Don’t Fuck with the Frame :)

the-frame

Nobody fucks with the Frame 🙂 That’s one of my catch phrases these days 🙂  I use the word “Frame” here to describe the underlying fundamental assumptions of the model/philosophy of education which is being implemented in the space.

In the project I’m invovled in at the moment the Frame refers to the underlying assumptions of the Sudbury Model of education.

These assumptions, The Frame, act just like the frame of a house, they holds everything up, without it the building  or project is undermined or implodes.

Another analogy to explain the Frame, and why you shouldn’t fuck with it, might be the rules of a game. If you like basketball great, you go and find other people who know the rules of basketball and together you play and have a good time. But you don’t all of a sudden, in the middle of a game, run down the basketball court, shoving your way through other players as you go, pass the end line and scream touch down!!! You have consented to play basketball not American football. You had engaged in game on the shared understanding that you would abide by the rules of the game. You might dispute the rules on occasion and question their interpretation but everybody understands that you don’t simply disregard the rules, as without them you wouldn’t have a game.

Everyone is aware of the Frame (the rules of the game) of traditional education. It goes something like this –

  • Kids cannot learn for themselves, they requiring teaching and teachers.
  • A curriculum is needed and within that curriculu there is a heirarchy of subjects – English, Mathematics, Science, Foreign langauges etc. etc.
  • Kids compete with and compare themselves to each other using grades.
  • Assessments are carried out in the form of tests or projects and these assessments are carried out by adults.
  • Adults have the power, they decide the rules of the school.

The Frame of the Sudbury Model, is very different, and goes something like this –

  • Kids can learn all by themselves, thus they do not need formalised teaching. I say formalised here to restrict the meaning to teachers who give classes in the context of formalised learning. Obviously we learn from each other all the time so in a way we are are all each others teachers. And kids in particular are great at finding teachers for themselves, be it older kids, younger kids, elders, specialists etc. etc.
  • There is no curriculum and all subjects are of equal  value – skateboarding, watching youtube videos, drawing, singing, chatting, chilling out, reading, writing, going to the shop, in fact the curriculum is life itself.
  • Kids help, cooperate and collobrate with each other. Or can choose not to.
  • Each child sets their own standards and evaluates themselves based on their own criteria that they have set for themselves. Each of us is unique and different so comparing onself to others doesn’t really make sense in this context.
  • Children make up the majoirty of the school population so they have the power, they decide the rules of the school.

 

Thus, based on the aforementioned assumptions, numerous actions considered normal within mainstream education simply don’t make sense in the Sudbury context, the obvious one being employing teachers. Why employing teachers makes very little sense is a blog post for another day, but I’ll leave you on this little note. When I’m having a conversation with people I always make the point of correcting them if they say I’m a teacher. I am not a teacher, I’m a Sudbury Staff member. There’s a different and damn proud of it 🙂

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Insights for Sudbury Start Ups Part 3 – The Question of the First Meeting

So you’ve had the Public Meetings, you’ve had the enrollment meetings with the parents, and now it’s coming up to your first week. The staff members and kids have probably watched a few videos about Sudbury Valley but probably most of them and yourself don’t know a lot about how to actually run the School Meeting. It’s ironic, we live in a democratic society yet most of us have little if any experience of participating in a democratic meeting.

So in the first meeting not only do you have to get through some complicated business, you also have to try and inform the community about the procedures of the meeting itself.

Here is my attempt at writing an agenda for the first School Meeting. Bear in mind that I’m still new at this. I just want to put this here so I can look back and see how much I’ve learned over the next few months and improve on it.

 

Insights for Sudbury School Start Ups Part 2

 

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The question of capacity: How many kids could we fit in here do you think? 

When finding a location for a school and also when you’re opening the question of a limit on the places you have to offer quickly arises. A good estimate is to give 5 metres squared per child. So if you have a 240metres squared premises that means you can fit 48 kids. If you have 107 square metres that means you can fit 21. This number will also depend on how many rooms you have. If you have 107metres and an open plan environment that will mean 21 is probably two many kids for the space while 107 metres with 5 distinct spaces with good sound insulation could comfortably fit that many or maybe even more.

Green Space

Really, really, really try and have a green space. It’s obvious but kids, especially the little ones, need space to run around. However, with financial considerations and other stuff a green space is likely one of the first things to be sacrificed or compensated on. Fight that urge! Make a green space a non-negotiable!

