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Dd is bored - Page 2

post #21 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse View Post
...I think in his school he was extremely aware of the expectations of the teachers and how he was supposed to behave, and felt boxed in by that. It also simply wasn't meeting him where he was at physically or developmentally...
Yes. I think we're dealing with this also.
post #22 of 48
I wouldn't want to send ds one more day to a place that he hated! Is homeschooling an (even temporary) option for you?
post #23 of 48
We *love* Waldorf and find it an absolutely perfect fit for our DS. But I am very aware that it isn't the best system for every child, and certainly not every family.

Not as a comment about you, but re. the parents in DS's class, I often hear that they (the moms and dads) are concerned about 'boredom'. Our ps does the same story for three weeks, I think. And they do it in that waldorf way, where it's recited, rather than read. It's a long time w/ the same story, every single day. But for us, I think it's a small part of a larger puzzle. Yes, I think DS would probably prefer a bit more variety, but I don't think this one thing is a critical. Yet I do hear a lot of parents "complaining" that their child will get bored, citing the story thing as example. And, interestingly, I hear the staff saying that their children are empathetically not getting bored. Again, this doesn't seem to apply to your situation, but I just wanted to comment since you mentioned the lack of stimulation and it's something that I'm aware of with DS's school as well.

As far as rhythm, yes, definitely a lot of "ritualized" activity. But each day has it's own focus (Sunday bake bread, Monday water color, etc. etc.) and then there is seasonal stuff added in, too. Is that the same at your DD's school? Or is every day the exact same?

I also agree with the pp's who commented on how different Waldorf is than the rest of "society" and that that makes it hard for some kids to find their place in a Waldorf environment. I see it analogous to the toys. When I first walked into DS's classroom, I thought -- hmm, very simple, too much so? I was so used to the stimulation of color and noise and figured that DS would be, too. He loved it immediately, however, and his very, very big imagination had plenty of room to soar. Ironically, when I was looking at places for DS2, I looked at a more traditional daycare and was almost dizzy at all the "stuff" -- on the walls, the floor, the table tops. It was like my eyes didn't know where to focus, and yet, just 2 years ago, that was totally the norm to me. So, absolutely, the Waldorf environment -- even with amazing staff -- may require some readjusting to, for both kids and parents.
post #24 of 48
I'm surprised nobody else mentioned this yet but you posted "we do tons of teaching at home." I would be a little curious about what that means because if you are teaching reading or other sort of academics, perhaps your child is getting mixed messages about what school is about and has therefore come to the conclusion of being bored. I know that my DS has no idea he is missing out on learning to read and so forth because we don't do anything like that at home. He just assumes this is what kindergarten is supposed to be like.

Having said that I agree with other posters that it sounds like something is wrong with the classroom in general from what you have posted but I did think the "teaching at home for intellectual stimulation" was worth at least bringing up.
post #25 of 48
Thread Starter 
We do teach reading, early math, foreign languages, so forth. Dd was already reading before we ever moved to the Waldorf district, so the cat was sort of out of that bag.

Academics are a big part of her recreation and her daily life, so I'd be loathe to try and take that away at this point.
post #26 of 48
Yeah, I can understand not wanting to take away something that she has already come to enjoy. Aside from the other bad stuff in that particular classroom, I think doing the academics at home could be a huge contributor to why she feels bored. How strange it must be for the little one to do that sort of thing at home but to only play at "school". Maybe she is also a bit confused there. Please know I'm not judging or suggesting you are doing something wrong. I can just see how it might not mesh with a waldorf classroom at that age and cause the conflicts you are describing.
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiewytch View Post
I'm surprised nobody else mentioned this yet but you posted "we do tons of teaching at home." I would be a little curious about what that means because if you are teaching reading or other sort of academics, perhaps your child is getting mixed messages about what school is about and has therefore come to the conclusion of being bored.
Actually Jimibell and I have mentioned that in a more,....how can I say "politically correct"/ no I mean "indirect" way.

blessed, your daughter might not be at all stimulated by the Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum, if she is doing so many mental challenges at home, she is bored at school. Since you are doing so much work at home anyway, have you tried homeschooling her, or maybe join a coop if you are worried about the socialization part for her?
post #28 of 48
Oh, I see now. I only browsed through the thread myself...sorry blessed for repeating what others have already said.

