Is Waldorf too "airy fairy" for some kids? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 12:08 PM
 
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Well, we are in the 21st century now, so does any of this matter? Are we part of the way there yet? All the way? None of the way?
From my perspective as an American, I'd see we're sure going that way. In many ways here we have a cafeteria culture now. For example, children quite commonly choose religious beliefs and practices, holidays, etc different from their parents--once upon a time this was largely unthinkable. Anyway, I think it's an aspect of modernity.

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In 500 or 1000 or 1500 years, when this universal world culture will have appeared and dominated...will Waldorf still have multi-cultural stories to tell or will it all be about the faeries and gnomes and witches?
??? I don't think he said that there would be a 'dominant world culture'. I think what he was talking about was an individual self-identity that wasn't predominantly defined by one's inherited cultural identity. In some respects it's familiar to Abraham Maslow's idea that self-actualized people transcend imposed cultural confines. Maslow and Steiner would arrive there completely differently, but they were both products of a time where culture wasn't just a tradition but a suit that very strictly defined who we are and how we think.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is a serious question. Are you asking if Waldorf intends to continue teaching fairy tales 1500 years from now? I'd be surprised if they have some kind of master plan that goes out that far .

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Is there a description of this universal world culture to be found anywhere? I figure there must be, if Waldorf teachers are to have a hand in helping it to come about. There must be a plan. Then again, I'm not interested in reading 30 books and 6000 lectures (haha, or whatever the numbers are).
"There must be a plan?" Again, there isn't any given defined 'universal world culture'. That's a misinterpretation of the passage. The new culture described in the quote (from Kane, btw, not Steiner) is a 'culture of free human beings', which describes an inner-guided self rather than culture programmed self.

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#92 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 12:54 PM
 
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You mean an ENIAC? No, he didn't have a four ton personal computer. Bill Gates didn't have a computer because there were none available when he was young.
The point still stands then?

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He was a pioneer in the field of computers. And when the first Personal Computers came out, you bet he was right there in all the geek clubs. He dropped out of college to form Microsoft. Bill Gates supplied the first accepted software for personal computers. That's why, in the early days, it was called MSDOS (Microsoft DOS).
Bill Gates first began working with computers at age 15. A friend taught him to write programs in a very short period of time. He certainly wasn't held back not having a computer in kindergarten. I haven't heard of any Waldorf high schools that have a problem with computer use in high school. Maybe there are, but I haven't heard of it before.


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Bill Gates, BTW, grew up in an environment where he was challenged by his grandmother to be competitive (with siblings as I recall) in everything he did. The competitiveness he learned as a young child is what brought him to where he is today.
He's quite a competitor, that's true. Ruthless. So much so his company was charged with violating anti-trust laws in federal court. The uber-geek, as he's nicknamed, is so competitive it drives him crazy to have any competition in the entire world. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to hear if Gates had a master plan that goes 1500 years into the future :LOL


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#93 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 01:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LindaCl
The point still stands then?
Well, he was attending college by age 16. But what made Bill Gates a success is not is ability to use computers but his business sense. Bill Gates is not known for programming or computer use - he didn't write MSDOS, he just knew how to cut a deal.

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Bill Gates first began working with computers at age 15. A friend taught him to write programs in a very short period of time. He certainly wasn't held back not having a computer in kindergarten. I haven't heard of any Waldorf high schools that have a problem with computer use in high school. Maybe there are, but I haven't heard of it before.
His ability to use computers is not in question here - He didn't make his fortune by using computers. He made his fortune by surrounding himself with people who knew how to use computers.

And my local Waldorf school still does not have a computer lab or computers available for use by students - even in the high school. The local public elementary school has computers for the students. I'm sorry you don't think that puts Waldorf kids at a huge disadvantage in a technological society.

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He's quite a competitor, that's true. Ruthless. So much so his company was charged with violating anti-trust laws in federal court. The uber-geek, as he's nicknamed, is so competitive it drives him crazy to have any competition in the entire world.
I'm sorry, but I don't find this all that offensive. He is pretty focused - focused enough to buy stock in the companies of his competitors. Like I said, he's got great business sense.
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In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to hear he did have a master plan that goes 1500 years into the future :LOL
I think you're confusing him with Steiner...

