Article on Waldorf schools - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 05-26-2004, 09:07 AM
 
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Some people have mentioned the waldorf schools, and I thought I would post a link to an article I found:

http://salon.com/mwt/feature/2004/05.../index_np.html



Quote:
What's Waldorf?

The alternative school's holistic, arts-based philosophy seemed like a perfect fit for my kids. Then I started learning about the eccentric mystical beliefs of its founder.



Editor's note: Names marked with an asterisk (*) have been changed.

By Meagan Francis



May 26, 2004 | When Ted and Joan Shores* began researching schools near their Seattle home for their 4-year-old daughter, Clair, they settled fairly easily on the local Waldorf school. "We wanted a school that encouraged learning through play, instead of pushing formal academics," says Joan, who says that she was drawn to the school because of Waldorf's stance on electronic media (a no-no -- most Waldorf schools discourage the use of television and computers by young children) and nature play (encouraged -- Waldorf schools provide children with wooden blocks, simple cloth dolls, twigs, stones and other nature items rather than plastic toys). They were also excited to join the ready-made community of school families who pitched in with fundraising efforts, coordinated school events, and celebrated festivals together -- conventional holidays, like Christmas and Easter, plus celebrations centering on less-mainstream events, like the harvest, solstice, and May Day.



But the seemingly idyllic mix of a holistic education for their daughter and a supportive community for their family quickly soured: Clair began to be bullied by an older, bigger boy at school, and none of the staff seemed to notice. Though Clair was coming home in tears and no longer wanted to attend school, teachers dismissed Joan's concerns, she says -- even when she'd witnessed the bullying herself. "Our lead teacher kept asking what Clair's bedtime was, while insisting she never saw bullying at school," Joan says. "She would never address the behavior of the other child." (When called for comment, a representative from Clair's school said that no one had time to answer questions.) Instead, the teacher suggested to a frustrated Ted that he "read his Steiner."

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#2 Old 05-26-2004, 10:44 AM
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i went to a waldorf school in germany when i was in grade 9 and it was one of the most horrible experiences of my entire life. i only stayed for 5 weeks and sneaked out to enroll in another school after i was told i couldn't go in a class trip because it would disrupt group cohesion. months later i found out that one of the students commited suicide in that trip.



the skeptic's dictionary has a nice article about that freak http://www.skepdic.com/steiner.html
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#3 Old 05-26-2004, 11:15 AM
 
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Wow, that's kind of shocking!



ETA: Very interesting articles. I remember reading about them a couple years ago but I don't remember what I read covering any of this wishy washy stuff. What a disturbing school system!
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#4 Old 05-26-2004, 04:29 PM
 
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Oh yeah....



This is one of my soapbox issues, so beware Waldorf has been gaining some ground in the Midwest as a sort of "savior" of inner city schools, which is a load of crap.



See this link for stories of people who experiences Waldorf first hand.

http://www.waldorfcritics.org/

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#5 Old 05-26-2004, 05:18 PM
 
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These schools sound hilariously stupid. Reading before age 8 is unhealthy? Oh man...



I wish I could sit in on some classes for a laugh.
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#6 Old 05-26-2004, 10:14 PM
 
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I guess thats the same as a school here which is just called "Rudolf Steiner". I'd never heard of it up until a couple of months ago when we played them for soccer (NZ's fairly small, and I thought I knew EVERY school in my city, but i'd never even HEARD of it up until then).

But yeah those people/that school was weird. We were all like "Rudolf what?! what's it about? How come we've never heard of it?"

And all anyone seemed to know was that apparently their ideals is that children will learn when they are ready, so they just play until they want to learn.

Whoa. Crazy, I don't see how they'll pass NCEA!
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#7 Old 05-27-2004, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamJen View Post


See this link for stories of people who experiences Waldorf first hand.

http://www.waldorfcritics.org/



wow.. i didn't know about this site. i just joined thier discussion group.
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#8 Old 03-25-2005, 11:11 PM
 
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in fairness, its really not that simple. I wonder why we have so many extremes! why cant we just read when we are inclined??



I work in a public school and its sad that kids age 5 are asked to learn sight words and try to write in journals and "sound things out." for those who aren't ready, "reading" starts to suck for them and it gets ruined in a way. not every 5 yr old has the attention span to sound things out. if they left reading a little mysterious and made it fun and somewhat optional in early years, it wouldnt become the horrible school burden thing its become.



but of course, NOT reading until 8 as a rule is stupid also. I know a lot of kids who are SUPER interested in reading at an early age and that should be fostered as well.



XOXO

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#9 Old 03-26-2005, 04:15 AM
 
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I really like some things about Waldorf education, as I have been exposed to it. I think some aspects of it are VERY appropriate and even benficial to young children. Having been extensivly involved in the local unschooling and homeschooling community, I have seen some interesting things about kids and reading. I have seen, several times, instances where kids (all boys, in my case) have had trouble reading and even fought it until they were as old as 11 years and then learn to read within a period of weeks! Really! With no struggle!



So, I think that the idea that there is a certain age someone should read by or they are wrong, or dumb, or neglected is hooey.



