Here we are again with the first newsletter after the 2013 Conference in Soest, the Netherlands. Therefore it is not only a newsletter but a conference report as well. Here is what you will find:
- Conference report with feedback from members
- Update from the Schools of Trust Campaign
- Urgent support for Sudbury Schools in the Netherlands
- Welcoming new schools
Have a nice read!
1. Annual General Meeting and Conference 2013
This year’s EUDEC Annual General Meeting and the conference took place in the Netherlands from 27th - 2nd of July 2013.
First, the council would like to thank again the organisers for all the work they did: it was a wonderful conference! Thanks for the smiles, the attentions, the meals... We could all work and meet and talk and laugh and dance in a great atmosphere and you made that possible.
Have a look at the conference’s webpage and watch the talks by John Moravec and Peter Gray from the public day. You will also find a list of the workshops that happened during the conference.
AGM and council meetings
please find the minutes from the AGM and the results from this year’s elections of the Council, the Auditors and the Membership Commitee on the website.
The council election was accompanied by huge good-byes as some of the very “old” council members stepped back - a change of generations one might say.
So much work has been done over the years by these members. So, Arianna, Chloe, Leslie, Niklas, Rachel: Thank you so much!
Sadly the council election was also accompanied by an unfortunate incident, read more about it in the disclosure.
The new council started their weekly Skype meetings at the beginning of September and the next Live-meeting is just around the corner! It will take place 2nd-6th October in Roskilde, Denmark. Every member is welcome to join the Live- and the Skype-meetings, please drop us a line if you want to join a meeting, so we can add you: info at eudec.org.
What’s the next meeting about? When is it? What happened in the last meetings? You will find this information here.
Conference feedback from members
The next part of this newsletter is dedicated to conference feedback from members. Enjoy the summer feeling!
From July 28 to August 2, 2013, the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) held its fifth annual general meeting and conference. This year’s host was De Ruimte democratic school in Soest, The Netherlands, with an organizing committee comprised of staff members and alumni of Dutch democratic schools. 261 participants attended, ranging from students, staff members, parents, and interested community members. I attended as a member of the Sudbury Munich startup school’s scientific advisory board.
continue reading: www.educationfutures.com/2013/08/11/eudec/
I am clearly not an EUDEC expert I am just a mother and a person who is interested in freedom-based education and a prospective school founder, the person who EUDEC “officials” claim to support and represent. I came to EUDEC conference and that’s what I see. I know am not alone in seeing it that way.
I faced yet another institution with messy structure and irrational mechanism. I see lack of responsibility, clarity and courage. I see and feel yet another authoritarian approach (yes, I do) where rules guide everything and everyone must “obey”. I see – ”Authoritarianism Light”, sort of.
“At the Fuel Station we got some fuel and a sandwich.
Cashier: Do you want Classic or Diet Coke with your sandwich? It’s free!
Me: No thanks, a bottle of still water, please.
If I wanted coke – I’d get a Classic one, because Diet Coke, even if it has sweet fake taste and zero calories in it – is just disgusting.”
continue reading: http://nataleks.com/2013/09/10/eudec-2013-feedback/
Eudec 2013 was for me a great combination of good food, green and desert venue, warm and well organized welcoming and of course unending minds and ideas exchanging with lovely, colorful and fascinating children and adults from all over.
The further impact is still beating in my heart and in my head. Thank to the organizers and to everyone that made it happend! :-) (and a special thanks for the Sudbury Munich Start-up group).
keep on rockin :-)
Ramit’s presentation from the conference
And a short list of links and credits from this presentation:
- IDE Internet site: http://www.democratic.co.il/en/
- C2City programm: http://c2city.org/en/
- Hecht, Y. (2009). "Democratic Education: A Beginning of a Story". Tel-Aviv, Israel: IDE.
- Hod, R. (2013). "Bottom up Privatization - Institutional Changes and the Transformation of State Society Relations in Israel's Education System. Thesis for Master degree. Beer-Sheva, Israel: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (Hebrew)
- Senor, D & Singer, S. (2009). "Start-up Nation". NY: Grand Central Publishing.
Looking back at the EUDEC 2013 Conference
On Saturday the 27th of July, around 230 people gathered to meet for a week in Soest, The Netherlands. Here the EUDEC 2013 conference took place on the site of the Democratic school De Ruimte. Finally a number of 240 participants visited the Conference (of which 95 students and 35 kids under 10 years of age) and an additional 27 persons attended the public day.
It was a week full of exchange of experiences and finding people with comparable interests. The conference theme was “we create the future”. So many interesting workshops were held from” tips how to start a democratic school” to “climbing trees”, from “The Ideal Space to Learn” to “Discussions about the EUDEC website”. Next to around 300 workshops, there was entertainment. In the evenings there was live music, open podium and disco, there were campfires and people played games like “Capture the Flag” or “Life Action Role Play”. People also could visit the beautiful Soester Dune area close by, or find their way into Soest, or bigger cities like Utrecht, Amersfoort or Amsterdam. It was all close by.
