A New Paradigm in Education
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” (Buckminster Fuller)
FAQ – My child has been to three schools and each time has been the victim of bullying How Do You Prevent Bullying?
Our Rules Foster Ethics, We Exclude Predators, We Develop in Kids the Skills to Not Be a Victim
Of our five simple rules four prevent bullying
My thoughts, my words, my actions
- Are true
- Are fair
- Will build friendships and a positive atmosphere
- Will help all
- Demonstrates good Stewardship of the Land
- Demonstrates I am here to learn
We Do Not Include Everyone
We are not here to fix kids that have a history of being a predator, being defiant, or uses drugs or alcohol. We do distinguish between defending oneself from being a predator and one that defends himself (More on that below). Key is our schools only includes those students that demonstrate they will work to meet their goals and will help their classmates do the same.
Out School Has a Small Population
Because of our small class size, we do not have mobs or cliques that pick on weaker kids and the mentors are more connected with the students and pick-up on both positive and negative dynamics quickly. Predator behavior is easy to spot and corrected. If not corrected the predator is removed from the school.
We Teach Students to Not Be a Victim
The unintentional outcome of a school system that punishes a child for defending himself or herself teaches the children to be a victim, it teaches them they can’t solve their problems, and it teaches the bully there will not have any real responsibility for their actions.
We Are Careful at Correctly Identify Bully Behavior
What people also don’t realize is the kid that gets punished as the bully may be defending himself. Dr. Robert Ditter, a child psychologist, (professionals members of the American Camp Associaton will know him) Has shown a trend that the kids that have been punished for being a bully were never in trouble for bullying before, they tend to be boys that are well-liked and the “victim” did not have the social skills to know how to engage with the student they want to become friends or engage with. Often these students’ only skill they have to engage with was to annoy. It has been our experience in roughly thirty years of working with k-12th grade students that have moved from school to school because they were being bullied they did not have the positive the skills to properly engage. Sometimes the student that always seems to be the victim they were the bully.
Most parents of two or more kids have seen our children do something to an older sibling, have the older sibling defend him or herself then have the younger one tattle on the older one. If the parent buys into the drama of the “victim” and the parents punish the older child this reinforces this behavior and by the time they are in school, they may develop sophisticated skills manipulating the adults around them by playing the victim.
In the standard model classroom with twenty or more students, it is likely the teacher will not see what is occurring and continue to reinforce the bully being believed to be the victim. The standard model school policies and administrators often reinforce this behavior.
You don’t have to spend too much time on social media to see young adults getting attention for provoking a law enforcement officer, teacher, sports figure, or anyone just trying to do their job or simply trying to get to work then crying foul when the person defends themselves. It is a con and they are masters at it.
With our class size of only seven students and our mentors’ training, they don’t miss much, especially when there is discord. A few times of a child playing the victim and getting caught the behavior stops.
Need for Unstructured Free Play without an Adult Hovering Over Them
In long discussions with Bob, we both believe this is an unintentional outcome of
- a lack of adequate unstructured free-time
- lack of rough and tumble play
- too often or too early adults stepping in to solve the kids’ conflicts
In earlier generations, the kids had much more unstructured and unsupervised free play. At the national conference for the American Camp Association (ACA) in the early years of our camps and schools at a directors meeting on play, we were polled as to how much time each camp allowed their campers unstructured free play in a week. In that packed room some camps did not allow the kids to have any, most only got 15 minutes per day. According to Dr. Ditter, most kids only engage in 15 minutes of unstructured free play each week. Our day students have two hours on Mondays; Tuesday - Thursday they have roughly two hours each day. From roughly 11:00 to 3:00 they are free to take breaks when they feel the need. We work hard and play resets them.
They learned to play together by playing together. They also learned to solve most of their on their own. Kids growing up with rough and tumble play learn to modulate so all have fun. My analogy is it is like learning how far you can push a plane before it stalls, each plane is different. each day is different. Learning to fly a plane and learning to play with others especially in a group of mix ages students develops a high level of sophistication. Two kids are playing and one starts crying it is not fun for either child. One needs to convey the game is getting too rough and the others need to read that they are being too rough. Bob and I are big proponents of the need for an unstructured, “unsupervised” free plan for brain and social skill development. We spend a lot of time in staff development on the value of free play.
In 1977, The architecture professor Christopher Alexander wrote in a chapter on designing play grounds, “There is no added benefit in adult intervention in children’s free play.”
In reading D.D. Eisenhower’s autobiography he wrote of him picking on his older brother and a fistfight broke out, his aunt ran it to break it up and scold the older brother for bullying, his mother stopped her, “David started it, he needs to learn not to.” There is a lot of wisdom in that.
In the photo that you are seeing an older boy is being drugged off all laughing, the older boy was working through lunch studying for his General Ham license and the 2 younger ones were not having it, “You are going to play and have fun if you like it or not!!!” In reality, the older boys at that moment needed to play.