Do what feels right for your group – be guided by the flow. 

If members of the founding group feel that a fee is what is right for your group, go with that, if you feel a sliding scale suits your group best go with that. Use this logic for any subject (except for the frame itself of course). Nobody fucks with the frame 🙂

Trust 

Try to live your life from a place of trust. Don’t stress the details, just trust. This will also influence your role as a staff member when the moment comes. Speaking of which…

Some if not all of the Founders will become Staff Members.

Read this – The Art of Doing Nothing. When the school starts up practice mindfulness and self-awareness in the space and try and pick up on how you are behaving and feeling in the space. Are you tempted to suggest stuff for the kids to do, or to entertain the kids? Why? Reflect on these thoughts. If the philosophy of the school is based on trusting the child what they need from moment to moment, is this behaviour ever appropriate? If so, when would it be appropriate? Congratulations you are now engaging in a never ending process of professional development 🙂

“I want to go home”

Most Sudbury Schoools have specific laws for the attendance of the young’uns (under 7s) and even particular ones for their first week or two.  If they say they want to go home, respect that request, don’t be tempted to interpret that in your own way, as a mother, or a father, or whatever. A member of the community has expressed a desire, respect their voice and trust that that is what they truely desire.

Keep a look out for the True Believers 

These are the people who email in and say I really, really, really need to talk to you. These are the people who have stumbled upon your website or saw a TED Talk and had a Road to Damascus  moment and now want to do something with this new found passion. Respect that passion, they can bring value to your project.

Oh yeah, and visit other Sudbury Schools, even if you don’t understand the language you can still pick up a lot!

 

Insights for Sudbury Start Ups Part 1

Here are some golden nuggets that I continue to collect in my conversations with fellow founders. They are in no particular order.

Public Meetings 

It’s good to have public meetings as soon as possible. Even if you feel you’re just getting to grips with the philosophy yourself, maybe just start the conversation you know. You never know who might turn up. A future parent, a future student, a philanthropist, an awsome co-founder or staff member – you never know 🙂 Monthly screenings of Being and Becoming in the Paris area worked very well for the Sudbury School’s of Paris. Oh and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know 🙂

Team Well-Being Meetings: Your core team, especially at the beginning is very important and so taking care of these people’s well-being and interpersonal needs is super, super important. Ensure that, periodically, time is given to creating a safe, respectful space where the core team can share their feelings about where they are at emotionally in terms of the project.

Batches: if you are growing quickly do Trial Periods in batches i.e. don’t drip feed the new students into the community. If you add one person to a group you change the whole group. By constantly adding one person from week to week the community is in a constant state of flux. By waiting and then doing trial periods for 3- 5 children you give the community time to solidify between trial periods. The new kids also have other “newbies” to talk to about their experience and negates the “new kid” feeling of starting all by yourself.

Practice Roberts Rules of Order: Practice Roberts Rules of Order in your committee meetings. This is a good idea for a few reasons a) your meetings will be more efficient (trust me), b) everybody’s voice will definitely be heard and c) it will give staff members a chance to get familiar with the process.

Good Cop, Bad Cop: When engaging in admission meetings it is good to have a pairing which are quite different but compliment each other. For example, a parent and non-parent, a person with a softer personality and someone who with a more hard edge. The reason for this is that it is important to be sympathetic and understanding in the meeting but it is also necessary to be quite firm and explicit with the parents about the scale of the trust they are putting their child and the commitment they are making to investing zero expectations in terms of outcomes for their child.

Starting with the skeleton: You want the community to have ownership over the laws that govern the community but at the same time you want laws from the very start to ensure that the community functions well. But you can pass hundreds of laws in the first week I hear you say. Well one way you can get around this is by passing a motion which gives provisional status to all the hundred or so minimum laws you need to run a Sudbury School. Then over the course of a year or two you, as a community, can discuss and vote on each of these provisional laws.

Anarchy & Relationships

AnarchyRecently anarchism has been popping up on my radar a lot. I suppose it’s quite natural as the democratic school’s are self-governing little communities and the Sudbury model in particular is based on the idea that there is no hierarchy within the school, all school members are equal – staff and students alike, and anarchism is opposed to hierarchies. One does not necessarily follow the other, but philosophical they are related. At least it seems like that to me 🙂 The wikipedia aritcle on Anarchism even mentions Summerhill, which is pretty interesting. Summerhill being the oldest democratic school in the world, set up in 1921, and I was lucky enough to spend two years there.