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#94 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LindaCl
Beth, are you a Waldorf teacher?
No, I work in a public school. But in all forms of education, theory drives practice. Even in other professions this is true. To say the school is based on Steiner's philosophy but doesn't include anthro, makes no sense to me.

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Beth

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#95 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
The underlying theory of public schools is partly why I rejected them.
Rhonwyn,
I agree! Believe it or not, the MAJORITY of the teachers at my school AND my principal agree. The problem with public schools is that we test from a different paradigm than we teach. Standardized testing SUCKS and a good school like mine really could do without them. Its just when you go to a REALLY CRUMMY school with uninvolved teachers and parents. I've seen 1st grade teachers READING THE PAPER while their kids sit there. The testing is for those folks I'm fairly sure.

There are so many problems with the "system" I can't even begin to count them. Special Education is a whole other animal.

Why do you think I even bothered to look into Waldorf? This is what galls me though. Is that when I really dug what i learned SHOCKED ME compared to what is publicly portrayed. Everyone one of my liberal crunchy friends in Austin says "Don't you wish you lived here still so you could put your kids in Waldorf?" and when I ask them what they know about Waldorf, its the same thing over and over. Wholistic education encouraging imagination and a big influence from the arts. The REAL waldorf is SO much more than that. Things that are major dealbreakers for me, and I feel should be very transparent to the public so they can make an informed choice for their child.

My husband and I both work in public schools. Our feelings so far are that we will research schools in the area, but will likely put our child in a "good public school" (not based on test scores, but on an overall view of the school). We cannot afford private school without taking on a more 9-5 clinical position. As it stands now, we get off work at 3:30 and have summers off. This means we can supplement our children's learning with "family field trips" etc. At this point, we value spending more time with our kids than working more and sending them to a private school.

People should really remember that most of what happens with education is actually not at school but in the home. I feel confident that our children will have enriched education in their lives because it is a value in our home. I think children can be successful anywhere with the right support.

I have not ruled out home schooling, but I would spend some serious time evaluating that before going that route. It would depend on my individual child's needs coupled with the schools in the area being dismal places of learning. I think people jump into homeschooling sometimes without the necessary discipline to do it properly. I've seen many a child for intervention because of this.

Regardless of what you think of public school, certified teachers have a lot of tricks up their sleeve to help kids learn. You should see the fabulous songs and activities I see walking our halls. They spend their professional lives developing new ideas and seeing what works and doesnt work. I think people often think teaching is a no brainer.

The biggest hardship on a public school is the testing, lack of funding, and the overall decline in student ability. More and more of our students come from terrible homes without any support. This is the biggest problem that i see. It is not the educated families in our schools that have 6 kids.

So, to sum it up, I think education is a very very personal choice. I just think that Waldorf needs to be HONEST about what their curriculum is. Most people DO NOT know the real truths and the lawsuits coming out now attest to the problems with that.

Best of luck to you!
XOXO
Beth

mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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#96 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LindaCl


Teachers and administrators are telling you this? If this local Waldorf school is sued on average twice a year for dishonestly representing themselves to parents, well....."teachers and administrators" are one's guilty of committing the misrepresentation. Waldorf schools are faculty run schools.

And they're freely sharing this information with you???

It seems like a story that must have some of the key parts missing somehow.

Linda
It doesn't sound like a far fetched story to me. Pete is very connected with the waldorf community having 3 children go through their entire schooling there and having an ex who is a waldorf teacher.

If you have the "hook up," you get that information. Esp. running a list serv where people can honestly communicate about whats going on etc.

I did a bizarre temp job at the Christian Science headquarters one summer and they had a zillion lawsuits on file for children/people who died because of not seeking medical treatment (usually a divorce situation where one was christian science and one wasnt). You hardly EVER hear about that either.

Cases settled out of court are settled out of court for that reason....so that people don't find out.

I guess I am so confused by some people on this board who continue to sort of "gloss over" (for lack of a better term) some of the things mentioned here. Does your school teach children that there is a devil in machinery? Do they tell them fairies are real? Do they not teach math and science as its practiced in modern time? Do they, or don't they? If they do, and you are happy with that, thats fine. What I find very disturbing is that time and time again, parents of Waldorf children will fill out surveys saying they rate their beliefs to be "very much in line with the Waldorf curriculum" but then don't have ANY CLUE what that curriculum actually is.