I will add this on to what Maggie was saying in an earlier post about going back to that stage of innocence though. DS was in the public school system for preK because he had a speech delay. Since it was public school he was naturally exposed to some academics and even spent an hour a day with the kindergarten class last year doing "writing". He loved it, don't get me wrong but I was definitely not digging the heavy emphasis on early academics and standardized testing so we knew we weren't going that route when he started kindergarten.

To try and make a long story short a little too late, haha, he is thriving in his waldorf kindergarten classroom despite being exposed early to the academic stuff. I think one of the main reasons for that though is that we have never done academics at home. My son has been reported as exceptionally bright on numerous cognitive tests despite his speech issues. He loves to learn. We have always read to him on a regular basis. If he asks a question about math or language or science I am happy to answer him in an age appropriate fashion that will satisfy him but we don't actively teach any subjects.

I guess what I'm getting at is that yes, it is possible to give a young child a waldorf education that they will enjoy, even after being exposed to academics. My son's kindergarten teacher recently noted that he is playing with some of the younger kids in the class and that maybe this is what he needs after spending several years dealing with the academic stuff. I see this year of "play" as balancing out the previous years with little play and more emphasis on the academic. So far he seems to love it. I just don't know if he would like it if I was trying to teach him other things at home though. So I think they can return to that "innocence", even an extremely bright child as I have no doubt my son is, but that may be challenging to do if you are intent on teaching at home. In fact, I would be quite surprised if the teachers would be okay with that, if they do know about it. Waldorf is all about a seamless rhythm from school to home and I know my teacher has told me at least on one occasion that if the parents are doing something different at home, chances are the waldorf environment will not work for that family.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiewytch View Post
Waldorf is all about a seamless rhythm from school to home and I know my teacher has told me at least on one occasion that if the parents are doing something different at home, chances are the waldorf environment will not work for that family.
:
Very well said, especially in the younger years!
The main reason why family life and school life are so tightly meshed in a Waldorf community, the philosophy of that school in itself requires it!
post #30 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggieinnh View Post
blessed, your daughter might not be at all stimulated by the Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum, if she is doing so many mental challenges at home, she is bored at school. Since you are doing so much work at home anyway, have you tried homeschooling her, or maybe join a coop if you are worried about the socialization part for her?
We can't homeschool due to both parents working fulltime.

It's striking to me that dd is on a playground with a bunch of kids her age, yet isn't having fun. She has many neighborhood friends with whom she happily plays for hours. I wish I had a better idea of what goes on during the day there so I could understand this. But with the parental exclusion policy, I simply have no idea. I think that is what bothers me more than anything.

This week she has seemed more at ease and she isn't talking about not going to school in the way she was previously. Maybe things are settling in.
post #31 of 48
Parental exclusion policy? Wow, that wouldn't settle well with me either. Doesn't the teacher ever ask for parents to come in and help out from time to time? I seized the opportunity when my teacher mentioned that her assistant would be out sick and volunteered to come in. It helped me immensely and put me at ease to see how the day played out. If you aren't allowed to at least come in and observe or help out the teacher one day I would pull her out immediately but that is just me.
post #32 of 48
Thread Starter 
No, parents are actually forbidden from any participation other than watching over the top of the playground privacy fence. Teacher says it affects the atmosphere too much when a parent is present.

Once I went at my lunch hour to pick up dd and I arrived at 12:15. Class ends at 12:30. I went walking in and teacher tells me I'm early, and would I mind just watching over the fence until 12:30 next time so that I don't disrupt the class?

Lady, I work for a living. This is preschool. I need to drop dd off at home, then drive 20 miles to be back in my office by 1:00. I don't have time for this nonsense. I could understand if I was regularly coming in during the middle of class. But I really don't want to sit out in the parking lot staring at my watch and waiting for the second hand to strike twelve before I walk in the room, ya know?
post #33 of 48
No kidding. DH and I share picking up our son because his office is right down the street but he takes his lunch to do it so he is on a tight schedule. I can tell you he wouldn't be happy about that either.

