The Marin Waldorf School created a beautiful piece that very accurately reflects our position regarding media in early childhood.
“Our experience, as a school and as a movement, is that popular culture, especially as expressed through various forms of media, overwhelms children’s thinking and imagination. We make a conscious effort to quiet pop culture and media awareness in order to make room for the development of intellectual curiosity and a healthy and authentic sense of self. Waldorf education strives to awaken a children’s excitement and enthusiasm for learning through a curriculum rich in academic and artistic expression.” Read more
If you listen in on an early childhood education course you might over hear these terms child-led, adult-led, adult-initiated and wonder what they mean. These are different ways of playing with children and each has their place in an early childhood center however more and more often we are seeing educators who are being taught to play with the children, to get down on their level and be part of the tea party, make up the games, be silly etc etc.
However something in play is lost when it is adult led. Adult-led play belongs where there is structure and too much structure leads to children who are not able to entertain themselves, who cannot be creative, who wait for the next thing to engage and entertain them so they become easily “bored”. We have all certainly encountered this in our lives and perhaps you thought to yourself I was never bored as a child, we just played.
“The three stages in the child’s development are usually not granted enough importance, yet they more or less determine the whole manner in which the child can become a human being inhabiting the Earth”
~ Rudolf Steiner
Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2
Steiner presents to us the idea of seven-year periods of child development, the well known early years, the years between the change of teeth and puberty and the years of adolescence. He taught in his lectures that each of these phases of development must be completed before the next one is awakened if we are to build a strong foundation for our children’s capacities.
In case you haven’t heard the high tech world is hurting our kids. iPads, video games, cell phones, tablets and all having a devastating impact on our children’s development. Chris Rowan an occupational therapist discusses some of the trends.
The space we inhabit on a daily basis leaves a deep impression upon our psyches. How calm or busy this environment is can say much about our inner lives though for most of us we don’t even notice it. One of the most significant differences of a classroom inspired by the Waldorf philosophy is the quality contained within the space. Parents remark on it consistently.
In this article from the New York Times Jan Hoffman reports on a new study about the effects of busy walls on a child’s ability to focus and concentrate on their work. Read more
Why is it so important that we give our children opportunity for free play?
How could sending my child to an enrichment activity possibly harm their development?
Joan Almon explores the rational behind the “play principle”…
“creative play is a central activity in the lives of healthy young children. It helps children weave together all the elements of life as they experience it. It allows them to digest life and make it their own. It is an outlet for the fullness of their creativity, and it is an absolutely critical part of their childhood. With creative play, children blossom and flourish; without it, they suffer a serious decline.”
Many people have commented on the hat my son is always wearing. They say it is beautiful, ask if I knit it or are surprised when they see how bald my baby is for the first time. His lack of hair is not why he is always wearing a hat nor is it the reason he has no hair, all of my children have been rather bald in the beginning. No the reason my son always wears a hat is because I am doing what I can to ensure he reaches his full potential.
If this sounds odd or you are unsure how wearing a hat contributes to human development then read on. Read more
Here we have a wonderful (if long) lecture from a veteran Waldorf educator David Blair on the essentials of Waldorf Education. If you would like to understand the concepts underlying why Waldorf educators do what they do this is an excellent starting point.
Young children are increasingly engaged in structured activities such as dance, music, soccer and while these are good they are losing the opportunity for unstructured play and it’s hurting their development.
Playing in a playground where every tree is carefully planted has a different quality than play that takes place in a natural environment. Think back to a camping trip where your children played for hours barely supervised and imagine spending even an hour at the park that way.
Children’s emotional and affective values of nature develop earlier than their abstract, logical and rational perspectives
“You will not be good teachers if you focus only
on what you do and not upon who you are.”
― Rudolf Steiner
As parents our role in our child’s lives is to provide a structure in which they can feel confident and secure about their place in the world. It is up to us to create an environment in which our children see us as a loving-authority. We have all become frustrated with our children from time to time, however when we are impatient or short tempered with our children we are failing to provide them with the security they need to develop fully. The path of parenting is one of growth.
The New York Times sparked national media coverage with its front page story on why Silicon Valley parents are turning to Waldorf education. This film picks up where that story left off. “Preparing for Life” takes viewers inside the Waldorf School of the Peninsula where the focus is on developing the capacities for creativity, resilience, innovative thinking, and social and emotional intelligence over rote learning. Entrepreneurs, Stanford researchers, investment bankers, and parents who run some of the largest hi-tech companies in the world, weigh-in on what children need to navigate the challenges of the 21st Century in order to find success, purpose, and joy in their lives.
Our world is changing at a rapid and dramatic pace. Every decade brings technological advances and unforeseen social change. So how can we prepare our children for a world we can’t envision? The best way to do that is to educate our children to develop three essential capacities: a capacity for vibrant and vigorous activity, a capacity for a sensitive and yet resilient emotional life, and a capacity for clear, focused, original, thinking. Read more