I think everyone has a right to educate their children how they believe is best, but they CANNOT make that decision without a clear and transparent idea of what the schools teach. Public school gets a lot of criticism (that is well deserved at times) but one thing I can say with certainty is that the parents have access to our curriculum and what we are doing at all times. They KNOW what our objectives are, what our plan is, etc.

If I put my kid in a Waldorf school thinking it was what I did a few years ago, and how they present themselves, and they came home talking about how "God made them this way" and "there is a devil in machines" I'd be totally shocked.

To me, as a buddhist "God made them this way" is religious. But to answer about the other question of lawsuits, arguing what is religious or not religious is difficult. Also, much of any case against a school is hearsay. Its hard to document incidents in a school that is not forthcoming (which is the whole reason to sue in the first place).

I think there is a HUGE difference between teaching about folklore and other cultures, to telling those stories as if they are real. Its much more than Santa in my eyes, it sounds like EVERY aspect of the young learning at Waldorf is fantasy and that the adults actually believe that to be true as well (i.e. the fairy thing).

And I stand by my belief that technology is important in this culture. Learning to type is SUCH a huge freedom and gives so much access to the world. My husband and I just used an internet traffic map to figure out the best way to flee Hurricane Rita here in Texas. I was 10 weeks pregnant at the time, and I thought "Someday we can show our children the power of technology and how it kept our family safe." To me, having the access and skill with technology has improved our lives GREATLY. My nieces and nephews in Santa Cruz, CA do amazing amazing work on computers. They do not have computers in their room and have limited time on them (so it does not become unbalanced) but they create wonderful FLASH presentations of all the things they are interested in. My nephew loves old english, dragons, and medieval stuff and he even started writing a little game type thing on his computer. His father takes every opportunity at their private school to impart to the children about how to be safe on the internet. What information to never share online, etc. etc. To me these are VERY valuable lessons in life. At their private school, they have a class in Flash animation. They also have a class on gardening and how to make cuttings and grow herbs and make poultices. Its a well rounded curriculum. Earthy but also realistic for today's world.

Again, my brother who had hand eye coordination issues also had trouble learning in school. He is SO mechanically inclined it is amazing. He can take a computer apart and put it back together like a pro. He can walk you through computer troubleshooting over the phone when he is not even near a computer. Its an incredible skill that will take him far in life. This child was interested in how a ballpoint pen was put together when he was 3. He just "gets it" when it comes to mechanics. This is his area to shine. We all have different talents.

To discourage children from this kind of learning seems so misguided. I understand not wanting a child glued to a TV or a videogame. But no technology at all? This isnt the smurfs. We don't live on a commune and wear wooden shoes. To me, its too extreme.

Where is the harm in moderation? My frustration lies in how little choice parents actually have with education. Its public school, or a school thats just as restrictive and stifling the other way.

I'd be ALL for some of waldorf's principles if they weren't so extreme. I can see allowing a child to read when they are interested or more "ready" then teaching it at 5 (which is way too young). But to DISCOURAGE a child who is interested in dinosaurs or reading early is just plain ridiculous to me.

XOXO
Beth

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#97 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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It was necessary to delete and send to the Pen the entire section of this thread that referred to specific lawsuits, questioning about details of specific lawsuits, etc. This is inappropriate on MDC, and in addition I have let people know in the subforum guidelines sticky that:

"Threads that digress into sarcasm, “two-member only” debate, references to other boards or other discussions on other forums, or references to long standing old debates between members will simply not be hosted."

I am sorry if important information was lost in this removal.

You will all remember that there is a moratorium on critical debate right now as well.

 
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#98 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 10:34 PM
 
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You will all remember that there is a moratorium on critical debate right now as well.
Just curious, is that for this forum or MDC in general? Specific length of time or indefinite?
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#99 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 11:02 PM
 
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Just on the Waldorf subforum and just until Peggy O'Mara reviews some recent allegations. See Cynthia's sticky "Attention Please" on the top of the Waldorf subforum.

Thanks.

 
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#100 of 114 Old 10-11-2005, 11:07 PM
 
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First, thank you for not locking up this thread!!!

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Originally Posted by lauren
Just on the Waldorf subforum and just until Peggy O'Mara reviews some recent allegations. See Cynthia's sticky "Attention Please" on the top of the Waldorf subforum.

Thanks.
Are these the "allegations" contained in the locked threads, or are they allegations that have been made outside of the forum privately (I assume there may have been some as they tend to find their way onto the threads from time to time)?

