Urban idylls

19th November 2004 at 00:00
It takes a village to raise a child, goes the African proverb. It's a nice way of looking at the question of upbringing, because it takes some of the burden away from the tiny nuclear family, and suggests that all sorts of people, with their different talents and views of the world, can play a part in each child's development.

The problem is that few of us live in villages, and when we do, they are often commuter communities, lacking the old-fashioned cohesiveness and nosiness that knit people together through the generations.

But this needn't stand in our way. In his article below, Laurie Rosenberg, the head of a small Jewish school in London, examines ways to square this particular circle.

How do you create a village school in Hackney, or Brixton, or Moss Side? In an ideal world, this is what the Children Act could help achieve. By providing a range of services on-site, including advice, classes and a place to rest for parents, schools will become more like community centres.Simon Marks is, of course, focusing on the Jewish community, which welcomes such an initiative.

For non-faith schools, the challenge is bigger - to try to help forge a vibrant community from diverse, sometimes hostile groups living side by side.


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