Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
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On the later reading in waldorf schools stuff. My experience of this, as a mother, is that it didn't cause any problems for my daughter. She learned to write in 1st grade and at the end of the year could read a little. In second grade her reading skills solidified nicely and she started reading more complex stuff. I think it was the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade that she began to read seriously. Her first book: The Lord of the Rings. Her grandmother had been reading it to her and she got tired of the slow pace and decided to see if she could read it herself.
She stayed in the waldorf school through 7th grade, spent one semester in public school, switched to home schooling for the rest of 8th and all of 9th and then went to a waldorf high school for 10th-12th. After taking a couple of years off she proceeded to support herself through college, completing an engineering degree. Her older child (almost 5) is in a waldorf nursery and loving it and the younger one (15 months) is participating in her waldorf style home day care.
My take on waldorf, having been a student (two years as a teenager), a parent (13 years) and a staff member: it can be very good, but needs to be checked out carefully from two directions. First you need to find out if the philosophy is compatible with your own and second you need to find out if the school and the teacher are up to speed. Schools and teachers vary a lot. There is a major shortage of waldorf teachers, due the huge expansion of the schools in north america over the last 30 years, so, inevitably, the quality varies a lot.
On the negative stuff that is floating around out there. I find one thing about all this hard to judge. The usual story is of a family who loves waldorf and then discovers the awful truth. My problem is that they are framing themselves as people who totally misunderstood what they were getting into and the nature of waldorf education. Now they are claiming they really understand and they want to share their new "truth." It feels to me like swinging from one extreme to another. If they misunderstood everything completely the first round, what makes them so sure that they have it all figured out this time? Isn't it possible that they are still misunderstanding, just from the opposite side? They are not actually framing themselves as careful, thoughtful or objective at any stage in the process, in my opinion.
Hope all this helps.