Update post 111 : Waldorf pros and cons - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#61 of 111 Old 03-25-2009, 11:00 PM
 
muse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: here, now
Posts: 2,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
great post orangewallflower.

sorry if i sounded a little cranky in my past post.

dimitra, i think it's great that you're incorporating enki into your classroom and it sounds like you are approaching things from a very undogmatic way.
muse is offline  
#62 of 111 Old 03-25-2009, 11:41 PM
 
orangewallflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oops! Sorry, Muse! I was actually meaning to respond to Karne! I must have cut your quote with an intent to respond to it later. Apologies for the confusion.
orangewallflower is offline  
#63 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 01:54 AM
 
Breeder's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,932
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AliveMama View Post
In his teaching Steiner talks about how people go through each of the various races in sequential incarnations. He discusses how each race (until white) are limited in what they can do. And as they go through these incarnations they "evolve" into superior people.

Although he tries to clarify that this does not make white people better (because before they were white they were also black, yellow, brown...) he does claim that white is the ultimate end point.

Do some reading on this topic. I used to be very interested in Waldorf. I still am in some of the applications and end goals.

But, in good consciousness, I cannot send my child to anything that believes there is a fundamental difference between people based on the color of their skin. I detest racism. And I think that philosophies like Waldorf are damaging to our society.
Our Waldorf School has a ton of kids who are not white. We actually have a more diverse group both socio-economically and racially than the public schools I visited when exploring options for DS.

I think that if we dismissed everything in society that has racism in it's past we probably wouldn't have much. Cotton, farming, most industry, all have racism in their past. America's founding fathers owned slaves, racism is in the history and very foundation of America.

I am committed to rasing my children to see people as people, no matter how they look on the outside we are all the same. Thus far it's working out pretty great.

As for the reading thing. The schools just don't teach reading until age 7. My son has been able to read since he was 3 and has never had a problem at his school. His reading and writing have not been discouraged at all, although they were very early in occurance by Waldorf standards. It's more about not pushing the kid before they are ready.

PS: DS1 taught himself to read.

Breeder Mama: = wife to an amazing man + mama to J-Bear (07/02) and E-Train (06/08), nanny to Little Bird (07/10).

Breeder is offline  
#64 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 03:19 AM
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
Karne said: Labeling a child with SPD, or using a term such as 'too in their heads" because they are reading is disrespectful to the child, disrespectful to those whose lives do encompass SPD, not to mention being quite uninformed. Yet this is not the first time I have heard this astonishing sentiment.


Part of the problem I see with the comment that you are referring to is the use of a scientific term rather than a spiritual one. I think that in Waldorf terms an early reader is "astral." I would much prefer this language so that it is clear that this comes from a body of spiritual work, and not a body of scientific research or social scientific research that we assume with the term "sensory integration."
I am dipping my toe in again. I learnt a little bit about SI during my studies, and this is something I am considering studying formally.
One of the reasons is because a part of me is drawn to doing research with SI and working towards mapping in more detail the development of a childs nervous system and what benefits and hinders the development and what disruptions in 'normal' neuro development look like. And how to address those disruptions.
From talking to to a friend of mine who is completing her SI training, it would seem that the questions around SI are just abundantly numerous. And some of the things that happen in a Waldorf syllabus might well be supported with an understanding of the development of the child's nervous system. In general. Or not.....

If a young child is asking to read, I would ask myself why. However, I would only ask why as I am suspicious. Most parents/therapists would no doubt celebrate this achievement.
I would also ask myself why if a young child did not want to draw or paint, I would want to know why. Maybe that child has fine motor co-ordination problems, or sensory problems, or attention problems.... the list is endless.

I think that the assumption that reading is only a good thing at any age is what is being questioned.

I personally would go ARGH! if I was told it was an astral thing. When words like that are used, the speaker has lost my attention. That is just me though.

ETA: Rereading what I wrote, I just wanted to rephrase to say that I would not necessarily assume that a child under 7 reading is a good thing. It would raise a question in my mind. If I were a therapist looking at this child, I would do a thorough assessment of the whole child. It could well be that this child is happy, healthy and doing just fine - but I might also find other areas for concern.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#65 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 07:33 AM
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am not sure how many mothers in the Waldorf forum are familiar with Jane M. Healy. Her book Your Childs Growing Mind . It is currant and she describes very clearly why early reading is not a good idea, in general. She is looking at what reading readiness is and how to foster a healthy relationship with reading - it is quite marvelous how much comes together when a child reads sponatenously. She likens reading to a garden that requires preparation. If you give your child the key to reading before they know what to do with it, the 'garden' is not ready and reading looses it's meaning.

