Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2017
Oh my God this is painful. Okay, so a democratic school - e.g. where kids get to decide whether to attend a class, and have some say in the direction of the school, is great. But this implementation had no leadership. It's like Lord of the Flies. I watched over half an hour and then fast forwarded to see if anything was resolving and landed on a scene where the principal teacher is having a temper tantrum (presumably directed at Giovanni). Giovanni has been a tyrant. I think starting with breaking stuff, a teacher should intervene and say, no, we can't break other people's stuff. Maybe we can find some stuff for you to break or smash with a hammer. Some old stuff that was going to be thrown out, say. The coolest project was building the fort, and the teacher there (the overweight woman) previously had said the kids need some direction, exposure to opportunities, behavior modeled, something. So the kids look stoked, they're working. Then Lucy comes in and wants to join, and they immediately tell her to get lost so, of course, she wants to take something. This is, admittedly, hard to deal with. Ideally maybe there would be several projects that each could join / explore. It looks like Giovanni needs to be exclusive. He kind of needs to just be mean to someone. So I'm not sure how to satisfy that need. I think as the wood teacher, I'd say. No, no, no. This is a class project and everyone is welcome to participate. And we're here to work together. Perhaps if there were more interesting projects going on, everyone could find a place they were happy? I'd like to see some cooking going on. With whole plant foods. I think when Lucy said, "If people are playing rough, and someone feels like it's too rough for them, they should be able to say, stop". Of course, this is very basic respect for physical and emotional safety. And the teacher should have resoundingly supported this. I mean they're taking the time to say, "You can't be outside by yourself" because that's the term of the lease. They should've said, yes, that always applies, Lucy. That's not up for vote. A little push in the right direction. Maybe, okay, this is an inclusive project. You're being unkind to Lucy. But, also, Lucy, we can't take their materials that they're in the middle of using. Let's go over here and do this. They don't need to follow the intricacies of the democratic procedures. They're not going to understand the ideal you're espousing. They're frustrated about immediate things, like someone teasing them. How about a nice art teacher. How about building something really cool like a tree house or some builder blocks that go together. Get an actual carpenter to lead a class or project or two. Maybe a garden. Anyway, the kids need some leadership. You've got some great kids, and you've got some would be trouble makers. They're not capable of governing themselves without some help. How about taking them for a walk. A nature walk. I can't say what the answer here is, but definitely need some more positive, interesting, projects / activities they can participate in and some more leadership for behavior. Like, no, it's an absolute, we can't play rough with people when they say to stop. We can't break other people's stuff. And then try to see and satisfy needs. I'd say Giovanni needs something really intense, like a difficult climbing wall or big rocks to move from point A to point B. I'm going to fast forward to the end, now. I fully expect the disaster to be unabated. The guy has great ideas - he's sacrificing his time and money (apparently) to try this. I don't think it's all just growing pains and it's all going to resolve. I think they need some more positive activities directed by teachers, more emotional supervision, more creative fun things to do. Maybe, simply, more exercise and more healthful food. I think some of them need really aggressive activities like sparring but I don't like that suggestion. Weight lifting competition? Chess - on a purely mental level - it's about destroying an opponent. Maybe Giovanni should be able to build his own fort? And anyone else who wants to could too. Maybe there's some woods or an outdoor area? Then you could just say, okay, Lucy you can't take their materials but you can build your own. Shit, they could build it out of sticks. Anyway, I see them screaming for help. And the teachers being little better. Ultimate frisbee can be fiercely competitive between teams that are simultaneously respectful of each other. Maybe if they had several people Giovanni's size / age. Perhaps join another school for sports?