' started by Kia, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Kia

    Kia Member

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    Hello everyone! I'm new here and am grateful for the detailed information so generously provided on the forum. I have much respect for Ray Peat's ideas and research.

    I found a quote of Ray Peats from Charlie's post "Mind/Body Connection Interview with Dr. Ray Peat :
    " Authoritarians talk about protocols, but the only valid "protocol" would be something like "perceive, think, act.""

    My question for you is- What would you ideally want schools to offer children? I'm starting a Kindergarten and possibly grades later on.

    I would really like to hear your ideas, what would you want for your children?
     
  2. j.

    j. Guest

    They'll let the children do whatever they want.
     
  3. Asimov

    Asimov Member

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    Look up a schooling type called "sudsbury" schools. It's basically a school where the children and the teachers maintain 1 vote a piece on school policy issues, meaning the mandates are mostly kid-centric (exactly what they need to be).

    They don't have scheduled classes, groups, meeting areas or anything of the sort. It seems that, for the most part, the kids just wander around playing with the various educational games, learning what they wish as they wish. If they get into a situation where their own inquisitiveness can't teach them, there's plenty of teachers or older children around to help out. If the kid wants to stop everything and take a nap, they're perfect allowed to do so, and if they just want to play chess all day long, they're allowed to do that also.

    I also like the "unschooling" trend that's happening now, although it seems to mostly be taking place with home-schooling. It's exactly what it implies: not "teaching" children, but "negotiating" with them. A lot of the parents are homeschooling, using courses like Kahn Academy online to teach their children the the R's, and then the rest of their time is dedicated to play and social interactions.

    Unfortunately, there's only a few sudsbury schools in the US, and unschooling requires fulltime parent interaction. I think the best common measure that exists today are Montessori schools, which are sort of like a Sudsbury school in that they allow the kids more freedom to interact with different age groups and to learn by playing rather than rote. Not perfect, because they still have some mandatory "authoritarian" time but....better.

    Kids learn best through play. It allows the mind to explore new and dangerous situations without the expectation of fear, pain, or failure. This exploration grows the child's brain. If I had a 5 year old child tomorrow and needed them educated, I'd want to put them in a place that was safe and didn't stifle their creativity. I'd be fine if the only thing they learned was not to infringe upon the rights of the other children (no hitting, no stealing, no forcing, talk nice, ask politely, negotiate etc). And, from my own personal horrible experience in K-12, I'd want there to be an unlimited naps policy.
     
  4. 4peatssake

    4peatssake Member

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    I agree with what Asimov has said. For googling purposes, it's Sudbury School.

    My youngest attended Montessori from pre-school through Grade 2. Like Asimov said, it's better than regular school but not ideal.

    I don't have personal experience but I know of someone who was trained as a Waldorf School educator after her sons had great difficulty in regular schools. Both were very creative and I am told they flourished in this environment.

    Source

    I bought this book for my own children and recommend it - even for kids, like both of mine, who remain in regular school by their own choice.

    The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

    The concepts are for teens but will work with any age. The idea is to give the children freedom - to grow, to learn, to explore and to develop naturally and how they so choose.

    Good luck with your school. I wish you and those who attend the very best.
     
  5. Asimov

    Asimov Member

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    Whoops. Yes it's Sudbury not Sudsbury. Some other key points of a Sudbury school is that kids aren't just passive participants, they're literally in charge of EVERYTHING. Hiring, firing, budgets, rule setting, mediation, judicial hearings, fund raising....literally....everything. The tagline they use is something like "school isn't practice, it's real life". Pretty awesome.

    They're not just exercising the rights inherent to be a functional human being, but also the responsibilities. Knowing and exercising these two aspects are essential to character development.
     
  6. mandance

    mandance Member

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    I focus on creative development, rather than obedience is probably ideal.
     
