I’ve never been a fan of the movie “Field of Dreams.” To me, it seemed a bit emotionally manipulative and far-fetched, even for a movie. Yet a quotation from the movie took hold in our culture for reasons I never really understood: “If you build it, they will come.” Today, I understand.
First School Meeting
Today was the first meeting of the students for the Founding Semester of the Houston Sudbury School. 15 students, aged 6-14, boys and girls, all came together to plan how to set up “their” school. They had never been all together until today. Several were friends from their prior, unschooling lives, others were siblings, but this was the first meeting as the Founding Semester students. And they came. 15 kids, planning together, talking, making decisions, playing, talking, working, climbing, eating, wrestling, talking, being a school and a community. We built it and they came.
Planning the configuration of the building
They came, and they took to the democratic process like it was something they had been craving, making quick, inclusive decisions about which room would be used for what. They made decisions fairly and without adult interference, taking full ownership of the process. They came, and they took to being a community like it already was their community. They left saying, “Goodbye, Friend-Family!” They came, and they took care with the space, helped, decided, planned, and supported each other and the staff. They were Sudbury, immediately and already.
Inkings of First Laws
For a year, I have heard from other Sudbury schools how excited the students are to be at their schools. How much they love it. How invested they are in it. How dedicated they are to the model and the process. I took what I heard as true, based partly on faith and partly on my observations at other Sudbury schools. But to see the process in action is different. To see the depth of their desire to have agency and responsibility, as well as freedom, was truly a revelation. To see something so worthwhile coalesce before your very eyes is stunning. They came, and by their presence, and in an instant, the School manifested.
The Founding Students of HSS