The latest appearance of anarchism was of a more personal nature and was in a video on the concept of relationship anarchy which popped up on my facebook feed thanks to the Non-Monogamous Ireland. Over the course of the last few years I have increasingly moved away from living within the hetro-normative paradigm of the monogamous relationship and for a long time I simply called myself “non-monogamous” and then I said I was practicing “ethical non-monogamy” which was a bit better. But these labels still didn’t really cut it as it only tells you about what I don’t do (monogamous relationships) rather than about the values which underpin how I interact with the significant people in my life.

Then Kale’s video came along 🙂

Relationship Anarchy

Kale’s  awesome and very succinct video on Relationship Anarchy really helped me to put words on the relationship style / life style that I’ve been living this past year or two. I’ll leave you with the the nine points that Andie Nordgren first laid out in her manifesto in 2006, and that Kale references in her video:

  • Don’t rank and compare, value each relationship as unique.
  • Stay away from entitlement and demands, a history with someone is not an excuse to exercise control over them.
  • Be true to your own core values, and be around people who respect them.
  • Fight the heteronormative standard. You are living in opposition to a normative system that tells you how to live, people will question your choices. Work together to stand strong.
  • Don’t be afraid, act from the heart, and live spontaneously and without fear.
  • Fake it ’till you make it, decide what is best for you when you feel inspired, and stick with that when things are hard. Challenge norms, and talk to others who do also. Don’t feel guilty if you succumb to the pressure of those norms.
  • Assume people who care about you are acting with good intentions, and are not trying to hurt you. Give them lots of space to talk, explain and go over things.
  • Practice radical communication! You are trying a radical relationship style, and you need to be explicit and honest communication to break old patterns.
  • And my favourite quote: Relationship anarchy is not about never committing to anything – it’s about designing your own commitments with the people around you.

I’m looking forward to learning more about this anarchy stuff 🙂

Peace, love and solidarity,

Aaron

Two Handy Documents for Sudbury School Start Ups

 

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Governance Structures = the backbone of a Democratic Community

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post based around the question of ‘what is the minimum you need to start a democratic school?‘ In that post I mentioned how one of the requirements was to create governance structures which reflect the divisions of power in the school. This post is related to my efforts to create the foundational governance structures for our school which reflect our vision of the division of power i.e. complete equality between all school members regardless of age. I’m very lucky in that a school that was set up in 1968 called Sudbury Valley school has been constantly working over the course of nearly 50 years on creating a governance systems to effectively realise this vision. So in the time honoured tradition of Stealing like an Artist, I copied and pasted most of their lawbook into our own 🙂 Below are two documents that came out of this process.

In the spirit of Sharing My Work here are two documents which might prove useful for Sudbury School Start Ups.

The first is a pared down version of Sudbury Valley Law Book. I call it The Basic Sudbury School Lawbook. This is the Lawbook that we will be starting with in Wicklow Sudbury School, the school I’m co-founding. Over time our Lawbook will grow and develop of course but I wanted to capture the lawbook as it is now so that others may use it in the future as a starting point for their own schools.  Essentially, the process which produced it was simply a case of me going through each law and asking the question is this law necessary for us? I also left in some of the laws which I thought we might grow into such as those related to offering a school diploma, because… why not?

The second document which some of you might find handy is an Electable Positions Booklet I created for my fellow co-founders which lists the 19 different electable positions which are contained within the aforementioned Lawbook. The reason why I created is is that I wanted to provide an overview for the committee members who will become staff members in a few weeks. I wanted these positions to be easily referenced to facilitate them thinking about which positions they would like to run for.

I hope these documents might prove useful to some of you in the future.

Peace, love and solidarity,

Aaron

Postscript: I’ve since come to the conclusion that starting with the pared down version of the SVS lawbook was a bad idea as it does not promote a sense of ownership of the rules, in fact is does the opposite. It would be much better to start simply with the preamble and ten our so core laws that all the kids can understand and just go from there. There is a trade off here though. It will mean that a lot of very necessary laws and procedures will have to be introduced in the first few weeks of the schools existence. It might even be an idea of having a time table of a prioritized list of the laws that would need to be addressed. I know that Ă©cole Dynamique in Paris started off with very few laws, maybe ask them what ones they started with.