  7. OP
    Kia

    Kia Member

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    Thank you for the replies, I think I'm on the right track with lots of free play and allowing the children to explore and be creative. So far I'm drawn to the Waldorf model and have experience in that area but I want to be open to new ideas or alternate programs that are working for children (environments that create confident children capable of thinking for themselves) other than the home environment of course, which is not an option for many parents. I like the sound of the Sudbury model for the older children, I will look into it more.

    I'm going to try to incorporate as much healthy food into the snack and lunch program as I can, while staying within the boundaries of what parents in general think is healthy. Using potatoes instead of grains, using lots of milk and butter, cooking in coconut oil, favour fruits over veggies, jello as a snack, etc.

    Are there any major changes to the Ray Peat diet guidelines when used for children?
     
  8. Beebop

    Beebop Member

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  9. Jenn

    Jenn Member

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    Life is not about doing whatever you want, it is about making appropriate choices and dealing with the consequences, good or bad and learning from them and making better choices later on.

    To quote the principal of one Waldorf school, "I think children need to be told NO at least once a day." ;)
     
  10. Rolan

    Rolan Member

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    Lord of the Flies indeed :lol:

    I'm not sure how literal you're being here, I will have to do a little research, but I cannot think of a good reason for letting kid's rule over everything like that. It's taken to an extreme and they will probably have no idea what the implications of their actions are. It's far too much.

    My ideal environment would be outdoor/play/creative centric, whether they be learning Science or Art, rather than 8 hours of sitting down in class and then homework on top. The amount of sitting down in school is criminal :roll:
     
  11. Asimov

    Asimov Member

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    I never implicated that children should be free to make consequence free decisions. Quite the opposite.

    There's a difference between no for the sake of no, and no because what they're asking isn't feasible. Telling a kid no he can't build with legos because you've arbitrarily decided it's time to read "red rover" does nothing to develop a child, and everything to hinder him.

    Telling him no because he asked "can I have a pet monkey" is an entirely different scenario. The child, as he has no money of his own, needs to be educated as to why it wouldn't be feasible for you or anyone else to use their hard earned money to indulge his flights of fancy. I was told many times as a child "if you want a _____ get a job and buy one".

    Well....what's a better way to learn the implications of an action. To not be allowed to take it, or to take it and be forced to deal with the consequences? The answer is obvious to me and the founders of Sudbury schooling.

    Children aren't idiots. They recognize the idea of consequences from an extremely early age, probably as early as 18 months based upon my interaction with kids. I know for a FACT that by the time children are of school age (5-6) they are more than capable of dealing with "adult" consequences. I used to work with kids, I've worked with literally hundreds of kids in this age group, and not one of them had a problem understand the idea of cause and effect. I let them know they were consequences to XYZ behavior, when they do XYZ behavior I initate those consequences, and XYZ behavior ceases to happen. It's pretty simple.

    If you want a kid to learn how the real world works, there's no better way than to give them the chance to learn consequences of serious decisions at a young age. Go do your research.....sudbury schools aren't lord of the flies or anything close to it. The book it's self is a manifesto of authoritarian greatness written by an authoritarian that was (just FYI) a moderate failure until schools and universities (the first bastions of all authoritarian teachings) made it mandatory reading, buying up thousands of copies and forcing it onto the bestseller list.

    In reality, nothing of the sort happens to children when you leave them to their own devices. Most frequently, they communicate, negotiate, and generally get along. That is, of course, until an adult (or an adult-abused bully child comes along) and throws a monkey wrench in their peaceful little socities.

    I can't think of a good reason NOT to let children run their own lives....since they do in fact own their own lives I think it's perfectly fair that they are allowed to do what they wish with them.

    Children...are not.....slaves.....
     
  12. Rolan

    Rolan Member

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    Asimov, it would help if you retained a sense of humour here in respect to my comment. Nonetheless, that is a very interesting fact about Golding/LOTF, and I concur about your sentiments toward authoritarianism. I'm not an advocate fwiw.

