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  • Writer's pictureKatie Lane-Karnas

School Denies the Body

Four school-age children in bathing suits are sitting in a close circle on a shallow, rocky river bottom touching rocks.

"From the vantage point of unschooling and embodied mindfulness, I take stock and see that many moments of discomfort point to a culture of mind and body dissociation. School is a powerful and intentional driver of the norms of the dominant culture, and an early-childhood, government-enforced experience of disembodied institutionalization. In addition to the trauma of premature separation from family, young children are removed from the cultural nervous systems of their families and local communities and inserted into the cultural nervous system of a school. The trauma of being separated from family is then compounded by an institution whose nature is to further separate the child from his own young body: forced sitting, walking in lines, not being permitted to leave the room or building, raising an arm in the air before speaking, asking permission to take care of bathroom needs, regulated eating, clothing, shoe, and hair requirements, and a virtually complete lack of movements that engage the bottom half of the body (laying, bouncing, squatting, swinging, dancing, tumbling, climbing). Schooling centers intellectual efforts (such as verbal acuity, early reading and writing, test taking, memorizing things temporarily, and performative and extrovert qualities) and posits them as universally important, rather than what they are: the culturally relative values of white colonialism."

Read the full piece at the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, here:

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