Sharing My Work

Share your WorkI read Austin Kleon’s book Share Your Work about a year ago and I’ve finally got around to putting the ideas contained in this amazing little book into practice. The core idea of the book is that – sharing insights into your work can be really helpful for you, your work and for others. This idea really spoke to me as a democratic education activist/entrepreneur and was the main idea behind my first post (So you want to set up a democratic school). I intend to implement Austin’s ten pieces of advice listed blow here in my blog. Hopefully this will be of benefit both for myself and for other people out there who want to be the change and create the paradigm shift so desperately needed in our traditional education system with its outdated ideas of learning. So in the spirit of Austin’s third piece of advice I’m sharing something small – his 1o pieces of advice when it comes to sharing your work. And in the future I’ll endeavour to continue to share my work with the Sudbury School Paris, the European Democratic Education Community and with Wicklow Sudbury School.

Share your work principles

Medium have a great blog post which explore these 10 pieces of advice in greater depth.

 

So you want to open a democratic school – here’s how.

 

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School Meeting at Democratic School of Hadera by Naaman Saar Stavy (23-01-09)

What is the minimum you need to open a democratic school? This is the question that really engaged my brain while I was visiting the New School in The Netherlands last week. This is unsurprising considering my current situation. Recently I have had the opportunity to co-found a democratic school in Paris. I arrived in Paris on the 1st of January and on March 7th we opened Sudbury School Paris. Then just when I thought things were crazy enough I meet a wonderful group of parents from Bray, Ireland who I am now helping to establish Ireland’s first democratic school, Wicklow Sudbury School, which will open its doors in September. So this question of what are the main components necessary to start a democratic school has adopted a real personal significance lately. What follows are insights I have gleaned from conversations with a few fellow democratic education activists / social entrepreneurs. I do not claim to be an authority on the matter – I mean who is. I am simply sharing these insights with the sincere hope that they will be of benefit to others who believe in the principles of a democratic education.

So what is the minimum you need to set up a democratic school? Here is my answer in a nutshell:

  1.  Get the right people.
  2. Agree on a shared vision and philosophy
  3. Create the Legal and Organisational structures that truly reflect the school’s division of power.
  4. Have a critical mass of people who understand and live the philosophy.

1)      Getting the Right People

This is step zero; it is the foundation on which everything else is built. These people are resourceful, good communicators, capable organisers, are emotionally stable with small egos and don’t mind getting their hands dirty. They must also be very committed to the project.

Associated lessons:

  • How many should be on the team? Every case is different but from what I’ve heard the magic number ranges between 5-7. With increasing numbers, there is a growing risk that two distinct groups will form, the core group and the peripheral group. Be honest with yourselves regarding this number. Is it more a case of 3 core members and their three supportive partners? 
  • Timing is important, make sure to try and hit the critical minimum number of 5 to 7 fully committed people before turning your attention elsewhere. I’ve seen on a few occasions now groups run out of steam once their manifesto is written because they haven’t hit that minimum number and now they find themselves with an additional hurdle to overcome – it becomes apparent that they need more team members but newbies to the team also now have to overcome a sense of missing out on a key initial stage of the process.
  • Accept that even if you have a group of really committed individuals people there will always be one or two who do most of the work. Expectations that everyone will contribute equally will often simply lead to resentment. Everyone is different.
  • Timing is important, make sure to try and hit the critical minimum number of 5 to 7 fully committed people before turning your attention elsewhere. I’ve seen on a few occasions now groups run out of steam once their manifesto is written because they haven’t hit that minimum number and now they find themselves with an additional hurdle to overcome – it becomes apparent that they need more team members but newbies to the team also now have to overcome a sense of missing out on a key initial stage of the process.
  • A controversial point: some or most of the team will also probably make up the staff once the school opens. A great filter to ensure that the staff are super committed people is to have a “no one gets paid for the first year” policy. This has the added benefit of giving you some extra breathing space financially speaking for the first year.  Admittedly, there is a trade-off here. There will be some really great people who could be staff in the school but are unable to even consider working for free for a year. On the other hand, by adopting the policy you will ensure that you will not get staff who would be unwilling to make a financial sacrifice in order to contribute to the project. 
  • If you do not have a group yet, you need to build one. Before you do you may decide to become a vision holder described in step 2 and then find your group based on your vision.
  • I cannot emphasis enough how valuable visiting democratic schools and talking to members of the democratic education community is.

