A School for Life can be established without boarding facilities (as a day school only), or, in keeping with many of the benefits of the broader concept, as a full boarding school where students can live-in and learn.
Children who attend the School for Life as a boarding school are offered a combination of “family building” and “peer education”. The children live with families in houses on the campus, each with one or two mentors, in single-sex groups. This is supported by the promotion of “peer education”, learning and living in mixed-age groups, and the concept of Guardian Angels. These are older children, chosen by younger ones, who look after a group of three to five small children, and who share in the responsibility for their welfare. The inspiration for this feature was the observation that older children, especially boys, began to form groups which lacked empathy and solidarity with the younger children – a problem that ceased to exist with the implementation of Guardian Angels. Guardian Angels need training and supervision, and can also be voted out of their posts.
With a Children’s Parliament, Class- and Project speakers, Guardian Angels and Mediators, the development of a Republic of Children depends on both the success of the balance between the acceptance of youth culture and the acceptance of the supporting role of adults, and the threshold at which each child can turn to a trusted person if something goes wrong and the rights of the child are in danger of being compromised. Transparency, supervision and the principle of “many eyes” also apply with regard to the prevention of abuse, violence, discrimination or racism. Children need loving attention. They need closeness without the transgression of boundaries.