I know my DH was very proud of being taught to read at 5 and felt special that he could read and his classmates couldn't. It did set the tone for him being bored in class - something that I think lasted throughout his formal schooling. He does love to read though

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#66 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 09:19 AM
 
dancingmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 720
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
All this talk about early reading is driving me crazy. I have a neice in a Waldorf school who struggled and struggled with reading for years, with the Waldorf teachers just minimizing it, telling her and her parents that it will come when it's ready. She started to feel "stupid" and had a horrible relationship with reading. Finally, in 4th grade, she was diagnosed (by an outside specialist) with dyslexia. She was treated with eye exercises and such, and now she's reading wonderfully. The Waldorf people had all kinds of reasoning for her late reading, and no solutions, and in fact poo-poohed their "outside" diagnosis.

My daughter, who attends a public "open" magnet school, started learning to read around 5. This was TOTALLY NATURAL for her. NOBODY was forcing anything. She was spontaneously interested and motivated. Now at 6.5 she's reading for pleasure, and she loves it. She will curl up with a book in a corner for 10 or 15 minutes of quiet time, and she likes to tell me about the things she is reading. She ALSO does handwork, tons of imaginative play, etc etc.

One of my big issues with Waldorf is that they make these sweeping statements and generalizations that do NOT take into account that all kids meet developmental milestones at different times. Forcing a kid to do work that is too hard is a disaster. But so is forcing her to write the letter A over and over when this is absolutely not stimulating her, or meeting her at her level. It squashes curiosity and motivation.
dancingmama is offline  
#67 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 09:44 AM
 
wholewheatchick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Coast of the East Coast, FL
Posts: 1,163
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This has been so informative and interesting to me! I have/am considering becoming a Waldorf teacher someday, mostly because I have become very disenchanted with the American public school systems (I'm working on my M.Ed. and teacher certification). I'm glad I read this; it has opened my eyes to some things about Waldorf. We can't move to a place that has Waldorf teacher training, or afford it right now, but I am super-interested in doing Waldorf-inspired home schooling when DH and I get to that point.

Emily--Married to the love of my life 2008--Joyful mommy to Rachel Elizabeth 12/10
PM me about low supply; insufficient glandular tissue; posterior tongue tie; lip tie bfinfant.gif
wholewheatchick is offline  
#68 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
Marylizah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,905
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimitraDaisy View Post

There are a million different examples I can come up with. A lot of issues come up, mostly, I think, because Steiner schools seems to do every other thing different from the rest of the world these days, so these things look seriously strange. But it all boils down to the fact that a private school has the right to decide which principles to run itself by, and that if parents chose to send their child there, they are in for the whole deal. And I don't mean that school's should be inflexible -- and I know that they can be; but you can be flexible while sticking to your beliefs.
I agree that parents should understand the philosophy and agree with it (or at least feel 90 percent ok with the philosophy). But I also think Waldorf does a terrible job explaining just what their philosophy IS. I scoured the internet for explanations of Waldorf education, and honestly, most of the stuff I found was from threads in this forum. There just isn't much communication.

Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
Labeling a child with SPD, or using a term such as 'too in their heads" because they are reading is disrespectful to the child, disrespectful to those whose lives do encompass SPD, not to mention being quite uninformed. Yet this is not the first time I have heard this astonishing sentiment.
I agree and I was seriously stung when I read that remark, thinking about myself as a child. I don't believe I have an SI problem, and I don't think that "being in my head" is a flaw or a problem to be corrected. We are all different, so why try to force a child into a mold? I'm starting to see where the "cult" accusations are coming from. I'm NOT saying Waldorf is a cult, but I can see now how some people label it that way, if it's forcing children to conform to such a degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DimitraDaisy View Post
Personally I don't find it absurd that that the school gives its opinion about breastfeeding, or tries to "enforce" it. Which it doesn't -- how can you enforce it anyway? There is a difference between enforcing something and requiring it. I mean, no one forced anybody to send their child to a Steiner school. It makes sense to expect those people who chose to do so to share the school's principles to a certain extend, or at least have beliefs that are compatible with the school's.
Dimitra, would you please elaborate on the breastfeeding issue? Just what is the underlying belief? Because I feel that something so private and intimate is in no way any business of the school. Just as I would never accept a school's telling me how often to be intimate with my husband, or how many hugs my child could receive per day I just cannot fathom a school trying to tell a parent to wean a child. If I understood why weaning is so important in the Waldorf philosophy, maybe I could at least accept that they hold such an opinion. As it is, my blood pressure rises when I think about it!
Marylizah is offline  
#69 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 11:39 AM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
Labeling a child with SPD,
Which I did not do; I said "sensory integration issues", not "sensory integration disorder". I believe there is a difference. There is a child in my class with full-blown SPD (diagnosed by several professionals karne, not by me); and there are children with issues. I am not sure why you all interpreted it what I said the way you did. Perhaps I'm not as good as ema-adama thinks at speaking in plain English after all

