Looking for Waldorf info - pro or con - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-09-2005, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi! I have been trying to find more info about Waldorf education. Initially, the picture I was getting about Waldorf was very appealing, but I do have some concerns about the stance on inclusion of reading/language skills at a young age.

I am a writer, taught creative writing for several years, read from a very early age, etc. So, whild I don't feel an over emphais on "academics" is beneficial at an early age & I love the idea of letting children's imaginations grow naturally - the lack of reading concerns me.

Am I misinterpreting this? Can anyone point me in the dierction of some helpful books/websites? DD is only 16 mths, so we are just starting to explore schools & get an idea of what we want in a school.

Specific feedback on Waldorf or a point in the right direction would be appreciated (i.e please don't just say "it sucks" or "we love it" )

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#2 of 4 Old 08-09-2005, 02:24 PM
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My kids are older, but each started reading around 7 or 8. My oldest, when we finally turned him loose on reading, went from no reading at all to reading out of National Geographic witin two weeks (I'm not kidding about this). So I guess that's a good thing. All my kids are good readers now, but one struggles a bit with comprehension. Who knows what would have been the result if they had started earlier?

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#3 of 4 Old 08-09-2005, 05:12 PM
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More to Reading than Meets the Eye

In my experience, Waldorf is exceptionally strong in nurturing good comprehension and visualization skills in the students. While the mainstream educators are these days immersing students in written text earlier than ever, Waldorf takes a much more graduated path, emphasizing instead oral storytelling, verse, playacting, etc in the early years. I'm convinced this pays off in the long run, helping these students to develop (as I've seen in the Waldorf students I've known) their memory skills, their ability to listen so attentively, to interconnect what they read or hear to what they recognize or understand in other contexts, and to *care* about it!

This varies by school or by teacher, but like other small schools, Waldorf schools rarely have a broad spectrum of resources available, such as those in better public school districts, for diagnosing or remediating reading problems. Reading later, rather than earlier, can be a problem in Waldorf in some students who later are determined to have certain reading problems. There are various schools of thought on this, but my own opinion is that it isn't that it's *easier* to teach reading to a younger aged child, but that often it is *easier* to remediate reading problems *before* they become long reinforced bad habits or poor coping strategies in the student. In other words, it is easier to correct problems in readers early when they learn to read, not early before they turn a certain age.

In a public school, everyone is expected to learn to read together, on a timetable, and that presents problems for students who aren't helped early, problems of defeatism and feelings of inadequacy which tend contribute to further failure. This is much less of a problem in our Waldorf school, where children are given a chance to read much more at their own pace without pressure.

And in a public school, there is such an heavy emphasis on textbooks, that from very early on, children who struggle with reading are handicapped in nearly every subject. This is not a problem in Waldorf.

I hope this was of some help.

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#4 of 4 Old 08-09-2005, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Linda - thanks for the feedback & the link!
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