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Abstract: 

Over the many years I worked with families, I regularly heard stories about experiences with public school, and while the individual stories were all different, they shared a common thread: a deep sense of dissatisfaction. If I were to distill the dissatisfaction down to a single complaint, it would be this: a loss of identity or individuality within a system that narrowed who and what a child and a family could be and do. Standards, labels, routines, and prescriptive curriculum defined the school experience, requiring children and families to fit within their confines. From the 5-year-old who told me that “at school we have to do a lot of super sitting” to the 10-year-old that I invited back to attend preschool so he could regain some sense of himself, to the 16-year-old who simply stopped going to school because he was utterly bored, the grievances were wide ranging and ever present.  

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