Is Waldorf too "airy fairy" for some kids? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For lack of a better term :LOL I adore some aspects of Waldorf. I think the art and the wooden toys and the pretend play are so sweet. I've seen the critics side too and some of it concerns me, but the Waldorf that I'd be considering is a public charter school, so I don't think we'd have to worry about some of that as much. Plus I know several moms from my playgroup who have thier kids there and are happy.

I did not send ds who is in K this year. His b day is in June and he had two years at a wonderful preschool before this. The Waldorf school would put him in a "first year K" class, meaning he would not be in 1st grade for 2 years. Since Waldorf K is pretty unacedemic as it is, I worried that he'd be bored. Honestly he is ready to learn to read and is interested in numbers. He asks us questions to that effect all the time and I am confident that even if I homeschooled, he'd learn to read this year, if I followed his lead.

From 1st grade on though, the Waldorf *might* be a good fit for him. I am also interested in it for my middle ds who is far less "rough and tumble" than his big brother. I don't mean rough in a bad way, just that his interests lie in being very active, dinosaurs, cars, and video games (daddy is a gamer and ds is VERY good at the games, it's such a deep interest that I'd hesitate to take it away from him, plus it is bonding with his dad). I have a friend whose son goes there who has an interest in dinosaurs and they are trying to steer him away from that? Why? I do understand that he would not be able to watch tv or play video games on school days (the school rule which we would follow if we sent them there).

So much of it appeals to me, and I think since it is a public school, the religious weirdness that you read about would be significantly less. I do like thier curiculum. He is actually very happy at his public school K so far. I should have looked into all of this sooner:

Should I even bother to look at the school now or is it too late? Should I just wait until my 3 yr old is ready to go to K? With his b day, he'd only have the one year of K and he seems far less interested in learning how to read and write than his brother was at that age so it might be a better fit for him.

Thanks in advance for any help
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#2 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 01:54 PM
 
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Its so hard to predict these things. Some of the most successful Waldorf students I've known were academically driven students whose parents switched to Waldorf to counterbalance this tendency. And I think its a misconception that Waldorf is just for airy-fairy type students.

My own son was not the airy-fairy kindergartener. The opposite, very verbal, almost adult-like conversations since he was able to talk. He was a little inventor, and designed the most unbelievably grandiose rube-goldberg type of toys, full of gears and levers and dazzling special effects. Before we enrolled, we 'visited' and talked with kindergarten teachers (two schools). When I first visited the very simple Waldorf kindergarten, I looked around the room and assumed my son would find it boring. Not so--he immediately gravitated to the basket of shells, the bright yarns, etc. When I saw the first puppet show, I thought all the children would be bored--the puppet shows are soooo low-key and subtle. Not so--every single child in the room was completely captivated, including my son. When one of the kindergarten teachers suggested fairy tales for bedtime stories, and pulled out a dense volume of Grimms Fairy Tales (original versions, no illustrations), I thought--there's no way my son would listen to this. It wasn't a kid's version, it was full of archaic expressions, about a fairy tale time which my son had never been interested in, plus it had no interesting pictures. I was wrong again--from the very first sentence, my son was all ears.

I guess that would be my advice, to watch and see how your child responds.

But I'd also be very realistic about what it is you're signing up for. It's not likely that the school is going to change itself, so if you really don't subscribe to their view of education, or other issues such as the media, ask yourself whether this is a big deal to you or not. You really need to understand where the school stands on these issues, and get a better idea of what differences are minor and which may cause real problems down the line. If you and the teachers have profound and fundamental disagreements over important issues, I don't think its a good situation if you are at odds with one another all the time.

Good luck!

Linda
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#3 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 04:23 PM
 
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Waldorf is not, by definition, "airy fairy".
It should be a fairly rigorous academic environment with a fairly rigorous artistic training.
I would be more concerned about your use of television/video, which doesn't quite fit.
Although, if you do a bit of reading about the effects of TV/video (I don't think you can find a book that supports this for children), and were in a supportive environment, things might be fine.
You may well be expected, though, to begin to curtail the TV/video.
The problem often is that you will encounter parents who are trying very hard to keep many forms of media out of their homes, and it is very difficult for these parents when their children come home wanting so desperately to have TV/video because their friend makes it sound so attractive.
It is also quite a responsibility for a child to know that he/she is privy to the "forbidden fruit".
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#4 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waldorf teacher
Waldorf is not, by definition, "airy fairy".
It should be a fairly rigorous academic environment with a fairly rigorous artistic training.
I would be more concerned about your use of television/video, which doesn't quite fit.
Although, if you do a bit of reading about the effects of TV/video (I don't think you can find a book that supports this for children), and were in a supportive environment, things might be fine.
You may well be expected, though, to begin to curtail the TV/video.
The problem often is that you will encounter parents who are trying very hard to keep many forms of media out of their homes, and it is very difficult for these parents when their children come home wanting so desperately to have TV/video because their friend makes it sound so attractive.
It is also quite a responsibility for a child to know that he/she is privy to the "forbidden fruit".
The rule at the Waldorf that we'd be looking into is that children aren't supposed to watch t.v. during the week. If we were to send him, we would follow that rule. Actually, it isn't so much the t.v. as it is the video games with him. I would have to see what the policy on that was. I would imagine that the same guidelines (only on weekends) would apply to that as well.