Thanks!

Pete

{Edit} - I've just re-read Cynthia's statement and it seems this question was answered there. Sorry, Lauren, for the inconvenience if you are in the process of answering my question.

Pete
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#101 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 12:14 AM
 
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No problem, I was just going to refer you back to the Sticky.

 
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#102 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 09:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by bean0322
Do you happen to know why they especially don't encourage soccer or martial arts classes in particular? How are these activities any more anti-Waldorf than other sports or activities?

It has to do with awakening the lower limbs. This year in 4th grade, the kids are playing kickball now and the boys and the girls are on soccer teams in the city league. Before 4th grade, there is more concentration on upper limbs with ball throwing and writing.

I am not sure I agree with it, but I don't find it harmful and my kids aren't interested anyway. 4th grade was soon enough and it didn't hurt my kids to wait until 4th grade to kick a ball.
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#103 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 09:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky
What about children who may have different cultural histories, perhaps Asian children, Australian Aboriginals, children of Indian descent or from Africa? Do these children have the same 'germ's or 'seed's of cultural memory within them that stories of fairies, gnomes and witches are part of their folk consciousness?

I would love more information about this. Thank you in advance.

Yes, and children in other countries who go to Waldorf schools have their cultural myths incorporated into the curriculum. The European myths and culture are not the emphasis.

Our teachers have looked at the composition of the class and adjusted accordlingly. There is still a lot of European myths but as an example, many teachers in America during the 2nd grade saints and heros blocks, introduce American folk tale heros such as John Henry, Johnny Appleseed, etc. My child learned a great deal about Lewis and Clark in this section of class which has fostered a huge love for the Corp of Discovery and their journey.
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#104 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 09:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BusyMommy
Which seems just fine to me but as someone said earlier, how horrible that you're teaching your kids to be deceitful by setting up a home/school dichotomy; ie. dinosaurs and occasional movies at home...shhhh at school. Dunno, I'm just hoping our local Waldorf is much less "pure" than some of the views represented here.

Purity, though, does have some incredibly negative connotations. Is that a MCD word applied to Waldorf or is that one of their own? Honestly, just curious. I'm still leaning over the fence Waldorf.

I guess I didn't see it that way. There were school toys and there were home toys. The kids could play dinosaur at school there just weren't any plastic dinosaurs like the ones we had at home. The same went with trucks and dolls. The kids played with school toys at school and home toys while at home.

There are practical reasons for this. It is easier to keep track of school toys and it is easier to share.

The kids were allowed to bring a lovey from home if they stayed for Napcare after Kindergarten but other than that, no toys from home.
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#105 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
I guess I didn't see it that way. There were school toys and there were home toys. The kids could play dinosaur at school there just weren't any plastic dinosaurs like the ones we had at home. The same went with trucks and dolls. The kids played with school toys at school and home toys while at home.
This makes perfect sense to me. Not to mention the fact that we can't shell out $400 for a wooden kitchen, but were able to come up with $60 for a plastic one Same with the dolls, at over $100 a pop. How nice it would be to have a beautiful Waldorf environment for your kids at home, but it seems like you'd either have to be handy and make everything yourself or be rich.
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#106 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momsgotmilk4two
This makes perfect sense to me. Not to mention the fact that we can't shell out $400 for a wooden kitchen, but were able to come up with $60 for a plastic one Same with the dolls, at over $100 a pop. How nice it would be to have a beautiful Waldorf environment for your kids at home, but it seems like you'd either have to be handy and make everything yourself or be rich.
We actually did both. I made wooden castles and playhouses. The kid's mom made dolls. And then we bought just about every wooden figure imaginable (at a cost of probably $500 or more). Then there were the Brio trains, wooden blocks etc.

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#107 of 114 Old 10-12-2005, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, we do have the trains and train table. I got a little carried away with those last Christmas :LOL
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#108 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 01:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
It has to do with awakening the lower limbs. This year in 4th grade, the kids are playing kickball now and the boys and the girls are on soccer teams in the city league. Before 4th grade, there is more concentration on upper limbs with ball throwing and writing.

I am not sure I agree with it, but I don't find it harmful and my kids aren't interested anyway. 4th grade was soon enough and it didn't hurt my kids to wait until 4th grade to kick a ball.
This is interesting to me. Seems backwards from child development as I know it. Gross motor THEN fine motor....wonder why the switch??