The thing is, the way I see it, sensory integration issues are incredibly common; I know I have them, I always have had them. And I think that the average child today has them too, and that they need a little extra help to get everything working on an optimal level. (Which is what Enki does so wonderfully well, I think.) In fact I think that our whole culture has them in a way, in that it is quite imbalanced and leaning towards being 'in its head' too much. This is where I was coming from when I said what I said about early reading.

You probably disagree with this, and that is fine. But please, don't rush to assume that I am diagnosing children out of laziness or ignorance. Despite being a Waldorf teacher, I am not stupid.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#70 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 11:54 AM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse View Post
But waldorf does not exist without anthroposophy. Enki is NOT founded on anthroposophy. And yes there IS something inherent in waldorf philosophy that makes it euro-centric (ask Beth Sutton about that), from the curriculum itself to the belief system underlying it.
I know that Enki is not founded on anthroposophy. And I know that Beth feels this way about Waldorf philosophy. As I already said above, I don't agree. My experience is different.

And even your opening statement, that "Waldorf does not exist without anthroposophy", this seems to be accepted as a fact on the Enki lists, and on here, but I do wonder why; as far as I am concerned this is open to debate. It wouldn't have come into existence without anthroposophy, obviously, this is a simple fact. But what the relationship between them is now, and whether it can, or should change, and what it can or should become -- all these things are under consideration. Or they should be, anyway.

Personally I think Waldorf needs to move away from all that stagnant tradition, or it will die a painful death. You could even say that it has to move away from Anthroposophy. But then what is anthroposophy? Is it "what Steiner said"? Is is "the wisdom of the human being" as he intended it to be? Is it something in between?

We can discuss these things if you want, although I don't think this thread is the right place.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#71 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 12:15 PM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
Part of the problem I see with the comment that you are referring to is the use of a scientific term rather than a spiritual one. I think that in Waldorf terms an early reader is "astral." I would much prefer this language so that it is clear that this comes from a body of spiritual work, and not a body of scientific research or social scientific research that we assume with the term "sensory integration."
But, but, but... I wasn't coming to this from a Waldorf perspective. Most definitely not a spiritual perspective! I haven't even heard of the term "astral" applied to an early reader, and frankly, it sounds like nonsense to me! (I can kind of see where it's coming from, I do have some understanding of what 'astral' generally means; but it still sounds like nonsense.) So for this reasons, I'd never use such language.

I was coming from my understand of sensory integration, which largely comes from non-Waldorf sources: the HANDLE institute, the Enki guides, the aforementioned "Sensory integration and the child", other books and articles on the topic, my work with a child with SID, my work with the child's OT, years of living with my husband who has Aspergers and SI issues, my own experience of having them... Not exactly a scientific body of knowledge, but definitely not a spiritual perspective.

I can see how the spiritual Waldorf perspective fits into all this, mind you, but to be honest I am very uncomfortable with the way Waldorf inserts ideas about the spiritual everywhere, even when it doesn't understand what it is talking about. I have heard very many people use karma, for example, as a cheap excuse or an easy explanation for everything under the sun. Total nonsense, and awfully annoying, potentially harmful nonsense too.

It's not that I never think of things from a spiritual perspective, I often do, but I strive to only do it when I have an inner sense, and understanding of what I'm talking about. Frankly, very often people don't. They talk about what Steiner thought, saw, understood and experienced; not what they think, see, understand and experience. It drives me crazy.

Quote:
I don't think that Waldorf educators (least of all Dimitra!) are intentionally misleading us when they use mainstream terms...
I don't think I was misleading anyone, because I was using "mainstream" terms to talk about a fairly "mainstream" thing. As I said, my ideas about early reading have little to do with Waldorf, and a lot to do with coming from another culture, and studying SI.