Over 150 people slept on the venue site on the campground. It was interesting to see that so many tents could actually be placed on the site.
During the week we were fed well by the excellent food from Chef Sytse Kramer of HetEten. He led a team of over 10 people to cook for us a very varied meal, that was fit for vegetarian and vegan people. Sytse sponsored our conference by working with his crew for free for a week, costs were only food and hiring equipment.
We received a sponsorship for special water bottles called “Dopper”. These bottles were given as a present to all participants of the conference. The “Dopper” was invented to reduce the enormous amount of disposible water bottels that pollute our environment. We also received sponsorship from Groene Kantoorartikelen and from vandePutte Medical. We thank all those that made this conference as low in costs as possible.
The week is organized around the Annual General Meeting of the EUDEC Corporation. People come together and vote on motions, to discuss the budget and financial report, to vote for new council members and to discuss the future of EUDEC and a corporation. The participation in the democracy of EUDEC is high, as well as the interest in taking part in the corporation by a lot of young people.
This year we decided to go for a different entrance fee for members and non-members. We decided that non-members had to pay €30.- more and became a half year member. We envisioned that it could give people who were not a member and who visited the conference a feeling of belonging to the whole group and experience what it is to be a member. Finally, we paid €1035,- to EUDEC for those who became a half year member. This was in our opinion a success.
The total expenses were finally € 59.000.- . In total a €5000,- was given as reductions on the fee, which left us with a € 66.500,- as total income. We finally ended with a positive budget, which could pay back our expenses of travelling towards each other in organizing the event. We were very happy to have budgeted so sharp that we neither had a deficit, nor a large profit.
Next year we will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark. We wish the next year’s conference organizers all the best!
This year I went to the EUDEC Conference in Holland.
To me, EUDEC means lots of meetings, lots of different languages, lots of different persons from different countries.
I don't speak English very well so I didn't attend workshops, I mainly played games.
I tried to meet other children and there were activities cause what's great in democratic schools is that there are lots of possibilities to play. In Soest, there were playgrounds, trampolines and even like a small farm, so we never got bored.
And though I don't speak other languages very well, we understood each other with other children, because between persons, there is often something that helps us to communicate without talking.
I spent a lot of time with Polish people, they were very kind.
I loved the Talents Show: I didn't participate but it was so good, because there were persons with different talents and before you saw them, you never imagined they would have such talents. It was nice. It was funny.
And the last night, there was a party where everybody danced, even very serious people. Everybody was having fun, it was great!
I am happy I can go to EUDEC conferences, it makes me go to countries I wouldn't normally go to and I meet people from lots of different countries. It's a community life and I like it.
A GREAT SUCCESS:
The second meeting of Sudbury Munich's Advisory Board
In what way is it possible to conduct scientific research on the Sudbury school model?
How can scientists provide support for the Sudbury movement in Europe?
These were two typical questions that were dealt with in the course of the Advisory Board meeting for the Sudbury Munich start-up initiative that took place during EUDEC 2013. Following its inauguration last year, this was the second time that the Advisory Board had convened — and this time almost all members were able to attend. The Advisory Board members are:
Ramit Avidan, University of Tel Aviv / Israel, who is currently researching on 'Democratic Schools in Germany', Peter Gray, Professor of Psychology at Boston University / USA, Hans-Ulrich Grunder, Professor of Pedagogics at the University of Basle / Switzerland, Derry Hannam, retired Headmaster and experienced School Inspector from England, Ulrich Klemm, Professor of Adult Education at the University of Augsburg, Gregor Lang-Wojtasik, Director of the Centre for Adult Education of the Pedagogic University of Weingarten / Germany, John Moravec, Co-Director of the Invisible Learning Project, Alan Thomas, Developmental Psychologist at the Institute of Education of the University of London.
With the exception of Ulrich Klemm, who was unable to attend because of other commitments, the Advisory Board was complete and its members plunged into intensive discussions. As soon as The Sudbury School Munich opens the accompanying research work will commence. The relevant authority in Bavaria has made approval contingent on a monitoring programme being conducted by competent social scientists. To this end, Ulrich Klemm has already drafted a concept. During EUDEC, the Advisory Board discussed the possibilities of complementing thiswork by means of a long-term study, how EUDEC may profit from its activities and in turn provide support for it and how 'Sudbury Munich' can best prepare the ground even before the school comes into being.
In addition, pupils from Sudbury schools were interviewed to find out how they themselves could imagine evaluation taking place. This highlighted an aspect that became clearer and clearer in the course of the conference: that a Sudbury school represents a very sensitive sociological system. Also, first steps have been taken to carry out a study involving graduates from Sudbury schools throughout the world, similar to those that have already been conducted in, by and over Sudbury Valley School.
