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Waldorf schools

I really want to send my son to a waldorf school BUT: 1) it is not realistic for our family to completely oust plastic toys. We love, love wood and silk and we do have those available, DH even makes wooden toys for DS, but we can not afford to only do wood nor do we feel it is right to get rid of toys that grandparents, etc buy for him on the basis that they are plastic. We also do not think it is right to ask for only wooden toys (those are so much more costly). 2) we love books in our house. While we will not be teaching our son to read early, we will not take books away from him 3) My DS did not watch t.v at all until he was 2. We now limit the amount of television he watches and censor it. We are a movie watching family and will always be one. My question is: will a Waldorf school accept us knowing all of this?

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 2:51 PM on Feb. 19, 2010 in General Parenting

Answers (9)
  • bump
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:04 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • Okay, Waldorf schools are not a true-believer, groupie-guru cult.
    (My mom was a Waldorf teacher, my 3 siblings grew up in Waldorf schools, my husband and myself are Waldorf teachers & we've worked in 12 schools from California to Pennsylvania to NY to California again)
    SOME people who become teachers get real dogmatic about stuff, and many parents seem to latch onto outward stuff as if this were membership in some clique.
    Some things are really important, others less so. Think about people who find out that sugar is not very healthy. SOME will go fanatical and eliminate ALL sugar from every morsel of their child's food. Sure, sugar is not healthy, but a mom can just keep it in mind and maintain a balance.

    What you want to do is understand WHY certain things are advised, so you can make decisions for the best benefit of your children.
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 4:07 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • Plastic toys. The reason for natural materials is the neurological feedback which is constantly nourishing the developing brain, especially in the first few years of exponential neurological growth. Natural nourishes, plastic doesn't. Here's an article about that : Sensing the World and Ourselves by Dr. Jeff Green http://taruna.ac.nz/articles/12_senses_jeff_green.htm

    Reading. Waldorf does NOT maintain that children must not read.
    We don't want to tax the child's growth forces during the period when they are needed to finish laying the brain's network and to finish the foundations of the organs. The very last project of these growth forces is the adult teeth, so when the baby teeth start to fall out, you know these forces are now available for mental work without depriving the basic body. If a child happens to pick up reading basics from the family, that's fine. It is just a matter of not exerting the child's focus (cont'd
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 4:24 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • Reading (cont'd) ... not exerting the child's focus prematurely. As long as there are hours of vigorous active play which the brain needs, then the child knowing how to recognize letters or words in favorite books is not going to undercut the brain development. Some Waldorf teacher / schools encounter so much emphasis on teaching academics among parents in their particular communities that they are extra emphatic about non-reading play in order to get through to parents who have never learned of this early childhood brain development. Again, read Dr. Green's article.

    And ... if a child already has some reading basics, they are rarely bored by the Waldorf teaching of reading. It is different from anything in other systems, and is thoroughly engaging quite aside from the reading skills which become familiar along the way.

    TV. For insight into the effects of TV, and another astonishing truth, I enthusiastically (cont'd)
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 4:34 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • TV (cont'd) ...enthusiastically recommend Dr. Susan Johnson's "Strangers in our Homes: TV and our Children's Minds"

    http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/Strangers%20in%20our%20Homes.pdf

    After reading that, you and your husband can make your decisions.
    (My husband and I didn't have TV until our boys were 12 & 11. I LOVE TV, and sorely missed it at first. But then my life was so full of activities with our babies, and even more as they grew older, that I wondered how I could possibly set aside a couple of hours a day / week from the fun active things.)

    Note in the article where she describes how the myriad POTENTIAL brain pathways get established by encountering experiences and being used, and that any potentials which go un-tapped by age 9 or 10 get DISSOLVED by a hormone secreted at that age. This gives a whole new dimension to the importance of real-world experiences over computer/TV time for a child.
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 5:04 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • As to "accepting" you, this will depend upon the Waldorf school. How much trouble they have run into with parents who don't take their children's needs seriously? When a child comes to school under-slept or hungry, it is easy to see how that will sabotage their learning, and how their grumpy or fragile mood will impact their classmates and teacher.

    Our society aggressively dismisses the possibility of a similar sabotaging effect from computer / videogame time and TV. Sometimes a Waldorf school community - both the teachers AND the parents who don't want TV imitative behaviors around their impressionable young children - has set a policy about TV-watching, in self-defense.

    Keep in mind that Waldorf is a way of teaching. Schools sometimes keep in touch with each other, but are ENTIRELY independent. The teachers & parents in one school will be completely different from another school. Our area has 7 schools, and (cont'd)
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 5:16 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • (cont'd) ... and parents frequently find that while they could not abide the school culture in one, they are very happy in another.

    Waldorf is not about prohibitions and parenting rules, it is totally about learning and understanding what is REALLY going on in the developing child. Waldorf is about balance. One child may be overly shy, and that is respected while the teacher encourages more confidence ... another is so active that in 4th grade it hinders her ability to complete projects; so while prizing the child's strong will forces the teacher has ways to strengthen her focus.

    It is just like learning that your child needs more vitamin B than the norm - you read up and figure out what to include in your family meals to balance that need.

    Same thing with Waldorf parenting practices, and later in school with Waldorf teaching.

    You can also Waldorf homeschool !!
    waldorfmom

    Answer by waldorfmom at 5:22 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • I'm sure there is one that would. It is not a learning style I am comfortable with, because the ones in our area encourage belief in nonsense and made up things, to the point of telling the children fairies are real. Now, some believe they are, and that is their belief. I am not going to argue with them. But the ones in our area just fill chlidren's heads with nonsense, and it bothers me. Real life isn't as awful and oppressive as some make it out to be. My children can have fantastic imaginations without me filling their heads with fairies and sprites and such.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:24 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

  • We are a Waldorf family. It is a public charter so maybe not as stringent as private. We haven't had any issues with acceptance. My son has plastic toys but lately some of his favorites have become sticks and rocks and homemade things. By his choice, not ours. We slowly reduced media time to just the weekends, but that was our choice. there are other families in our class that that doesn't work for. We love books in out home a read to him daily.
    tomib

    Answer by tomib at 6:36 PM on Feb. 19, 2010

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