By the way, I haven't forgotten your question about what parents should be told... I'm just thinking about it.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#72 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 12:41 PM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
If a young child is asking to read, I would ask myself why. However, I would only ask why as I am suspicious. Most parents/therapists would no doubt celebrate this achievement.
I would also ask myself why if a young child did not want to draw or paint, I would want to know why. Maybe that child has fine motor co-ordination problems, or sensory problems, or attention problems.... the list is endless.

I think that the assumption that reading is only a good thing at any age is what is being questioned.
Thank you. This is exactly what I meant. You probably explained it better than I could have done.


Quote:
ETA: Rereading what I wrote, I just wanted to rephrase to say that I would not necessarily assume that a child under 7 reading is a good thing. It would raise a question in my mind. If I were a therapist looking at this child, I would do a thorough assessment of the whole child. It could well be that this child is happy, healthy and doing just fine - but I might also find other areas for concern.
Again, thank you. This is exactly what I meant. And this is how a Steiner teacher is supposed to work with the children in their care. They should be constantly assessing them thoroughly. Sweeping statements and generalizations do not have a place in that relationship, and I am confident I have never used any in my actual work with actual children, regardless of how I have come across on this board.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#73 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 01:01 PM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingmama View Post
All this talk about early reading is driving me crazy. I have a neice in a Waldorf school who struggled and struggled with reading for years, with the Waldorf teachers just minimizing it, telling her and her parents that it will come when it's ready. She started to feel "stupid" and had a horrible relationship with reading. Finally, in 4th grade, she was diagnosed (by an outside specialist) with dyslexia. She was treated with eye exercises and such, and now she's reading wonderfully. The Waldorf people had all kinds of reasoning for her late reading, and no solutions, and in fact poo-poohed their "outside" diagnosis.
Yes. This is a known problem. It happens. It is dreadful. It drives me crazy. I came across such a child last year. She was in Class 3 and not reading at all, not even approaching reading. This is Waldorf at its worst, Waldorf ideals half-understood or not understood at all by teachers who were looking for a religion, for a set of principles to adopt as their own, and who don't do their job (which involves thinking clearly) properly. I am furious just thinking of it.

However, this is not what Waldorf is like everywhere, and it doesn't have to be like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CT Mommy View Post
We just pulled my dd out of Waldorf pre-K.
I'm sorry it didn't work for you and your daughter. I am not a Kindergarten teacher, so I can't really comment much on all the things you talk about. I do find the three crayon rule pretty silly, though. "Controlled fun", on the other hand, is what I am aiming at for my class. It is a very good description actually. But then they're seven years old and not in Kindergarten anymore, so I don't know how relevant that is.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#74 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 01:15 PM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
And last but not least...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
I agree that parents should understand the philosophy and agree with it (or at least feel 90 percent ok with the philosophy). But I also think Waldorf does a terrible job explaining just what their philosophy IS.
Yes. That is true. It is not a philosophy that is easy to explain, it is not easily put into words, and it is not the same for everyone, but none of these should serve as excuses. There needs to be better communication, I agree.


Quote:
I agree and I was seriously stung when I read that remark, thinking about myself as a child. I don't believe I have an SI problem, and I don't think that "being in my head" is a flaw or a problem to be corrected. We are all different, so why try to force a child into a mold? I'm starting to see where the "cult" accusations are coming from. I'm NOT saying Waldorf is a cult, but I can see now how some people label it that way, if it's forcing children to conform to such a degree.
It is not about conforming, it is what ema-adama hinted at above about balanced development. I don't think the average person in the Western world is developing in a balanced way. I know I am not. Waldorf isn't about making the child fit the mould, it is about giving them an opportunity to develop in a way that is [considered by Waldorf to be] balanced and rounded.

Quote:
Dimitra, would you please elaborate on the breastfeeding issue? Just what is the underlying belief? Because I feel that something so private and intimate is in no way any business of the school.
Well, I am not a Kindergarten teacher as I said, and I haven't really given much thought to this, so please take my answer with a grain of salt. But my guess is that they think that being weaned is a step towards independence without which the child can't bond to the teacher in the way that would be desired? Please, don't grill me on this. I can't justify it or explain it. It is just a guess. It is better to just ask the teachers themselves.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#75 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 02:05 PM
 
orangewallflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Dimitra, your posts today really resonate for me. I have to say that I think you have two possibilities ahead of you: you are either going to leave Waldorf education in frustration (because it is made up of people, not just a philosophy) or you are going to become a reformer. The latter really may not be possible. What I dearly hope is that you follow your heart and fundamentally take care of *yourself* as you follow this path.
orangewallflower is offline  
#76 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 02:49 PM
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I go with Dimitra being a reformer :

If I could find a Waldorf teacher who speaks such plain English and who is prepared to think, it would be a no brainer for me when it comes to choosing a school for my children.