At the same time, there is something coercive about Waldorf. I learned to read at a young age, as did one of my kids and it would not have been good to prevent me from it. As I mentioned in another thread, my kids are attracted to some things that are not encouraged in Waldorf and I don't think they would have fit in at all. For instance, I allowed NO GUNS in our house when Adrain was little. No squirt guns, no TV shows, no guns. Well, at some point, everthing in his hand was a gun. He was obsessed. "Look mom! this stick is a gun!" " Look! A duplo gun!" "Look! That guy has a gun!" (cop) Short of being a family of hermits, there is no way to shelter a child from things like that. I think the outlook of a lot of Waldorf parents is unrealistic and does not allow their kids to be who they really are, sometimes.
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#10 Old 03-27-2005, 07:18 PM
 
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I've actually read this before. While I'm not an advocate for waldorf schools I also don't think that one school or one person's experience can represent everyone's.



b
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#11 Old 03-28-2005, 01:36 PM
 
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i think that, like everything, there are positives and negatives.



for me, traditional, or currently traditional education (perhaps mainstream is the right word?) isn't very functional for most children. like sunny and dakini said, some kids are ready for some things before others. and, there are a lot of positive things about waldorf worth looking into.



i think that there are major issues with waldorf. while i can't speak to the bullying ot other issues specifically (because that may just be a particular school, not all waldorf schools, etc), i can say that the reading issue is a big one for me. While babysitting kids aged 6, i noticed that they want to learn their letters and were able to learn the basic mechanics of reading over the course of a few days. Once they started at school on monday, they were discouraged from practicing at school, and then their mom was strongly advised against letting them continue to read. She didn' tknow they could read--and i didn't know they couldn't. oh well.



and, i wouldn't say that kids are 'allowed to play until they're interested in learning.' there is a lot of learning going on during play. Their first area of emphasis is in the combination of physical development and brain development. So, for instance, in kindergarden the focus is on outdoor exploration and gaining manuel deterity skills. For instance, they learn to sew, they build birdhouses (working with their own, real tools, real nails, real wood, etc), and they spend a lot of time working on various crafts to build skills. Some of those crafts will lead to movement-based activities such as dance (via eurhythmy), puppet shows (kids tell/ "write" their own stories), and various group activities that include creative play-based learning.



in first grade, knitting, crocheting, and similar projects come to the forefront. kids learn to make their own knitting needles out of dowels (using their kindergarden tools and skills such as sawing, sand papering, sharpening then dulling the needle edge, finishing with wax, etc). they also learn--or will learn during this school year--how to spin cotton yarn and thread, and some basic weaving and beading techniques. Most of these are manual, detail-oriented, meditative, concentration-based skills that teach kids how to stay focused on a task.



for many in waldorf education, this activity/skills-based approach has been a life saver in helping to deal with ADD/ADHD, and a myriad of related situatioins/conditions/problems. THis, then, allows children to work on letters and numbers in a more advanced way at an earlier age. For instance, the study of both the practical and theorhetical elements of physics are introduced in the 5th or 6th grade. While the children aren't practicing addition in a seated, teacher-lead way in first grade, their practical applications of counting knitting loops, learning to make bird houses (measuring the peices of wood themselves, the geometry and construction elements), and learning to make enough yarn or thread to make a certain sized sweater or scarf, etc, had given them enough background in basic, practical mathmatics that they're able to put their minds to the more 'mainstream' tasks at a much younger age than their mainstreamed counterparts.



but, waldorf isn't for everyone. for children who are exceptionally bright in an acedemic setting, knitting may be a frustrating and boring activity when a book is better suited (eg, my experience as a 6-7 yr old). it may be difficult to dance, when i would rather play softball (not discouraged, btw). so, it may not have been 'for me' but it does have a good application for some children--and perhaps for most children.



also, the problem that i have with the initial article is that it talks about bullying and how no one took care of it. When i was bullied at school, i was told to 'get thicker skin' and 'boys will be boys' and similar statements. teachers, administrators, etc, looked the other way--even when my parents came to my defense and aid. my parents were told that i'd just have to 'learn to live with it' and that they should give me the skills to do so. I went to both public and private schools--none waldorf or 'alternative' educational situations. I was basicly mainstream.



anyway, i ramble. point is, good and bad in everything. I think that we just have to find what works for our kids, our families. if it's not waldorf, then it's not waldorf. oh well.
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#12 Old 08-25-2007, 03:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamJen View Post

Oh yeah....



This is one of my soapbox issues, so beware Waldorf has been gaining some ground in the Midwest as a sort of "savior" of inner city schools, which is a load of crap.



See this link for stories of people who experiences Waldorf first hand. ...



For some comments on the stories published by the group mentioned, see http://www.americans4waldorf.org/OnPLANS.html



Interesting group.
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#13 Old 08-25-2007, 03:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Peebs View Post

These schools sound hilariously stupid. ... I wish I could sit in on some classes for a laugh.



For a maybe more clarifying description of Waldorf Education and its philosophical background, see http://www.waldorfanswers.com/
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#14 Old 08-25-2007, 03:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

Some people have mentioned the waldorf schools, and I thought I would post a link to an article I found:

http://salon.com/mwt/feature/2004/05.../index_np.html



While the Salon article not is off the point on everything, it clearly is untrue on a number of points. For a description of and comments on them, see http://www.waldorfanswers.com/OnSalonArticle.html



And are Waldorf schools haunted by bullying, or pupils at the schools more bullied than at schools in general? The research that exists and has been published on this contradicts this: http://www.americans4waldorf.org/Comments.html#Bullying
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#15 Old 08-25-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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This is a very old thread, Thebee. You may wish to consider making a new thread.



However, please also note that this is a vegetarian message board, not one dealing with Waldorf/education issues. I see that you are passionate about Walforf education, but coming and spamming the board = not the best way to start.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#16 Old 08-26-2007, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Thebee View Post

And are Waldorf schools haunted by bullying, or pupils at the schools more bullied than at schools in general? The research that exists and has been published on this contradicts this: http://www.americans4waldorf.org/Comments.html#Bullying





The studies were poorly designed. Try again.
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