As far as acedemics go, I was under the impression that they weren't stressed until about second grade. The importance placed on art and music is attractive to me, and waiting until later to start stressing reading doesn't bother me so much either, I was just concerned with ds 1 since he already knows his letters and letter sounds, so what would he be doing while these lessons were taking place? Would he be bored during those times? That was my main concern.
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#5 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 05:04 PM
 
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That's admirable, that you would be willing to follow those rules.
I hope the school would hold up their end and help you understand the reasons behind the rules, and not just, "We don't do that here."
I have changed the words "TV" "Video" and "Computer" to "Screen".
This is what is meant.
I can't tell you how many times parents have said, "Well...yeah...of course she watches VIDEOS...I thought the rule was 'No TV'.
I would also be willing to bet that DS and DH could find better ways to bond than gaming.
As for the boredom factor, that would depend on the child and the teacher.
There are certainly "academics" in a Waldorf first grade, they just don't much resemble those in other schools.
For me, the picture of an apprenticeship fits Waldorf very well.
I'm sure that Verrocchio was aware that his young apprentice, Leonardo was very talented, but he was also aware of helping someone take the necessary steps to build a strong foundation; so Leonardo made brushes, mixed pigments and sharpened tools (literally and figuratively )
WT
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#6 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waldorf teacher
I would also be willing to bet that DS and DH could find better ways to bond than gaming.

WT
Dh is a very involved father. Of course they bond in other ways besides the video games. The video games are just a shared common interest, something they really like to do together. I wonder if the teachers there are going to have this condesceding attitude towards any questions too?
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#7 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 05:44 PM
 
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Momsgotmilk: I do not see how "willing to bet....better ways to bond.." is condescending.
Pete, Cant you remember how you reminded me about sarcasm just yesterday when i even wrote that 'no , that wasnt sarcasm.' ???

to the op: if you ask the questions you will find your answers at the school, isnt that right pete? --If you dont- theres your answer.
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#8 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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I have removed some posts that violated the UA.

 
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#9 of 114 Old 10-07-2005, 11:22 PM
 
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I know what you mean about following you childs lead. I think that my 5 year old son who has never been to preeschool and is adding and writing letters all on his own would do better in 1st grade waldorf. I also don't want to have to take and pick him up each day when the class is only 4 hours long. I think we will follow his lead and let him be his imaginative and inquisitive self. As far as airy fairy...I think some families that don't believe in magic and don't make believe at home the children would feel a little lost. I think waldorf does a great job of making the learning day beautiful and magical for most children in a variety of learning styles.

Kiya- Mama to 3 growing Son's. Waldorf joy.gifDoula  hug.gif  Making Recycled Woolens and Trainers every spare moment.
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#10 of 114 Old 10-08-2005, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mother culture
As far as airy fairy...I think some families that don't believe in magic and don't make believe at home the children would feel a little lost. I think waldorf does a great job of making the learning day beautiful and magical for most children in a variety of learning styles.
We don't really have any spiritual belief of any kind. We're agnostic. I think being exposed to some of that might actually be a good thing for them, especially in the way that Waldorf does it, with fairies and a spiritual component without promoting any particular belief system. I don't think my kids would feel lost, I think they'd probably jump in and we'd probably start seeing more pretend play at home. We do pretend play, but I follow their lead. I know that as a kid I pretended and had my own little world a lot more than my kids do, but it wasn't something my parents did *for* me, it was something I created for myself.
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#11 of 114 Old 10-08-2005, 04:57 PM
 
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At our school TV = video = movies = computers = video games. They all stimulate specific snyapses in the brain. These become strengthened while the disused ones die away. If the school has a policy of no TV on school days and nights before school, then I would bet that it applies to other media also. So that would leave your won with Friday night and Saturday to play video games.