I think that is another problem with Waldorf, that there is a growing body of science in Child Development that supports some of the general ideas. And yet Waldorf teachers have been known to turn their noses up at the science - prefering their terminology and understanding. Like not taking SI seriously

Yet others do look to what is being found in child development use this modern understanding. It is very personal - you have good teachers and not so good teachers. Teachers who take their jobs seriously, and those who have other priorities. That is life - in any school I think.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#77 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 06:13 PM
 
pandora665's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: The cold tundra
Posts: 446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We were told by a Waldorf teacher that if parents didn't understand the philosophy, they could be taught about it as their kids went through the school. I would think that a Waldorf school would want to have people understand / support the philosophy before enrolling their children.... I guess it just struck me the wrong way.

I love the Kindergarten philosophy - I'm just trying to figure out where we want DD (2 1/2) to go to elementary school and put her in a preschool to lead into that ideology to some extent. There's all sorts of great places where we live (Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio) - it's just figuring out what will work best for her and us as a family.
pandora665 is offline  
#78 of 111 Old 03-26-2009, 07:40 PM
 
CT Mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 207
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This discussion is awesome and I wish I would have started this thread when we originally considered Waldorf education. I will say, that one very obvious "pro" to Waldorf are the committed and informed parents, as demostrated by this discussion link. Where else would such a robust and intellectual discussion take place but in a Waldorf forum??

Married to love of my life! Children 6, 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 4 months
CT Mommy is offline  
#79 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 12:06 AM
 
muse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: here, now
Posts: 2,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CT Mommy View Post
This discussion is awesome and I wish I would have started this thread when we originally considered Waldorf education. I will say, that one very obvious "pro" to Waldorf are the committed and informed parents, as demostrated by this discussion link. Where else would such a robust and intellectual discussion take place but in a Waldorf forum??
Have to just say that we have found many committed and informed parents in public school and in fact what was surprsing to us in the waldorf setting was the lack of questioning going on. There was a certain trust handed over to the teachers/school automatically. The difference in our PS is parents are involved directly in the classroom if they choose so know much more what's going on.

Back to the sensory integration/early reading discussion. If waldorf were addressing kids truly on a sensory level they would allow balls and percussion instruments...Childhood developmental specialists & therapists incorporate these things into their work, and yet waldorf outright bans them until a certain age.
muse is offline  
#80 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 12:16 AM
 
muse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: here, now
Posts: 2,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimitraDaisy View Post
1

And even your opening statement, that "Waldorf does not exist without anthroposophy", this seems to be accepted as a fact on the Enki lists, and on here, but I do wonder why; as far as I am concerned this is open to debate. It wouldn't have come into existence without anthroposophy, obviously, this is a simple fact. But what the relationship between them is now, and whether it can, or should change, and what it can or should become -- all these things are under consideration. Or they should be, anyway.
Dimitra, it sounds to me that you are coming from quite a different angle than any waldorf teacher or school I have ever encountered.

At the 3 schools we've been involved with it is most certainly NOT up for debate. In fact in our last experience, dare question the anthroposophical ideas and you are pretty much on your way out. I know a woman who dropped out of waldorf teacher training after her class was explicitly told, "do NOT tell the parents this, they are not ready to understand". When she questioned anything Steiner ever said she was told over and over again, "You will understand it when you're ready", which really translates to "don't question".
muse is offline  
#81 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 12:53 AM
 
emmaegbert's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NYC
Posts: 2,887
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
wow this is a long and involved thread!

I just want to reiterate that there is a lot of variation from school to school. For example- wow, our son's kindergarten teacher never dictates how many crayons they can use. They appear to have free access to baskets of crayons which include many colors whenever I drop off my son on coloring day. In general she seems quite relaxed about many of the Waldorf "rules" though she is very clear about TV and computer being negative for the kids (and BTW many kids are clearly exposed to children's media). And plenty of the kids are writing their names on their artwork (I can see it in their cubbies). I haven't pushed "academics" at home but haven't discouraged my son either. FTR he is highly physical and extremely coordinated- and he loves to paint, draw, sing, etc. I don't think he's too much "in his mind" though I think I have known some kids like that.

What Waldorf has offered me is the opportunity to just RELAX about my son's early "academics". If he is learning on his own, in a self-directed way, that is great. But I try not to put too much value on it- I try to treat it as one of the many things he is learning and doing. And I am perfectly fine with academics not being something they do at school. In fact, what I see of the "academics" that many other young kids are doing in pre-K and K, is that they look really boring!