    Never implied children were idiotic little urchins who cannot think for themselves, nor that they're incapable of intuitively understanding basic world principles such as cause and effect. Children are always the most intuitive of us because the conditioning hasn't had a chance to fully subdue them yet. My skepticism is not about giving kiddies responsibility at all, it's about the level of responsibility that this place is giving them;

    This is a social experiment, essentially. I actually feel sorry for the poor blight's, being lumbered with such a high degree of responsibility at that age. Maybe in time Sudbury will create an army of Ubermench, and they'll be running our societies from their playground HQ :lol:

    That said, I do thoroughly agree that schools are largely inadequate preparation for real life. It'd be pretty fascinating to see how these Kid's turn out, or if they even enjoy having that degree of responsibility right now.


    It's amazing how you used my post to presume this much about how I think in regards to children.
     
  13. OP
    Kia

    Kia Member

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    Thanks for the TEDtalk Beebop. The school would be located in Canada with plenty of outdoor/nature space to explore.

    Any thoughts on how to provide a Peat inspired diet to children of families who may not otherwise eat healthy food?
    What do you think the 'typical diet" or even "mainstream healthy" diet lacks most? Or is it more important that they not get certain foods?
     
  14. 4peatssake

    4peatssake Member

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    It's doubtful that parents will object to milk, fruit and even jello - although I'd make sure it was homemade.

    I'd surely avoid all grains, nuts (that's usually easy because of nut allergies) and PUFAs of course.

    So oj, fruit, milk, jello should be easy to do. Gummy snacks too although again homemade are preferred because the commercial ones have a lot of crap in them. A small snack of raw carrot on its own once a day would also be good.

    Parents may be willing to make snacks if you educate them and provide some recipes. They don't have to buy in to Peat of course, just explain that you have found that homemade snacks are much more healthy due to commercial snacks using toxic preservatives to extend shelf life. Most will be happy that you wish to provide the healthiest snacks possible.

    Mainstream diets lack proper nutrients, are toxic in many instances and in very large measure are responsible for degenerative disease. Milk, fruit and gelatin will provide quality nutrition to your students. You'll just need to develop an appropriate strategy to ensure the parents buy-in to your ideas and insist on this for their children. ;)
     
  15. OP
    Kia

    Kia Member

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    Great ideas! Thank you
     
  16. celica1984

    celica1984 Member

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    I'm going to sound contrary to what many posters here think, but I think my Christian school I grew up in for most of elementary school (I'm 25 now...) was almost ideal, with the only real issue being religious fundamentalism (though I think in hindsight this is better than the indoctrination of public school, the religious indoctrination...) Obviously, I can't say it was always a 100% pleasant time with every teacher ever being great, and things like dress code/etc were silly.

    Anyway, it's hard for me to describe the total educational style, but to put it shortly, teachers actually cared if you progressed. We tried the best we could to follow the curriculum, but if a bunch of students were having trouble in math, well, that day we're gonna do 2-3 hours of math instead of one to make sure all the students understand it, teacher goes to your desk, works out the problem with you, etc. Sure, then English class would take a hit, or cursive or something like that, but then this would generally be compensated later in the week, or some less essential lessons or projects would be skipped over. I liked this significantly better than the rigid type of class setup of my public middle school, of one hour for everything come hell or high water. For the very rare times you did need help after class, the teachers would insist you do it, not just say "oh well, it's not my problem you didn't come for help after class" like in public school, but this was very rare, as they actually tried for help in class.

    More broadly on the educational style, everything was really pretty oldschool. I got the feeling the school was modeled after school from say, the 1950s or earlier. I learned for example, how to diagram sentences, in 3-4th grade, whereas when I went to public school we did not do until 8th grade. We learned cursive in kindergarten, phonics enough to sound out most words in kindergarten as well, along with addition and subtraction. Very very big on rote learning, with times tables being done often and even encouragement to do flash cards at home, for example. At the same time, there were a lot of "story problems" with almost everything, lots of writing, etc. For art we did a lot, though maybe some was lacking. We did a lot of projects depending on what the teacher knew, for example, fabric covered plates, candle holders, bird houses. We took really quite a lot of field trips, too, generally at least 4-5 per year.

