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Home-like environment at school?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am just starting to explore Waldorf education as a possibility for my 3-year old. One question that I have not been able to figure out in my preliminary readings is related to Waldorf kindergartens being modeled around home routines and environments. When I ask parents about the benefits of Waldorf kindergarden, I have often heard parents' appreciation for a home-like environment.

 

I guess I am trying to figure out why Waldorf parents send there young children to school if the ideal is a home environment? If the school is designed to replicate the home, would be be better to keep my daughter at home? I see there is a sightly different approach from 7-14 years, but what about under 7 years? Is home best? or I wonder what benefits does a Waldorf kindergarden offer that home does not?  

 

I really appreciate any ideas from people who have experience both sending young children to Waldorf kindergartens, as well as keeping them at home as part of a home environment. 

post #2 of 8

I was once involved with a group hoping to start a play garden or Waldorf school.  While I do not have the current option of sending my children to one, my research would prompt me to say that there are advantages to both.  A home-like school would have the benefit of a teacher whose sole task is to guide and care for the children.  The rhythm would be easier to keep, most definitely.  It would be simpler to plan and work when there are no extraneous distractions like who's going to mow the yard or get groceries. 

 

As a parent attempting some Waldorf techniques in a home, I have the benefit of growing with my children, being there in all moments to see who they are becoming, my strength of character progressing with theirs.  Rhythm is harder--there are chores beyond baking and cooking and tidying up.  But, practical life seems to be a big part of the kindergarten (check out Lifeways) and these are timeless themes and skills that will carry them through their whole lives.  I see them as being very important, right up there with creativity and self-motivation.
 

post #3 of 8
I agree with appalachianmama. There is a big benefit in that the teacher is there to focus on the teaching aspects of the home-like environment whereas we mamas have other things going on as well! But I know people who were able to "homeschool" for early childhood. It seems that they loved it but it does take discipline, knowledge and the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. It wasn't an option for me because of work and my own personality. I'd rather fold laundry than sit around singing finger puppet songs. (Maybe I'll be a better grandmother!) I think it all comes down to the mother's/family's particular needs. I amin awe of people who can provide the rhythm, balance and beauty of an early childhood classroom to their children themselves. Don't be afraid to try if you think this might suit you!
Edited by Jacquelin - 2/26/13 at 6:46pm
post #4 of 8

Quote:

Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post

 

I guess I am trying to figure out why Waldorf parents send there young children to school if the ideal is a home environment? If the school is designed to replicate the home, would be be better to keep my daughter at home? I see there is a sightly different approach from 7-14 years, but what about under 7 years? Is home best? or I wonder what benefits does a Waldorf kindergarden offer that home does not?

 

Well, of course you have to do whatever is best for you and your family. The only thing that would probably be different than sending children to school is the other children being there. 

 

I sent my daughter to a Waldorf home nursery for her Kindergarten year simply because I was in school myself. I basically needed child care in order to do my coursework and student teaching. A Waldorf setting was the best choice for us since she couldn't be at home. She attended half-days 5 days each week unless I had free time. Then I would keep her with me and try to maintain an overall rhythm as much as possible. We have since continued to 1st and now 2nd grade at the local Waldorf school.

post #5 of 8

I equate a home environment with comfort, and when you are comfortable you are open and able to give and receive. Perhaps the same reason why some hospitals have birthing rooms with home like environments. When put at ease we just do better smile.gif

post #6 of 8

I recall someone saying Waldorf preschools mimic home environment because they feel home would be the best, but some people need childcare. People feel the pressure to send their kids away for preschool even if they wouldn't need it, because everyone else does it, so there's a business opportunity for schools...?

My kid started at first grade, and I have to say I am jealous of the other moms, for the wise advice they have received from the teachers along the way, and for having likeminded community around them earlier.

My kid went to pre school and kindergarten elsewhere, and as a super social person, he would have felt suffocated at home with me, or driven me crazy with playdate needs.

Those would be my reasons to advice you to take her to kindergarten. But if you feel that you have it all under control at home, and she doesn't grave the social aspect school gives you, then don't. I myself went to school at 7. Neighbors and siblings were plenty till then.

post #7 of 8

i spoke to a first grade teacher at the last open house my Waldorf School had and she said I should keep DD home as long as I can and then enter her into first grade once she turns 6. Another option she mentioned is putting her in kindergarten the semester before to enjoy playing with other children her age. So overall, the answer to your question is yes, keeping her home is the best option.

post #8 of 8

I am a first grade teacher in a Waldorf- Inspired school. I agree that home is best esp for a family that has a good rhythm and understanding of the educational approach. For families who find it harder to maintain the rhythm or need to work, Kindergarten can be a great place for the child. :)

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