I expect to move before my son is in the grades. I would seriously evaluate a grades program distinctly from the early ed. because as far as I can see, there is a lot of variation between the two.

dissertating mom to three

emmaegbert is offline  
#82 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 12:58 AM
 
orangewallflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse View Post
Dimitra, it sounds to me that you are coming from quite a different angle than any waldorf teacher or school I have ever encountered.

At the 3 schools we've been involved with it is most certainly NOT up for debate. In fact in our last experience, dare question the anthroposophical ideas and you are pretty much on your way out. I know a woman who dropped out of waldorf teacher training after her class was explicitly told, "do NOT tell the parents this, they are not ready to understand". When she questioned anything Steiner ever said she was told over and over again, "You will understand it when you're ready", which really translates to "don't question".
No, it's not up for debate at all. Steiner himself was clear that Waldorf schools are schools where the teachers are anthroposophists. Anthroposophists are the ideal teachers because they have cosmic insight into the developing human being. Of course there are teachers in Waldorf schools who do not consider themselves anthroposophists, but it is (in the U.S. at least) part of the job description to "work out of anthroposophy." It would be an outright revolution for Waldorf schools to shed anthroposophy.

Many of you probably know this joke, but: How many anthroposophists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. Steiner didn't give an indication.
orangewallflower is offline  
#83 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 09:45 AM
 
Aeress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Neat the Shores of Lake Erie
Posts: 6,506
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
interesting thread.

personally, i found the strict following of anthroposophical theory concerning, just as i would any theory.

there are many aspects of waldorf that i have adapted and i understand that some would find that appaling.

Dhjammin.gif, Me knit.gif, DD 10 REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, DD 7 cat.gif, DD 4 joy.gif

We reading.gif, homeschool.gif, cold.gif, eat.gif, sleepytime.gif not in that order

Aeress is offline  
#84 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
Marylizah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,905
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimitraDaisy View Post
It is not about conforming, it is what ema-adama hinted at above about balanced development. I don't think the average person in the Western world is developing in a balanced way. I know I am not. Waldorf isn't about making the child fit the mould, it is about giving them an opportunity to develop in a way that is [considered by Waldorf to be] balanced and rounded.



Well, I am not a Kindergarten teacher as I said, and I haven't really given much thought to this, so please take my answer with a grain of salt. But my guess is that they think that being weaned is a step towards independence without which the child can't bond to the teacher in the way that would be desired? Please, don't grill me on this. I can't justify it or explain it. It is just a guess. It is better to just ask the teachers themselves.
Dimitra, thanks so much for answering my questions. I was sort of guessing like you are about the reasoning for the no breastfeeding rule, that it somehow would prevent a full attachment/adherence to the group. If that *is* the case (anyone else know for sure??), let's just say it doesn't make me feel more comfortable with the philosophy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muse View Post
Back to the sensory integration/early reading discussion. If waldorf were addressing kids truly on a sensory level they would allow balls and percussion instruments...Childhood developmental specialists & therapists incorporate these things into their work, and yet waldorf outright bans them until a certain age.
Wait, wait, wait-- no balls? Oh, man, my baseball/soccer/basketball loving kid is NOT going to be happy about that!!! And no percussion instruments????? He got a music kit for Christmas that included cymbals, a triangle, shakers, a tambourine-- he ADORES it!

Anyone have an explanation for this? Because, really, I'm scratching my head, here.

ETA: Could someone please post a list of things that are not permitted/ strongly discouraged for the preschool set? I keep wondering what other surprises will crop up.
Marylizah is offline  
#85 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
Marylizah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,905
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
Many of you probably know this joke, but: How many anthroposophists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. Steiner didn't give an indication.
and : at the same time!
Marylizah is offline  
#86 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 11:46 AM
 
muse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: here, now
Posts: 2,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
Wait, wait, wait-- no balls? Oh, man, my baseball/soccer/basketball loving kid is NOT going to be happy about that!!! And no percussion instruments????? He got a music kit for Christmas that included cymbals, a triangle, shakers, a tambourine-- he ADORES it!
ETA: I should say there won't be any restrictions about you having these things at home, but they will not be a part of his school experience.

Yes, it's true..and still I went in KNOWING all this stuff, and me a music therapist with a son who has a drum kit in the shed. When we went on to have a horrendous experience my mum just asked me incredulously, "No balls or percussion? well, what were you THINKING?"

