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waldorf and first teeth - what's the connection?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
hey, i've been hearing lately about the waldorf philosophy. there's something about getting your first teeth. it's supposed to indicate something. anyone have the scoop on this????? thanks!
post #2 of 23
Waldorf does not believe introducing reading until the child starts to loose teeth. There might be some nurological proof to this waiting but it does not fit the mould for many children. I have a friends who kids were born with teeth and lost them at 4 years of age (naturally) and they were not ready for any instruction. Then I have friends on the other end of the spectrum and her children have been "natural" readers at 4.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions.../t-199415.html

I think Waldorf has many good ideas but his philosophy has flaws. That link above goes into the good, the bad, and the ugly.
post #3 of 23
I don't know if there is a scientific connection, but our two children (not taught in Waldorf) both learned to read after they lost at least one tooth. Also, an older retired teacher I know who has no connection at all to Waldorf, told me that she and her colleagues in public school always waited until children lost teeth to really work on their reading. This was back in the 60's and 70's. She personally had no idea where she had learned this, but she said it always held true!
post #4 of 23
One thing that has been noted by our children's Waldorf Kindergarten teachers is that children are losing their teeth earlier. They used to expect children to lose their teeth at 7 now they have to plan for 6. They also believed that children who had no media exposure and who ate organic foods lost their teeth later than other children. They believed that it had to do with stimulation of child and that over stimulation would cause the child to mature faster. They also acknowledged that there are always exceptions to any rule and that their observations were anecdotal.
post #5 of 23
The underlying concept is that children are building their physical bodies very intensively in the first few years of life. The change of teeth can, along with several other indicators, show that the first stages of body building are finished and children are ready to move on.

Most of the waldorf schools I've heard of use the change of teeth in conjunction with other indicators to decide where kids are at. This includes commonly used tests like the ability to hop on one foot, to reach over the head with the arm and touch the ear, etc.

I'm pretty happy with the results of my daughter's "slow" waldorf education. She is 37 at this point, so I think any shortcomings would have shown up by now (giggle).

Nana
post #6 of 23
That's an interesting theory. I don't think it works for my family though, as my twins are teething their permanents right now (one has 2 already) at 5 and can't read. They have no media exposure and eat organic.

my nephew (6+) is reading, hasn't lost a tooth yet and has TONS of media exposure and never eaten organic unless it was here.

Interesting theory though...
post #7 of 23
My daughter started reading right around the same time she lost her first tooth, so I guess it works for us...

Of course, she was 3 at the time.

Dar
post #8 of 23
I have also wondered about 7 being a magical age. Ds is almost 7 and it is interesting to me how much more mature he is. Suddenly all these things I did not see as appropriate (ie: exposure to media with darker themes) seem completely reasonable. He reads all the time and gets involved with these amazing projects. His sense of humor has really sharpened and I can't even think of the last time we had a power-struggle. He just seems so much more independent and capable and socially aware.

I seem to remember Steiner had some views on 7?

fwiw- he began reading a 4 and lost his first tooth at 6. He started becomming a very gifted reader around that time, but he was also receiving more formal instruction.

Hmmm...
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
My daughter started reading right around the same time she lost her first tooth, so I guess it works for us...

Of course, she was 3 at the time.

Dar
she lost her first tooth at 3??? when did she get her first tooth? i didn't think you lost your teeth until around 6. so, my son (4.5) has been telling me he has a loose teeth. i ignored him. i thought either 1) he's saying it b/c his 6yo cousin just lost his first tooth or 2) we're not brushing enough.

Hmmm, I guess I better get in there and check.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by loftmama
she lost her first tooth at 3??? when did she get her first tooth? i didn't think you lost your teeth until around 6. so, my son (4.5) has been telling me he has a loose teeth. i ignored him. i thought either 1) he's saying it b/c his 6yo cousin just lost his first tooth or 2) we're not brushing enough.

Hmmm, I guess I better get in there and check.
Like everything else, 6 or 7, is just an average age for losing teeth. There will always be children who lose their teeth much earlier or much later (though those usually get pulled!). Reading readiness and tooth loss are not a hard and fast rule in Waldorf schools but one of many guidelines used to judge first grade readiness when reading is being taught for the first time.
post #11 of 23
I just wanted to add my 2 cents...

In Waldorf education there are many factors that we look at to see if a child is ready for 1st grade. Entering 1st grade too early may not be good for a child. Some of the highest suicide rates are of teenagers who are the youngest in their classes. (I am not saying just because someone is young they will do terrible, I am sure some flouirsh, but the rates of suicide are high).

A child certainly would not be held back from 1st grade just because of teeth.