2)      Agree on a Shared Vision & Philosophy

A shared vision is essential to ensure the long-term viability of the project. The people might be right but if there is a major divergence in terms of vision the project will fail before it even begins or end within two or three years of opening after differences in the vision emerge.

The approach to this step depends on whether there is a pre-existing group or if you are starting out on your own.

a) If you currently not a member of a group then before finding other group members you may decide to become the vision holder. The vision-holder is the person who articulates a vision and then people join their team if they agree with this vision. Once the vision holder has defined their vision they then can share their vision through various means such as a website, social media, or hosting public screenings of democratic education documentaries followed by Question & Answer sessions. It is important that the vision holder is a good communicator and can clearly define their vision.

b) If the project began with a group it is a little more complicated. The group might know what they don’t want (mainstream education) but now they must also figure out what they do want. The process of creating a very coherent and clear collective vision is a sometimes difficult but extremely important step for the group to go through. It is only through forging a collective vision that philosophical and ideological differences can come to light and be talked about openly. To this end it is good to ask both complex and seemingly simple questions, such as; will there be a canteen? What do the terms ‘coercive’ and ‘non-coercive’ mean in the context of your school? Will there be classes of any kind? Will there be teachers? Who will clean the school? How will conflict be resolved? The process of creating a shared vision can sometimes be like going on a collective philosophical journey and this can take time. How much time should this take? The answer is as much time is necessary. This process needs to be given the time and space it deserves. If the group members visions differ fundamentally (e.g. using consensus v democracy or teacher v no teachers) This process should continue until either the group splits, some members leave or every member of the group honestly feels like they have a very clear picture of what the group wants to achieve and agree with it whole-heatedly. 

Associated lesson:

  • Do not feel like you have to re-invent the wheel. There are some very, very good democratic schools out there. You could do worse than adopt their model in its entirety and let it evolve naturally through the democratic process once the school is established.
  • Visiting democratic schools can really help to bring crystallise what you want to create. Even just talking to seasoned members of the democratic education community can also really help in this regard. To this end, I would highly, highly, highly recommend attending the annual EUDEC conference where opportunities to have these valuable conversations will abound.

3)    Create Legal and Organisational structures that reflect the division of Power

It is important to acknowledge that power structures exist in every school including the one you will create. Power is about who decides what, who is empowered to make decisions on certain things. Clearly by engaging in a project to create a democratic school where every student has an equal vote on many, if not all, topics concerning the school community the intention is to create structures that are very different to the hierarchical and authority-based power structures of traditional schools. However, as in the case of creating a vision, knowing what you do not want to be is simply not enough – you need to very clearly define the structures of power which will underlie the day to day running of the school. 

There are two main mechanisms that decide the decision of power:

  • The Legal Vehicle
  • The Organisational Structures

Both of these mechanisms form part of the foundation of the power structures of the school. One forms the legal foundation of the school while the other forms the foundation for the daily life of the school. Therefore, it follows that these should complement rather than undermine each other. 

Deciding on the type of Legal Vehicle and its customisation is an important step in laying a solid legal foundation for the school. Legal Vehicles come in different forms such as a company limited by guarantee, a cooperative etc. Most traditional forms of these legal entities are not suitable legal vehicles for a democratic school, at least not in their standard format, as usually, they create a power structure empowering individuals such as a president or treasurer. This is unlikely to complement the vision of the school.  However, if the by-laws (also known as the Articles of Association) of the legal entity are customised then it may become a suitable legal vehicle for a democratic school. This might mean either a) finding a person knowledgeable in law who can think outside the box or b) doing some research yourself. Alternatively, you might be lucky enough to have a school with a similar philosophy who has already done this hard work already.

In the context of a democratic school, ultimately the exercise of identifying and defining power structures comes down to just one question: what is the degree of power of the School Meeting? If you can define the power of the school meeting clearly all other power structures will follow. For example, if the school meeting does not have the power to decide on the whole school budget  or the power to hire staff then the power and membership of the other body which makes decisions on the other part of the budget and on hiring staff will also have to be defined.