Ask a a waldorf teacher today about this stuff and you will probably get a range of answers but the reason behind both of these comes down to something Steiner said a zillion yrs ago. The explanations I have heard are just downright absurd and as unscientific as you can get.

All the research out there these days into music and the brain, all the evidence of how music is used throughout all cultures, and waldorf flies against it all with a very rigid order of instruments kids are allowed to play at certain ages, all to do with awakening the "correct" part of their body at the right age. Drums/percussion is frowned upon until...get this..MIDDLE SCHOOL..because it is seen as awakening the "hip area"; ie. sexuality. I was actually told that in an information evening and have heard it many times before. So, you know , all those poor toddlers and preschoolers I expose to drums in my day to day work at a children's hospital, clearly they are corrupt. All those cultures where rhythm is central to daily life from the time a baby is in the womb, well, clearly "we" know better..

The ball thing..I think here they can't touch a ball until at least 2nd grade. My poor ds! He is so happy to now be learning basketball and baseball. You can do some research into the whys around that one; just as absurd. Soemthign to do with it not being good for their souls to be lookign at the gorudn (for soccer) or to kick something that is the shape of a head.

The devastating effect I see of this being enforced is that children are being made to go against their own physical natural instincts. It is very instinctive for many children, and especially boys, to want to throw things, roll things, bounce things...when kids at the school here turned their socks into balls (it's sounding like prison, now, right?!) they lost recess and got time outs.
muse is offline  
#87 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 12:11 PM
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse View Post
Back to the sensory integration/early reading discussion. If waldorf were addressing kids truly on a sensory level they would allow balls and percussion instruments...Childhood developmental specialists & therapists incorporate these things into their work, and yet waldorf outright bans them until a certain age.
Do you have a specific example where a child was forbidden from using a ball or a percussion instrument?
That just sounds completely insane to me and not something that I ever saw in practice. The school that I am familiar with has an OT who uses regular OT equipment, balls included.
What could possibly be wrong with a percussion instrument?

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
No, it's not up for debate at all. Steiner himself was clear that Waldorf schools are schools where the teachers are anthroposophists. Anthroposophists are the ideal teachers because they have cosmic insight into the developing human being. Of course there are teachers in Waldorf schools who do not consider themselves anthroposophists, but it is (in the U.S. at least) part of the job description to "work out of anthroposophy." It would be an outright revolution for Waldorf schools to shed anthroposophy.
My head is : - but from what I know of Waldorf, working out of anthroposophy can also include working out of an understanding of child development that recognises that children are qualitatively different at age 4, 10, and 16. You do not need to use spiritual language to understand that. I have no idea how this works in the US, and I seem to remember from a previous discussion that there are different 'movements' under the Waldorf umbrella in the US, with a strong movement for reform and moving away from the euro-centric traditions.
I think this touches on the difference between people (teachers) who have made Anthroposophy a religion with it's dogmas, and people who understand the principles and apply them as they are needed. It is a world of difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
Dimitra, thanks so much for answering my questions. I was sort of guessing like you are about the reasoning for the no breastfeeding rule, that it somehow would prevent a full attachment/adherence to the group. If that *is* the case (anyone else know for sure??), let's just say it doesn't make me feel more comfortable with the philosophy.
I haven't ever thought of it that way, that it would prevent attachment to the group. I do know that older anthroposophists believe (or used to believe) that an infant needed to be weaned at 6 months as the mothers milk passes on 'forces of inheritance' and this is not desirable. Children should be free people, not bound by 'forces of inheritance'. Which I personally think is a load of cr*p. The person who wrote this obviously had little understanding of the role breastmilk plays in the development of a child's immune system or of the emotional benefits of extended breastfeeding. If I otherwise liked the school and this was an issue for them I would just ignore it. It is completely inappropriate in my mind.
Although, I have as yet not decided just how I will handle weaning my son, but at 13 months that is the furthest thing from my mind.

Quote:
Wait, wait, wait-- no balls? Oh, man, my baseball/soccer/basketball loving kid is NOT going to be happy about that!!! And no percussion instruments????? He got a music kit for Christmas that included cymbals, a triangle, shakers, a tambourine-- he ADORES it!

Anyone have an explanation for this? Because, really, I'm scratching my head, here.
I would love to hear the reason for this as it is something I am not familiar with.

Quote:
ETA: Could someone please post a list of things that are not permitted/ strongly discouraged for the preschool set? I keep wondering what other surprises will crop up.
This would be a good list to put together.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#88 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
Marylizah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,905
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse View Post
ETA: I should say there won't be any restrictions about you having these things at home, but they will not be a part of his school experience.

