Originally Posted by cmlp
There are also some things that I think Waldorf is just plain wrong about. I do not believe that academic learning should be artificially delayed until the age of 7. I think a child should learn when he or she is ready, whenever that is. Many children are ready and motivated to learn to read at 4 and add and subtract at 5, and should not be impeded if they desire to learn. I also disagree with the teacher-centred nature of the Waldorf classroom. I also disagree with introducing fantasy at too young an age. I am more for showing children as much of the real world as possible and waiting until a child turns 5 or even 6 to tell them fairy tales, etc.
What do you mean by "introducing fantasy"? (i am really curious i don't mean it as a judgement)
Things are only fantasy because we hava some notion of what is possible and what is not as far as our limited views can tell us. These things (meaning the possible and impossible) differ from culture to culture, from person to person. Children come to this world ready to take everything in. They look at things as they are as a whole and they see the most wonderful about them.
We are not introducing anything to a child by telling him stories. How can people be okay with "unreal" cartoon caracters that don't even have anything moral about them and not want to introduce fairy tales to their child. Real world is different to children than it is to us. They look at plants and bugs and they see their life in them. WE look at them and we see awful insects and useless green things. (okay not really so, but almost).
Children naturally imagine things, they use their imagination if we let them. By not letting them we are hindering something natural.
Waldorf is all about the real world: nature, the plants and rocks, natural fibers and animals, seasons. Plastic, polyester, and man built concrete cities are not real world. They are what we created. Of course that is where we live now and there is nothing we can do about it. But think of the reasons why it hapenned. I think Montaigne would have lots to say on this subject.
Also if you think about why a child would want to read and subtract early it will make sense. We live in the world where money is essential (have you seen the new "visa" poster adds on bus stops? it says "life takes visa" or something like that). We are all caught up in numbers. We are all caught up in neon letters on the fronts of stores. The Mall.....we take WALKS in the Mall. Where did the forest and fields go with cows eating grass and enjoying the sun...?
Of course our children seeing that as "real" world will want to know what everything is. It does not necessarily mean that they are ready to count or read, they are ready to start learning about the world and that's the only mean.
Originally Posted by cmlp
But what really bothers me about Waldorf, apart from the foregoing, is the existence of sites like the waldorfcritics.org. I mean, let's face it, even if these people are "extremist" (and there is no reason to believe that they are, by the way - if Waldorf is as deceptive as this site says, then of course the pro-Waldorf sites are not going to be giving you the real goods) doesn't it bother you that that people are making these claims about what could be your child's school (should you choose)? Why are there no sites like this about Montessori, or Emilio Reggio or the catholic schools or evangelical christian schools or any other pedagogy, religious or otherwise? Doesn't it make you wonder??
That's my 2 cents.
This will probably sound completely crazy. But....
When an idea is mediocre, it will suit lots of people.
When an idea is more perfected, or just more thought through and closer to something universal, there will always be more opposition to it. SInce it is harder to understand. And most of all it is harder to put it to life ! To many interpretations, too many different personalities and reasons to join. Looking at history we can see that what was most ideals in theory never worked in real life. ANd not because the idea was flawed in itself, but becuase it is natural for human beings to want things for themselves, to forget to be openminded, etc..... And in Waldorf, where it seems they celebrate open mindedness you will often find close minded people. And the Geotheanum builds an underground garage, when many waldorf schools across the world are in need of funding. And the two most known assosiations/funds for waldorf schools will try to close up the school where the mentor teaches other teacher (of this poot country) cheaper than the teachers sent from the associations....
It is always like that. No matter where you turn. I have witnessed it with my own eyes. Schools that call themselves waldorf a re not necesserily waldorf. You need to know what it is and look for it.
Otherwise it's like saying that Communism is bad because it was a tyrrany. That does not make any sense. Those are two different concepts. And in reality it was a tyrrany, not communism. (this is not to say that i agree with everything in communism, even in theory)
Anyway, every parent's responsibility is to bring up their child well. Well can mean different things for different people.
And we have no way of knowing who is right and who is wrong.