Principles of The Cotswold Community

Staff and children of the community, 1975

In 1975 Barbara Dockar-Drysdale, consultant child psychotherapist, enabled the one of the households to formulate some principles (not rules) to guide and inform their day-to-day living. This was during a period when this household was enduring considerable acting out from the children. It was important that the children participated in formulating these principles and could subsequently take some ownership of them. It wouldn’t have worked if these principles had been imposed by the adults. These principles helped to change a vicious circle of acting out into a virtuous circle of increased communication and positive group living.

Principles in Which We Try to Live
in the Households of the Cotswold Community.

  • This is our house and we value it
  • It is a dreadful thing for a grown up to hit a boy, it is just as dreadful for a boy to hit a grown up
  • It is important to be given the chance to put things right
  • There is nothing which cannot be said – in the right place, at the right time.
  • It is important to listen to what other people have to say
  • When people are violent it is because they are not talking to other people
  • There must always be food if someone is hungry
  • It is important to feel clean and tidy, and cared for
  • If you feel ill, tell somebody at once
  • You cannot like other people if you do not like yourself
  • Everyone needs to be able to trust
  • It is important to be able to cry
  • The truth helps
  • If you give orders – grown ups or children – these must have a reason
  • Anger must be understood, and put into words
  • It is important to accept being in the wrong
  • Sorrow must find comfort, paint must find relief, sadness must be felt
  • If there are needs these must be me somehow
  • Some people cannot be taught but they can learn
  • Don’t be afraid to ask anything
  • Some things are private