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Tell me about the transition from Waldorf to mainstream.

post #1 of 3
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Hi everyone,

I'm hoping to hear your experiences and insights with transitioning a young learner from Waldorf/Steiner to a mainstream school.

In our case, DD is five and attended a mainstream preschool when she was three and a Waldorf kindergarten when she was four. In preschool, she learned to write capital letters and her name. Last year, while she was in the Waldorf K, she began reading at home. She's now in a mainstream Year 1 class (yes, they start them this young in the UK! I'd say Year 1 is something between American kindy and first grade). The other students in her class have had an extra year of learning how to read and write, so she's "behind".

I don't have any reason to be concerned at this point about her reading. Her teacher (love her!) thinks she's going to come along fine with her writing eventually, but admits she's significantly behind, and I'm wondering if we shouldn't provide her with some extra tutoring to get her a little closer to speed.

My main concern is her attitude toward her abilities: if she thinks she's behind now, will she mistakenly think that's a reflection of herself or her intelligence? Would the extra work for her now be worth it in confidence? What would you do?

And most importantly of all: if you transitioned from Waldorf to mainstream, how long did it take your child (or the child of someone you know) to catch up? Any helpful tips, warnings, or words of advice?

***As an (important) aside, DD's first day at her new school was yesterday and she loved it! It's only her second day today, but crossing my fingers that she continues to enjoy school this much.
post #2 of 3
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Originally Posted by SoulCakes View Post

My main concern is her attitude toward her abilities: if she thinks she's behind now, will she mistakenly think that's a reflection of herself or her intelligence? Would the extra work for her now be worth it in confidence? What would you do?
I don't have experience with the Waldorf to regular school, but thought I might offer a suggestion on this point. I'd start with reinforcing with her that there's no point in making comparisons with others. They may be ahead in some areas, possibly due to innate talent, maybe due to earlier instruction. She will have her own areas of ability that other children haven't developed yet. Maybe it's creative storytelling or playacting, or math, or knowledge about the natural world, or cooking. I'd remind her of the skills she has and point out that she has lots of ability to learn - she just hasn't learned all the same tasks as others. I'd speak to her teacher to make sure that she avoids comparisons in class too.

If she is worried about being behind the other children, I'd redirect her to focus on how she is improving in these areas as she gains skills. That's why she's attending school - to improve her skills and to learn new things. The other children are going to be working in other areas.

If you are really concerned about writing skills, then there are some entertaining activities that won't feel like too much like tutoring. If it's the actual handwriting that needs work, you can work on gross motor and fine motor skills, pen and paper tasks like mazes, colouring between the lines, drawing and cartooning, etc. If it's creative writing that she needs to develop, then perhaps she could try scrapbooking and journalling about her new school and friends, keeping a nature diary instead of a nature table, writing up recipes...whatever takes her fancy.
post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulCakes View Post
And most importantly of all: if you transitioned from Waldorf to mainstream, how long did it take your child (or the child of someone you know) to catch up? Any helpful tips, warnings, or words of advice?
We homeschooled in a relaxed way when the kids were young and they started traditional school when they were 10 and 12. My 10 year old was ahead in some things, but behind in others, esp. handwriting. She was very motivated once she started school and worked hard for the first few months. She caught up with the other kids after about 3 months. We worked with her in the evenings and she really pushed herself.

Quote:
***As an (important) aside, DD's first day at her new school was yesterday and she loved it! It's only her second day today, but crossing my fingers that she continues to enjoy school this much.
On one hand, since school just started and she hasn't been exposed to a lot of this before, I might just give it a couple of months and see what happens. With regular exposure, she might just *get it*.

At the same time, there's nothing wrong with having her work with a tutor. I had both my kids work with a math tutor for a bout 6 months before they started school to get them up to speed and it was the right choice for them.

However you decide to act, I'd try to find a positive way to look at the situation. She's done a lot of fun things and been given a little extra time to just be a little kid. She's had a chance for her brain to develop more before having the pressure to learn academics (I'm a HUGE fan of delaying academics!). She's really bright, and will quickly catch up.

She will pick up on your attitude and use it as a model, so the more comfortable you are with the process of her catching up with the expectations of the UK school system, the more comfortable she will be with it.

I'd also keep pointing out to her all the ways in which she is competent -- in the kitchen, with the pets, understanding others, etc. Don't make her whole life about how well she reads and writes. It really is just one part of how she is doing as a person.
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