Yes, it's true..and still I went in KNOWING all this stuff, and me a music therapist with a son who has a drum kit in the shed. When we went on to have a horrendous experience my mum just asked me incredulously, "No balls or percussion? well, what were you THINKING?"

Ask a a waldorf teacher today about this stuff and you will probably get a range of answers but the reason behind both of these comes down to something Steiner said a zillion yrs ago. The explanations I have heard are just downright absurd and as unscientific as you can get.

All the research out there these days into music and the brain, all the evidence of how music is used throughout all cultures, and waldorf flies against it all with a very rigid order of instruments kids are allowed to play at certain ages, all to do with awakening the "correct" part of their body at the right age. Drums/percussion is frowned upon until...get this..MIDDLE SCHOOL..because it is seen as awakening the "hip area"; ie. sexuality. I was actually told that in an information evening and have heard it many times before. So, you know , all those poor toddlers and preschoolers I expose to drums in my day to day work at a children's hospital, clearly they are corrupt. All those cultures where rhythm is central to daily life from the time a baby is in the womb, well, clearly "we" know better..

The ball thing..I think here they can't touch a ball until at least 2nd grade. My poor ds! He is so happy to now be learning basketball and baseball. You can do some research into the whys around that one; just as absurd. Soemthign to do with it not being good for their souls to be lookign at the gorudn (for soccer) or to kick something that is the shape of a head.

The devastating effect I see of this being enforced is that children are being made to go against their own physical natural instincts. It is very instinctive for many children, and especially boys, to want to throw things, roll things, bounce things...when kids at the school here turned their socks into balls (it's sounding like prison, now, right?!) they lost recess and got time outs.


I'm so glad your child is out of that school. It sounds horrible.

I am also glad to hear that not everyone has heard of these two rules.....
Marylizah is offline  
#89 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 01:08 PM
 
orangewallflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes, the no balls thing until 3rd grade thing is absolutely true. Of course a school won't tell parents to not have balls at home, but you will not see them in a Waldorf kindergarten, first or second grade. This is one of those things that is difficult to notice because they don't mention it, and it is hard to notice an absence of something, but as far as I know it is nearly universal in North American schools. (Ask if you don't believe it!) I am familiar with five schools, and none of them has balls in the play yard for little kids. If schools are starting to encourage ball play for little kids, I would be interested in knowing about that.
orangewallflower is offline  
#90 of 111 Old 03-27-2009, 01:32 PM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
I have to say that I think you have two possibilities ahead of you: you are either going to leave Waldorf education in frustration (because it is made up of people, not just a philosophy) or you are going to become a reformer. The latter really may not be possible. What I dearly hope is that you follow your heart and fundamentally take care of *yourself* as you follow this path.
Thank you. I do appreciate you saying that.

I want to say though that it hasn't been all that hard to avoid these kinds of people, and I think I will be able to continue avoiding them. And there are different people. It is not all doom and gloom.

For example: we have balls at our school. We have percussion instruments. We use them. At my course, I was taught games involving both of those. And we did debate the role anthroposophy plays in Waldorf education, plenty of times. I once wrote an essay about it. Among other things, I said:

Quote:
In fact, Steiner’s ideas about teaching children about geography, history, and culture –both their own and other people’s– are a perfect example, I think, of the one thing that needs to be made clear: that all of Steiner’s guidelines and suggestions and ideas for education –inspired, incisive and brilliant as they may be, and they are– need to be ‘interpreted, not implemented’ in today’s world (as [name of tutor edited out] put it in a lecture). To disregard this would be to disregard either one of the cornerstones of Steiner’s philosophy –that for an action to be good, it needs to exist in the right relationship between the world of ideas, your self, and the world around you– (Steiner, 1964) or the fact the world has changed since the 1920s. And I don’t know which of the two would be the gravest mistake to make.
I was not told to be on my way. I was not told I would understand it when I was older. I was congratulated on thinking for myself and given a good grade.

Another tutor of mine would often lament the mindless following of tradition that happens in Steiner schools. He insisted that there is no curriculum; the teacher is the curriculum. You don't have to do the particular stories that Steiner recommended; you can chose your own based on your understanding of child development and your understanding of the particular children in your care.

There was a girl who did her end-of-year presentation on competition and sports and yes, ballgames. She went to a Dutch Steiner school for most of her life and she played lots and lots of football.

There is hope.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off