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Waldorf science

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to reconcile something I've read with what actually happens in Waldorf schools. My state does not have Waldorf schools, so I'm unable to make a local visit. Would you mind sharing your exp with me so that I can understand what actually goes on?

nak, typing one-handed

How does Waldorf approach science in the early years? If a 4yo, for example, asked how food is digested or how electricity turns the lights on, how would this be explained and how in depth? If the said 4yo continued to grill the teacher to get to the root cause, how would the teacher handle this? If the child asked these questions frequently, how would it be handled? Finally, in the absence of this type of questioning, how is science discussed? I had read that fairies and gnomes are sometimes used to explain natural phenomena and I was also wondering if that's been your exp. Again, I'm asking about very young children, younger than age 7.

Thank you so much!
post #2 of 9
No, abstract "scientific" explanations of things like digestion would not be explained to four year olds.

Rather than my trying to explain all this, something I don't have time to do, could you get hold of a recent issue of Renewal Magazine. The latest issue is entirely on the subject of science teaching in waldorf schools.

I will say that my daughter, who was at a waldorf school from three years old on, ended up as a water quality engineer, doing serious scientific work. Her early years of dwelling in a dreamy, imaginative atmosphere did not keep her from becoming a scientist as an adult. In fact, she likes what she got from waldorf so well that she has her daughter attending a waldorf school (5 1/2) and is running a waldorf style home day care for her little one (almost two). Just wanted to add that she is taking a break from water quality work to be a SAHM.

Cheers, I hope you are willing to see the whole picture on this!

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Deborah, for your response. I can't seem to find the science articles. I found Renewal articles on the AWSNA site, with titles like, "History, Humanity and Handwork". I looked at ordering back-issues, but didn't find what I was looking for. Maybe you are referring to a very recent issue that is not on the AWSNA site yet? Do you know if it can be ordered anywhere else?

My son (who I was referring to in my OP) is very academic in nature. But in other ways, he is so childlike and innocent. I like that about him, although many people today seem to see that as a flaw. I can relate to your value of a "dreamy imaginative" existence, because he kind of floats around like that; it's beautiful, but unfortunately does not seem very common. It seems like most kids his age are very mature and wordly and he is not; he's very innocent at heart. Anyway, so I see the value in letting that exist for a while.

Thank you again!
post #4 of 9
Yes, I think it may be the latest issue. You can ask your local waldorf school if they have any extra copies or you could order it from AWSNA: but make sure it is the right issue first.

Children are growing up very fast these days. My granddaughter, in spite of going to a waldorf school and living in a TV-free home, still wants to be grown up in a lot of ways. I shudder to think what she would be like with parents who encouraged her towards early intellectuality and precocity, instead of parents who encourage her to be a five year old child.

Good luck!
post #5 of 9
There's a book by Eugene Schwartz called "Why the Setting Sun Turns Red" that might be of help to you.

Eugene has a website at www.millennialchild.com

post #6 of 9
What an excellent site David! Thanks for posting it.
post #7 of 9
From Nature Stories to Natural Science:
A Holistic Approach to Science for Families

by Donna Simmons

This is a great book that will really help you with Waldorf Science as a homeschooler. Check out Donna's site. She has a lot of great articles pertaining to Waldorf Homeschool.
post #8 of 9
Young children really thrive on the non-scientific explanation, though this can be hard to sell to level-headed science-minded adults (I am one of the latter, but I like fairies too). They have no problem grasping science when it is presented at the right age and in the right way. I have seen this with my own daughter, now 11.

You Are Your Child's First Teacher and Natural Childhood talk about how to handle such questions, also. HTH.
post #9 of 9
There is a great website with tonnes of articles - http://www.waldorfinthehome.com, have a look and see if they have some articles that might help .
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