Customising legal frameworks seem like a lot of work, why should I bother? I mean what’s the worst that can happen? These are valid questions. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the students ownership is superficial and false if the president of the company can undermine their decisions at a moments notice. Secondly, democratic schools are living, breathing social organisms that grow, evolve and sometimes are faced with challenges of a legal nature. By not providing a legal foundation that complements the democratic vision and philosophy of the school you will deprive the school community of a firm foothold to engage in and learn from the valuable learning opportunities presented when the school community is faced with a tricky legal situation to navigate.

The Organisational Structures are the laws and procedures within the school that are the foundation of the day to day life of the school. The Organisational Structure includes the school’s law book and all the policies and procedures that are concerned with the running of the school.

Power is sneaky. Particularly the traditional kind of power based on social and cultural norms that democratic education aims to challenge. This can often lead to unrecognised implicit power going unnoticed. If not identified, brought into the open and explicitly named and discussed, existing culturally normative power structures will continue to perpetuate themselves. Transparency achieved through clearly defined roles, with clearly defined areas of responsibility and clearly defined decision-making processes are the enemy of these unwanted implicit power structures. In the event that there is a lack of clarity existing power structures will prevail and those who benefit from them, i.e. adults and staff will be empowered while students will be conversely disempowered. As a colleague of mine pointed out, if a member of the school community wants to change something and they don’t know how to change it as there is no clear explanation of where the power is and who has that power, then they will often fail to engage in a process of change and self-empowerment and consequently will be disempowered.

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have a very clear and very transparent Legal Vehicle and Organisational Structure in order to decide consciously what kind of school you want to create. This is tricky as how can you know what type of legal and organisational structures will be best for your community until your community is up and running? You have three different options a) talk to fellow democratic education activists/entrepreneurs and adopt their pre-existing legal and organisational structures, b) talk to fellow democratic education activists/entrepreneurs and use their advice to inform your best guess what these legal and organisational structures should be or c) just wing it and seriously risk doing a lot of damage to the children under your care and to the democratic education movement as a whole.

Associated lessons:

  • As a wise man once said to me: “just talk to people”. Don’t be afraid to email people, ring people, go for coffee with people, tell them your story and ask for advice. People will often be very, very generous with their time when it comes to helping passionate people start democratic schools. In particular don’t be afraid to contact founders of democratic schools (like me :)), they more than anyone else can appreciate and relate to your position.

4)      A Critical Mass of People who live the Philosophy

A democratic school lives and dies by its culture. The Legal Vehicle and Organisational Structure might be perfect but they would be essentially meaningless if there is nobody in the school who has a clear understanding of its philosophy and embodies that philosophy in their daily actions. But even then it will be difficult. Often times the question of achieving a critical mass comes down to a question of quality rather than quantity. Most of us have grown up in a culture characterised by traditional forms of education and outdated ideas of learning and it can take some time for people to engage in the paradigm shift necessary to really understand and ‘get’ the philosophy of the school and democratic education, I believe the Sudbury Model is particularly difficult in this regard. One way the group who is founding the school can work towards achieving this critical mass is engaging in continual process of improving the quality of their understanding of the values and ideas of democratic education through learning about, discussing and living these ideas and values in their meeting practices and, indeed, in their day to day lives.

I would like to acknowledge that this blog post would not have been possible without the shared wisdom and insight of experienced democratic education entrepeneurs and activists. I am lucky enough to call them friends. Thank you to Peter Hartkamp, Ramin Farhangi and Robert Welti. In addition, I would like to thank the participants of the workshop I hosted on this subject as part of the second IDEC@INTERNET Online OpenSpace Conference and to Marko Koskinen who made the workshop possible.

Additional lessons:

  • Finances, I have not mentioned them. The reason for this is that if you have a lot of money it makes things easier, but if you don’t have a lot of money (like most groups) you will have to figure out a way of opening the school anyway – and you will, if you are resourceful and committed enough. Finances in my experience will not be a problem to a committed group, in fact, often it can be an unnecessary worry and distraction from the other main steps mentioned above.  I’m not saying that finances should be ignored, they definitely should not. They simply should not be made into the huge obstacle that sometimes people make them out to be.
  • I’ve mentioned it already but I’m going to say it just one more time – VISIT EXISTING DEMOCRATIC SCHOOLS!!

If you’ve found this article and read this far know that as I type I’m sending you out positive vibes and wish you joy and fun on the adventure ahead of you. 🙂

Peace, love and solidarity,

Aaron