Originally Posted by bean0322
I guess "academically advanced" would have been a better term -- sorry! I've always been troubled by "gifted" but didn't know of an alternative word.
My son has attended a Waldorf school for kindergarten and first grade. I've been told by his teachers that he needs to "get out of his head and into his trunk" and that he's a "thinker" (not quite sure what they mean by this). But yes, he IS a thinker and always has been. He taught himself to read at 4 years old and hasn't stopped or slowed down since. He loves to learn and seems to continually teach himself whatever he's interested in. He's already read all the books on the Waldorf 5th grade reading list -- many of them more than a few times and recently told me he was "tired of always being first in his class". I asked him what he meant by that and he said he was tired of waiting for everyone else to finish or catch up with him. He said he always finishes everything way before the rest of the class and has to sit quietly while they complete the lessons. I asked him what he does while he waits and he said "math problems in my head up to 7,200".
One of the reasons we originally picked a Waldorf school is because we liked the idea of educating the whole child and didn't want him in a school that was traditionally or heavily academic at such a young age but now I wonder if his needs are being met where he is. I don't want him bored and frustrated because I think that will kill his love of learning quicker than anything. His teacher says he remains engaged in the class but how long will that last if he isn't being challenged? Waldorf claims to educate the children by their developmental needs or when they are psychologically ready but what of the children with special needs (of any sort)?
I'm thinking he's an independent learner who might do best in a homeschool environment but I'm just not sure...he loves his teacher and classmates and all the social aspects of school yet I'm afraid if we leave him there his spirit will begin to fade or wither.
Thanks for listening and thanks to those who gave input already. Would love to hear from more people with Waldorf experience!
I'm sorry to say, what I have to say may sound negative - but my son was exactly the same - absolutely brilliant as a 3 year old with a fantastic vocabulary, math skills, creative and artistic. We were told the same thing - he's too much in his head. We delayed reading until age 6 or 7 - and in literally two weeks he was reading at 4th or 5th grade level. Now he's 17 - a senior in Waldorf. For several years he has been bored out of his mind. He absolutely refuses to do any work - at all. Test scores - 98%, Homework - 0%. He flunks many of his classes on purpose.
Many of the brighter students he grew up with are also bored. Many have turned to drugs - it has been a blessing that my son has shunned this activity so far. I am told some of the bright kids are so bored they sometimes smoke marijuana before class.
Waldorf, in my opinion, is not for gifted or academically advanced children. There is no appreciation, especially in the early years, for children who thrive on academics. People in Waldorf schools instill a feeling that academics are not desirable - and I think children pick up on this. Children who early on have learned to enjoy the wonder and intellectual stimulation of reading, math, science, history - are not content to draw watercolor blobs. They feel they are being dumbed down - and they are. There is no spiritual excuse for robbing children of these exciting activities - especially when the children desire them. There's nothing wrong with a child who chooses to be in their head. That's where education is supposed to end up anyway.
I say all this knowing full well many people will come down on me for saying it - and say that I'm generalizing, or dishonest or a bad father for bringing my kid's experiences up here, or that I simply don't understand Waldorf education well enough to get the importance of the incarnation of the child
But I can assure you, I know what I am talking about here. Waldorf is not for everyone and children who have a lively interest in academics at a young age, in my experience, don't do well in Waldorf. My opinion, of course...