Someone asked me the other day if I only wear skirts because we "are Waldorf". I have never heard of such thing honestly. Has anyone else?
Waldorf and Skirts
This is interesting. On a related note, in our parent/toddler classes at the Waldorf school, we've been strongly encouraged to put our girls in leggings or stretchy pants and not skirts. The idea being that they can move more freely, and skirts impede their climbing and exploring (true, I've noticed as much with my daughter). Of course, our teachers would point out that at this toddler age the curriculum is really based in RIE and child movement, etc., and it really isn't "Waldorf" exactly.
I'm interested to hear what the Waldorf link is to skirt-wearing. Maybe something similar to the aprons, ie., making it easier for the children to recognize the teachers?
I don't think I've ever seen my daughter's teacher/owner/director of our local Waldorf early childhood program wearing a skirt. So, definitely not a must. There are 3 classes and certainly some of the other teachers and assistants have been in skirts, but, it doesn't seem to be the preference of our lead teacher.
When we first started with Waldorf I noticed that all of the early childhood teachers except one always wore skirts at our previous school. I think it is related to wearing the aprons in that in working with young children who can take so much energy from their parent or teacher, it is meant to act as a bit of a barrier to protect the teacher's etheric energy (if I remember correctly). At our current school I only see the parent child teachers on a regular basis. The teacher usually wears pants with an apron, while the assistant wears the long skirt like the teachers we knew at our previous school.
In "In a Nutshell" Nancy Foster addresses the question of why teachers wear skirts, as well as many other questions about early childhood in Waldorf. She says "We feel that a dress or skirt gives an impression of fullness and softness. This can convey to a child a sense of warmth and protection, as in the old-time image of a small child peeking out from the safe haven of Mother's skirts... This is obviously not to say that someone wearing pants cannot offer love and security to a child. In our clothing, however, we are trying not only to offer that warmth, but to bring that image as well. Wearing a skirt or dress also presents a simplified impression of the human form... A full, soft skirt does not emphasize the human anatomy, but rather presents the archetypal form of human uprightness."
As to aprons she says: "Almost all Waldorf kindergarten teachers wear aprons for at least part of the morning... as a practical matter - to protect our clothing - as well as to reflect the fact that we are busying ourselves taking care of the life of the "family": baking, washing ironing, caring for the room, making festival preparations, taking part in artistic activity, and so forth."
As a parent, I always wear pants, cause it's practical. But almost all the female teachers at the school wear skirts.
Thanks, PP, for this helpful explanation. I had an inkling it was something to do with the mother figure/protection/warmth etc., but that quote is very clear and succinct. I might even take up wearing an apron myself in the mornings in particular when I am kidding myself I'm trying to do homey things like housework, baking and other creative pursuits - for the practical reason of keeping my clothes clean and for the signal to myself and my children that it is work time. Why did they go out of fashion? I think I might start a collection - Practical hardy apron for Mondays, through to frills and lace on Fridays to celebrate the end of the working week - maybe I'll make a special one for Fridays! (A smock might be better though to avoid toddler tears and dribble and left over food on the face getting on one's shoulder).
With the warmer weather in the Southern Hemisphere now I'm beginning to wear skirts more anyway - jeans or pants are just too hot.
Aprons to keep clean = practical approach to life that I use
Skirts to represent the image of softness and warmth of the mother figure = very odd justification to keep women in gender-specific clothing that hides the natural shape of our bodies, as though there's something wrong with that shape.
At the school here it seems the men all teach older grades. I am not sure if they started with the kids which is traditional Waldorf, but they all wear pants :) J/K
In our school, out of the 8 "grades" there are three male teachers, and yes, they started as first grade teachers. The high school is about 50/50 male/female in terms of teachers.
A couple years ago our teacher told me why but I truly don't remember. It was something about the softness of the silhouette and children liking to hold onto the skirt I think. But no, we don't have any men in early childhood at our school. Pretty sure a skirt wouldn't be mandated for them. And they don't wear skirts on the weekly hike, though they do wear their aprons to school and remove them for the hike.
All of our grades teachers have a varied school wardrobe (except they men, they almost always wear pants.)