There are forces in the body always working. In a young child these forces are building their physical body, getting ready to grow up with a strong body. It is believed that although many children could read if we instructed them to at 3 or 4, it may redirect therse forces. That is why they don't puch reading until 1st grade. But, please note that many of the activities that happen in Waldorf KG are pre-reading skills. Anyway, when the teeth begin to come out it is a sign that the forces are more able to be redirected because its hard work in forming a healthy body are done. (of course children will still grow and develop but the main physical structure is there). So, we are seeing that children are given adult ideas sooner than they used to and that children's developing forces are turning away from the body sooner........kids loose teeth sooner. But we don't want to contribute a child's developing forces turing away too soon because we pushed reading too early.

This is really quick way to explain it so I hope it makes sense.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
KristiMom - thank you for that great explanation. That's exactly what I was looking for. I'm very interested in understanding more about this theory. Is there a book or something you could direct me to? Thanks again!
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by loftmama
she lost her first tooth at 3??? when did she get her first tooth?
Rain has been early on pretty much every physical milestone for her whole life, although that one was the most unusually early, I think (it was 10 days before her 4th birthday, to be completely accurate, and she was really surprised). She got her first teeth - two in one day - either the day before or the day after she turned 4 months, I can't recall which. Early, but not really, really early... she lost her two front top teeth at 4, too, and at eleven now she's over 5'4".

Sorry to digress, back to the previosuly scheduled thread...

Dar
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Some of the highest suicide rates are of teenagers who are the youngest in their classes.
Whoa- my brother committed suicide and my mom always talked about how she should have held him back. That is so interesting. Now I am freaked-out because dd has an August B-day...
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
cloverlove - i had an august birthday and was youngest in my class. i'm still alive and kicking. i actually liked school a lot and was always in the top of my class. i did become depressed in college and remember some suicidal thoughts... hmmmm...

my son is a late july and now i'm really thinking about holding him back... more info, please.
post #16 of 23
Cloverlove:

I am so sorry about your brother, please don't be freaked out about you ds! If he is dong well in his class.....great!

loftmama: You want a book about teeth? Or are you looking for a book about Waldorf Philisophy? I could recommend several and I would be happy to help with any Waldorf clarifiations you may want.

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi KristiMom - :LOL a book about teeth? did i say that? well, what i mean is something i can hold in my hands and read about the connection between teeth and reading and maturity, etc. i'm truly fascinated by this theory and want to explore it more. i guess it's a waldorf theory? rudolph steiner? thanks!
post #18 of 23
Hi Rhonwyn... I hope I'm not bugging by asking too much... but I am new to all this. We have no media (no tv, videos, cinema or computers) and are vegan... I buy only organic insofar as it is possible... yet my dd who is only five has already lost 3 teeth! Will the Waldorf teachers look down on her for this?
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by middlearthmama
Hi Rhonwyn... I hope I'm not bugging by asking too much... but I am new to all this. We have no media (no tv, videos, cinema or computers) and are vegan... I buy only organic insofar as it is possible... yet my dd who is only five has already lost 3 teeth! Will the Waldorf teachers look down on her for this?
A good teacher shouldn't and I don't believe our K teachers would have. They would have viewed it as unusual but not necessarily bad or that you had done something to cause it. There is natural variation and extremes when children lose their teeth or when they do anything.

Another thing they brought up, was that even sheltered children are more exposed to stimulation and media than they were in the past. I mean, it is everywhere and it is impossible to totally avoid unless you live out in the country and never take your kids anywhere.

Most of the conversation I had with our teachers was just speculation and curiousity as to why it seems to them that the average age of children losing their teeth is getting younger. If you run into a Waldorf teacher or any teacher that looks down on your child for this or any other reason beyond your child's control, run don't walk in the other direction.
post #20 of 23
"If you run into a Waldorf teacher or any teacher that looks down on your child for this or any other reason beyond your child's control, run don't walk in the other direction."

I totally agree! Waldorf teachers are not taught (in the teacher training) to look down on children for the state of his teeth! So, if you run into one that does.............please, this is not Waldorf, this is a nut case.

loftmama:

A good book...........hmmmm, Steiner books are so hard to read and even harder to understand, but there are some good books about Waldorf education taht are not by Steiner. "School as a Journey" by Torin FInser is a book about his teaching for 8 years and I like it. I have seen books about Waldorf education that I actually didn't like. Oh, there is this one that is black with a green apple cut in half on the cover that I think is good......uh, I can't remember the title. I really like "The parents' Guide to Alternatives in Education" by Ronald Koetzsch. It gives a brief description of many different types of education and I like the one about Waldorf too. It is good because does not seem to be biased about any one type of school. You can read them all and see what sounds good to you. My favorite line about Waldorf is:"And you are as likely to find a television or computer in a Waldorf Kindergarten as you are to find a nuclear warhead." :

That is so true!
Ya know, I read a lot about Waldorf education but still did not really get it until I went to Waldorf teacher training. There is just so much and it is so wonderful. Its really hard to put it inot a book. Asking questions to someone who knows can go a lot further than reading a book. I think looking inot it by reading, going to schools and talking to others is the best way to go.
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