In all seriousness though, in spite of seeing how they don't want to disrupt the rhythm it would put up red flags for me if I couldn't at least observe the class. Do they not even let potential parents observe the class they are thinking of putting their children in? I know I've seen this happen a lot at our school. In fact, at our orientation our teacher told us that parents were welcome anytime as long as they brought busywork like knitting or ironing so the kids didn't feel like they were being stared at. Maybe you could suggest that as a last ditch effort and if they still object to you coming to watch, I would consider a different school.
post #34 of 48
O.k., let me try to re-cap here if I can (not sure if this is the right expression), I think the "parental exclusion policy" means that normally, Waldorf schools have their teachers and in Kindergarten/preschool their teachers and assistants, so they have enough staff to take care of the children in class, if the assistant is sick, that is obviously another situation.
Anyhow I think the policy is put up to avoid parents coming into the classrooms and interrupting the class rhythm, which in my opinion, if you have various parents walk in and out of classes, it does. This constant parental volunteer system seems to be at least the case in many, many public schools here in the US, as I have learned on the other board. The Waldorf school probably just wants to avoid parent volunteers for lectures during normal school days.
This practice of a different parent in class every other day would really disturb me, so much so that this would be a reason to pull my child out of school, Waldorf school or not Waldorf school!
But this is just me and I am not used to such practices and for various reasons I do not like this at all, one of them being too interruptive in the daily rhythm of the class.
I am not sure if this same policy would always apply for Kindergarten or preschool though?
post #35 of 48
I see. I've just never heard that term mentioned before in our school. I can definitely see why teachers and parents wouldn't want a different parent in the school volunteering every day but it also gives me peace of mind knowing that if I feel the need to observe the class or help out someday that the invitation is there, as long as I don't wear out my welcome so to speak. If my child was complaining about the school or the teacher, especially at such a young age, I think I would be even more inclined to want to observe what was going on. That just doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
post #36 of 48
I'm glad things have improved a bit but I think there are still issues to be addressed.

Actually it seems to me that what is really missing for you Blessed is a sense of trust in the teacher. And it seems like her attitude and behaviour are not really encouraging your trust.

Also, if you are not coming from a long history with Waldorf you may see some things as odd that others may not. I personally think that it is not entirely fair to the child to be picked up early (and it will effect the classroom and her class mates). Of course it happens sometimes but in that case you may try to arrange it ahead of time so that everyone involved knows that it is coming.

That being said, if the teacher were more professional (and compassionate) she would have most likely allowed you to pick her up and then spoken to you later about the disruption.

As far as observing the class, it is also not allowed in my dd's class and I think it is a completely reasonable request. I can see how my presence would disrupt things. But I also trust her completely so I don't really worry about what's going on.

But if you feel a lack of trust in the teacher and what is going on during the day I say you need to address it right away. Arrange a meeting and sit down with a list of concerns. Any teacher worth her weight will do this happily.

I also want to mention that there is a very large tendency in Waldorf early childhood for there to be teachers who are not very good at interacting with the parents. You might want to keep in mind that Waldorf is essentially going against the stream in our society in many, many ways. Imagine the task of these teachers to educate many of the parents and be amazing with children. Not everyone can do both.

Some other things:

I also strongly agree with pps that mention the home/school dynamic and how in your case it may be the source of her "boredom".

Another important aspect of Waldorf early childhood philosophy is the importance of not bringing a level of self-consciousness to the young child. You mention that maybe your child senses an expectation from the teacher. I think this may be due to a heightened sense of self that you might not find with children brought up in a more Waldorf environment.

I'm also a bit curious as to why you chose Waldorf. It seems to me that you are doing things that are really not common in a home influenced by Waldorf philosophy. I'm not saying this as a judgment, I'm just wondering.
post #37 of 48
oh, and I wanted to add:
just as you have a sense of "you have to work" and that your schedule is very important you may want to consider that the teacher has an equally profound sense of responsibility to ALL of her students (I'm assuming she does, hoping she does!). She should be trying to build an incredibly special and sacred environment for the children, so although you may see it as "just pre-k", she may (should) see it as vital work.
In a good K class, every word, every action, every physical thing is there with purpose. What may seem unimportant to you is precious to the teacher and (if they are allowed to enter this world of reverence with an awe of the world) to the children.
Those last 20 minutes of the class are part of the whole and if a child is forced to leave early then she will be missing something vital. I cannot stress enough that each action is vital and has deep meaning.
(of course sometimes kids have to leave early but it is not without an effect on everything and everyone)
post #38 of 48
I hope this doesn't come across as snarky or judgemental, but, if you are teaching your child early math and reading at home, then maybe Waldorf is not just a mismatch for your daughter. Perhaps it's not the right match for your family.