    Recess! We had recess! Lots of recess! In the morning if you got to school early, you got a half hour or more in the morning to play, depending on how early you came. Then after lunch, you got 1/2 hour, but very frequently teachers would extend it to 45 minutes or even an hour or more, depending on how the day was going, teacher's mood towards us, if we accomplished something in class, etc. There wasn't really a lot of supervision at recess, but no electronics like Gameboys were allowed back then. You could read a book or play a board game, but no electronics allowed. I think this rule would be especially beneficial now, moreso than in the 1990s. Gym class I do feel was lacking, though, just kickball almost all the time, and no real skill development activities.

    As far as free form type learning, no teacher discouraged it. I made a simple record player out of a spool of thread and a needle and a paper cone and showed it off in class one day and my teacher was super impressed. We were are all encouraged to do stuff outside of school for learning for our own benefit and that learning, reading, in general was a good thing.

    I have a few posts on this, but I'll try to separate them to make it easier to read.
     
  17. Zachs

    Zachs Member

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    Waldorf.
     
  18. celica1984

    celica1984 Member

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    As far as my theories on education in light of things like "unschooling" and the modern trend of rote learning being evil and this sort of thing, I have a bit to say regarding that. The thing with any sort of craft or activity you do, is you need a base to be built, or you will not be able to build upon anything. So there's sort of a fundamental question of who is more superior, a child with no original works that can play very complex piano pieces, or a child who makes original music banging on pots and pans in the dishwasher. One is more "creative" but that alone doesn't guarantee him making anything out of that creativity. The point is, you do not want to make a "creative" idiot, or a robot. I think the reason school exists is to give people tools, not so much to increase their creativity. It shouldn't stifle it, though. So this is the careful balance that has to be played with regarding any schooling or education. That said, if you make all the children concert pianists, then the truly creative ones now have a hell of a lot more tools at their disposal than before to actually create something rather than just imagine something and have it stay only in their brain.

    This is also hard to balance, as a lot is just parental influence. You have to decide if your school is going to be a "parent" to the children, or just a place where they learn some essential things. For example, my father as a child would let me play with a bandsaw, power drills, basically any tools I wanted, would allow me to take apart things whenever I felt like it (he brought things home for me to take apart) etc. Obviously not all parents are like this, and not all parents would think it's a good use of their children's time to do things like that. Still have all my fingers, and never suffered more than minor cuts from this sort of thing. I'd help my father in his machine shop, or work on cars, etc, at single digit ages. I was kind of allowed unlimited creativity in that way at home. So for me, I didn't need anyone in school to help me along that kind of path. However, not all children have that kind of parenting. So for me, my schooling arrangement was I guess perfect, in that it gave me what I didn't have, the discipline and "book knowledge" and boring rote repetition stuff.

    However, not all children have parents that really care about their children to try to develop them in any sort of specific way. I don't 100% know how a school could fix that problem. But this seems to be the problem schools are trying and mostly failing to fix. Obviously I'm not advocating a "Tiger Mom" make your kid sit and play piano for 5 hours kind of thing, the child should do something they find enjoyable or interesting in their spare time. But, with the amount of mothers working, many times longer working and commuting hours in general for both parents, and long distances from extended family, many children simply have no family to push them towards really much of anything, and then their entire life becomes a state of nihilism of the internet and video games only. I experienced the latter after my parents divorced, and my mother was too tired from fibromyalgia and overworking to really allow us to cultivate much of anything, so things like for example, my judo lessons, stopped (and I went to public school) and it was just nihilism and pointlessness.

    This is a very good article to read as well, about schooling.
    Why Nerds are Unpopular
     
  19. Luann

    Luann Member

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    Don't keep age groups separated.
     
  20. Rafe

    Rafe Member

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    Waldorf.
     
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