In the coming weeks, the Munich group will be evaluating the discussions and preparing the next concrete steps. One of these has already been decided upon: A 'Scientific Blog' is to be integrated into the Munich website www.sudbury-muenchen.de to give Board members a forum to publish regular reports on their research.
'Sudbury Munich' found the meeting a huge success, and it was great to be able to support EUDEC at the same time: Most of the Board members gave talks and workshops in which they shared the results of their research, and these attracted a great deal of interest.
2. Schools of Trust Campaign
Here is a message from the "Schools of Trust" film team:
we are currently working intensely on the rough cut of our documentary 'Schools of Trust'.
Our crow funding campaign on Indigogo had a very great impact and collected 5770 €.
To our great surprise more than 3000 people from brazil viewed the video of our campaign (www.schoolsoftrust.com). Thomas told me, that an article in a brazilian online magazine about our film was shared over 3000 times on facebook. :-)
Because many people asked us, if they could still support our project, we are planning a second campaign to collect the missing money, that our last campaign could not collect.
Therefore, we are now also working on a nice looking website for our film.
Best regards and many thanks to all friends and supporters,
(from Hamburg, Germany)
Watch the trailer here!
3. Parents of Sudbury school in The Netherlands ask for your urgent support for their court appeal!
Parents of 3 families in the Netherlands were criminally convicted last May for sending their children to the Sudbury school De Kampanje. On 16th October they appeal their conviction in court.
The schools and parents already spend over € 100,000 on the administrative appeals. Sudbury school De Kampanje lost more than half of its students. As a result, our financial resources are depleted.
For a successful preparation of the appeal and to continue the school up to the appeal, another €20,000 is urgently needed before the 15th of October.
This case is about restoring freedom of choice in education and reestablishing Human Rights in the Netherlands and Europe.
This is a very principled case with impact on all parents and students in the Netherlands and possibly outside.
Research Professor and evolutionary psychologists of the Boston College, Peter Gray provides more background in his blog in Psychology today on “The Human Right Struggle in Europe: Educational Choice”
You can help us:
By a gift between € 1 and € 100;
Purchasing a bond between € 100 and € 20,000. When the appeal is won the bond will be refunded.
We strongly believe in our right and that finally justice will be done to those who choose a different kind of education for their children. Everywhere in Europe, personal freedom rights are under pressure. In an era driven by accelerating technological change, globalization, and the emergence of a “knowmadic” society (Moravec, 2013a, 2013b), Sudbury schools are a necessary option for creating a near-future workforce that is creative, imaginative, and innovative in its application of personal-level knowledge. Sudbury schools provide a new approach to education, and they exist since 1968 and are accepted in other western democracies like the US, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Israel and sometimes even subsidized by the State.
According to Peter Gray: This is a human rights struggle on a par with other human rights struggles throughout the ages. We have seen the struggles for religious freedom and for equality before the law regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, which are still continuing in many places. Now, in Europe, we are witnessing the struggle for freedom in education. Let’s keep a close eye on this and support these brave families in whatever ways we can. Let’s see if European countries can live up to their claims to be democracies that respect human rights.
More info on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/146929468849665/
Many thanks in advance.
4. New schools
Congratulations to Infinita in Germany, Trampolina in Poland, and Fokus in Switzerland!
Those three new democratic shools just opened, let's celebrate. If you want to know more about them, please check the EUDEC website
And here is a little report from the Infinita team:
INFINITA finally open
The Democratic School INFINITA opened on Monday the 12th with 22 kids age 6 to 13. After 5 years the project finally managed the step from starting a school to being a school. After we got the permit 2 years ago, we thought the rest would be a piece of cake – unfortunately we were wrong. It turned out to be a real challenge to find a suitable building for our school. Just two month ago it almost looked like we need to postpone again but due to intense work of the parents, who really wanted this school for their kids, we finally managed to start. We took some risks and eventually found us a nice room in a beautiful spot in Bargteheide, a small town close to Hamburg, Germany.
It is not perfect, since we do not have a lot of rooms in which everyone can do what he or she wants to do, but we have a room and therefore a school! In addition we put up a tent in the garden and make good use of the forested outdoor space. It is an interesting challenge, because in our school meetings we now discuss a lot of things that would just not be necessary otherwise. We need to work as a community and find common grounds where in a bigger building it would just be individual choice. We need to work and play in the same room, talking about and respecting each others needs.
The first week has been a wild and glorious ride. We had a school meeting every day and most of the kids participated and the discussions were focussed and amazing. We suggested that adults should chair the meeting for two weeks, to show how it is done. We were voted down on that one :-) . So much happened and it is a lot of fun. One thing we are already certain about – it will never get boring – and that is not due to accidents, lice and noise complaints (which we all had in our first week of course).
We are already working on getting a bigger space, so that we can grow in the future and live the concept of democratic education to its full potential. And we are very happy and looking forward to the years to come. YAY! :)
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