Waldorf Education is not right for every child, but it is also not right for every family. Please don't think I am being at all harsh becauseIhonestly am not trying to be. You mentioned what you are teaching her at home and that she enjoys Starfall which, I am not familiar with. I'm assuming its a kid's online educational website. If these are all aspects of early childhood education that you value, then maybe you should search for a different school for your daughter. Again, I am not saying that you and / or your ideas are wrong, but they don't seem congruent with Waldorf and you will have a road of frustration ahead of you if you are trying to combine the two.

Definitely there are issues with your daughter's classroom. The whole not playing with dolls thing is unbelievable to me. I think I rememberthat she was in a Montessori school before the Waldorf program. I know Montessori schools can vary, of course, but they seem much more academically inclined - at least at this age- than Waldorf does. I'm sorry you had to leave an environment that worked so well for your family. How sad that must be!

It is so hard to find the right environment for our little ones!! We so want to find something that cherishes who they are and nutures their little souls and respects their individuality. I can empathize with your frustration.

Here is my suggestion. Well, first I would deal with concerns you have regarding the teacher and her behaviour in the classroom, as several others have suggested.

However, I think that if you really want to see if Waldorf can work for your daughter and your family, then you need to incorporate as much of Waldorf as you can at home. I am not suggesting that you trash all your daughter's toys and use part of her college fund to redecorate her room and play areas. =) =) Though a Waldorf Doll would be a lovely thing, if she is into dolls at all. It would give her a familiarity between school and home and could be a toy she could take to school with her.

At any rate, I would limit media exposure at home and try to encorporate Waldorf early childhood activities on the weekends - bread baking, dish washing, nature walks. . .

I would also limit, if not eliminate her time on the computer and the academic teaching you are doing at home. I say this not because I think you are in the wrong, but I think that if you expect your daughter to give Waldorf a chance at school, then you need to give it a chance at home.

Just like with Montessori and parents having the manipulatives and such at home, your home needs to contain some Waldorf elements. Waldorf, more than just an educational philosophy, is a life style choice. Maybe your daughter is reacting to the disconnect.

There is an awesome book I think you should pick up. It's an easy read and so so valuable a resource to a Waldorf parent!!

Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash

Forgive me if you already know quite a bit about Waldorf!! I wasn't trying to talk down to you at all and I hope it didn't sound like I was- just trying to offer a bit of observation and input and some hugs as you try to get this all worked out!
post #39 of 48
Thread Starter 
I guess I feel that there is a sense of awe and reverence to picking up my child at the end of the day. And to just being a part of her life and her education. It bothers me that parents aren't included in any part of the 'specialness' of the schoolday.

We sort of had this discussion with the school before we signed up. I'm busy and my schedule can be unpredictable. If I get a hole in my schedule such that I can spend the morning with dd - or pick her up at lunch, for that matter - I'm always going to take it. That means that I would be bringing her in later that morning and she would miss some morning activities, or that I might need to pick her up 15 minutes early so that I can make it back to the office.

I appreciate the teacher wanting and needing to have construct to her classroom. But I feel that the overriding consideration - and that which is best for my child - is to protect and honor her time with her parents and her family. Especially at age three.

We didn't choose Waldorf for it's philosophy per se, but more because we have limited educational options in this vicinity and this seemed most compatible with our AP approaches to parenting. I think that's probably true of most of the parents in the community who use this Waldorf, and the school recognizes that. Consequently their program is somewhat attenuated. If they were strict in their expectations for the children's home lives, they'd lose a lot of parents and not be able to keep their doors open. I'm sure that must be a point of frustration for teachers who would like to follow conservative Waldorf methods more closely.
post #40 of 48
Yeah, that's tough. 3 seems really young for full time kindergarten to me but I suppose due to your work schedule that is non negotiable. It sounds like she might fare better with the parent toddler playgroup instead but then you would be dealing with child care issues.

I really don't want to judge either but wow, teaching all of those academics at 3 is awfully surprising to me as well. I guess I assumed we were talking about a four or five year old.

All in all, knowing now how little your DD is in combination with the academics I can see where she is perhaps not enjoying it. That is why the parent toddler playgroup is designed to help gently transition little ones into the full day of kindergarten.

I know this may be a long shot but are there any other child care options for you which would enable you to put her in the playgroup instead of kindergarten? I totally understand if this is impossible since many parents are dealing with this dilemma but just thought I would ask.
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