XOXOXO
Beth

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#109 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 04:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BethSLP
This is interesting to me. Seems backwards from child development as I know it. Gross motor THEN fine motor....wonder why the switch??
It has more to do with the lower half of the body has the sex organs (like the base chakra). No reason to stimulate those areas too much in children, so better if kids don't kick a ball.

(I'm not joking about this)

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#110 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 05:44 PM
 
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Seriously? I've always believed the young children learn primarily through gross motor play and from their environment. You're saying you think fine motor comes first? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

I taught Kinder for many years and always found fine motor skills developed & were refined later for most kids.

Re: the ball issue. No way...I just can't force my brain to believe that.
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#111 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 07:11 PM
 
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BusyMommy,
Are you asking me or Rhonwyn? I agree which is why I posted gross THEN fine, not the other way around. Just checking who the "you" was.

XOXO
Beth

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Originally Posted by BusyMommy
Seriously? I've always believed the young children learn primarily through gross motor play and from their environment. You're saying you think fine motor comes first? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

I taught Kinder for many years and always found fine motor skills developed & were refined later for most kids.

Re: the ball issue. No way...I just can't force my brain to believe that.

mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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#112 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 10:40 PM
 
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Ahhhh, okay, that surprised me. I'll pick up my jaw. I guess when I read the other post, I just didn't understand the whole concept waking up the lower legs. That wouldn't be a definition of gross motor would it? Or, is it just the sexual organs idea? I have to admit, I'm still very confused about that. I can see, though, not wanting them to "look down" and run on a field as young children. I don't agree but I understand how people would feel that way. Personally, my kids climb up and up and up so not an issue for us.
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#113 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 11:07 PM
 
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I'm fascinated by all this odd stuff about lower limbs and upper limbs and on and on.

My experience in waldorf is that what is avoided is competitive sports, period. Children are encouraged to run, jump, fall down, climb, swing, jump rope, play with balls, dig holes and move, move, move. This is a nice contrast to some public schools that have eliminated recess due to lack of time. My granddaughter's school has the children outside everyday running, hiking and playing (kindergarten). I've never come across any stuff about avoiding use of the lower limbs. I've heard several explanations of the don't kick the ball stuff.

Speaking as a fairly experienced grandmother (almost 6 years, wow) I think gross and fine skills develop side by side and most children alternate learning a bit of this and then a bit of that from babyhood on. For example, learning how to hold an object strikes me as being on the fine motor skill side, and rolling over is gross motor. Stacking objects is fine, crawling is gross. Carrying objects is more on the fine side, learning how to step-up is gross. My grandkids go back and forth and have since birth. The older girl is almost 6 and is still refining her abilities in both directions, ditto the younger child at 2 1/4. It is a mixed process.

Or is everybody talking about something else and I'm missing the point?

Anyway, the kids in waldorf schools get plenty of mixed physical activity involving both upper and lower body activities, plus a variety of fine motor skills activities, including handcrafts, drawing, writing, circle activities like hand-clapping in rhythm.

Nana

PS I failed skipping in kindergarten 50 years ago, sigh
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#114 of 114 Old 10-13-2005, 11:20 PM
 
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Location: Southern California
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Originally Posted by BusyMommy
Ahhhh, okay, that surprised me. I'll pick up my jaw. I guess when I read the other post, I just didn't understand the whole concept waking up the lower legs. That wouldn't be a definition of gross motor would it? Or, is it just the sexual organs idea? I have to admit, I'm still very confused about that. I can see, though, not wanting them to "look down" and run on a field as young children. I don't agree but I understand how people would feel that way. Personally, my kids climb up and up and up so not an issue for us.
I can't understand why people would feel that way. Why can't kids just look anywhere they want to (I know you aren't suggesting they shouldn't - but Waldorf seems to prefer they look up). Just let kids be kids - without restrictions that don't make any sense. Who has raised a kid and not noticed that kids find lots of neat stuff when they are looking down? Kicking a ball? What kid doesn't want to kick a ball? They start doing it naturally before they're 2 years old. Why prevent it? Where's the logic? Because it's stimulating the sex organs? Where's the evidence of this? Forget the kids. Maybe us old folks can use it - kickball could be the new Viagara.

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