I think there is often a concern that video games will take the place of being outdoors and imaginative play. If you don't feel that this is the case with your son, then it might not be a problem at your school. It also depends on the child too. If you have a child that needs to talk about video games all the time, then the other parents probably aren't going to be happy about that if they are not allowing video games at home. If on the other hand, your son can play them and not feel the need to talk about them, then it probably won't be a problem.

Whatever you decide, I would discuss your concerns with the teachers. Also, what is the cut-off for 1st grade age wise? You might be able to talk them into taking him when you feel he is ready.
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#12 of 114 Old 10-08-2005, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn

it might not be a problem at your school. It also depends on the child too. If you have a child that needs to talk about video games all the time, then the other parents probably aren't going to be happy about that if they are not allowing video games at home. If on the other hand, your son can play them and not feel the need to talk about them, then it probably won't be a problem.

Whatever you decide, I would discuss your concerns with the teachers. Also, what is the cut-off for 1st grade age wise? You might be able to talk them into taking him when you feel he is ready.
Thanks I doubt it would be a problem with him talking about the video games, he doesn't really discuss them very often.
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#13 of 114 Old 10-08-2005, 05:43 PM
 
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I'm still curious about the dinosaurs. They're not media/screen related. Why would a child be steered away from them?

Is the "no screen" rule during the week at all Waldorfs? I didn't hear about it at our open house. I agree no computers at school, but my husb. is a programmer and we'll have computers on at home all the time.
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#14 of 114 Old 10-08-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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I haven't experienced any problems with dinosaurs or trucks. My son played with them a lot at home and the Kindergarten teachers didn't have any issues with it. The Kindergarten didn't have any thing like that but the kids often used the trestles to make firetrucks, pirate ships, castles, taylor shops, etc. during inside play.

If your husband uses computers at home it isn't a problem. It is considered an adult activity especially if it is work related. It is just the kids use of the computers that is discouraged.
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#15 of 114 Old 10-08-2005, 09:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BusyMommy
I'm still curious about the dinosaurs. They're not media/screen related. Why would a child be steered away from them?
The link below is to "Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner"

http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache...ptics&hl=en#42

Pages 67 and 68 deal with Steiner's ideas about dinosaurs. I certainly don't intend to imply anything critical when I direct you here - it's for information purposes only.

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#16 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 12:44 AM
 
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Here's where I think you may run into a problem....A wonderful kid I know ran into problems in first grade at Waldorf school because he wasn't "dreamy" enough. He was a bright, observant kid who loved to play basketball and do carpentry with his dad. After lots of conferences with the school, they decided they'd rather switch him to the local Friends school than have him feel his personality was a problem.

So I think it's not just screen time that might end up an issue. I know parents at the local Waldorf school that have been counseled against having too much print material available. Physical warmth is emphasized including little ones wearing hats a lot (which is a little funny because it's *hot* here). (I got a great "funny look" from the person who manages the Waldorf school store where I shop some because I was chatting with some of the moms there and said dd2 (15 month old) had just now begun to get along with hats.)

Which is a long winded way of saying, yes, if your kid isn't "dreamy," but more "in his head" and intellectually engaged, this might be treated as a problem to solve and something to counteract rather than cooperate with by some teachers.

I do want to say that in my experience, the school near me would be up-front about this. They wouldn't be at all freaked by a straight up question, does my kid need to be airy-fairy to go here? But the Waldorf curriculum assumes that all children need the same kind of instruction at the same chronological age/stage of development (e g change of teeth = reading = stuff going on with will development), so I'd listen for answers that talk about children in general, rather than what to expect for *your* child. I think sometimes that sort of answer can sound condescending.

If you're interested in this school, I'd start asking the other parents in your playgroup about the school...what they like, what they don't like. Which teacher they like, which ones bug them....

I think that might help you figure out if it's for you and yours! Good luck with your decision.
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#17 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 12:48 AM
 
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I read the pages indicated by Pete but don't get why this translates (heh) into no dinosaur talk in the kindergarten. when my child was interested in dinosaurs in the waldorf kindy, the teacher told us that those ideas were simply "too big" for her to handle (?). It wasn't a huge obsession so it never amounted to much, but the comment was made. My sister said that similar comments were made in her child's waldorf kindy about other such "big ideas".
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#18 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 12:55 AM
 
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in terms of the tv and video issue

I simply explained to my son that we don't wear character or logo clothes to school and don't take any of our own toys to school. He understands that there are particular guidelines for school that may not be the same at home.

I was concerned about not watching tv during the week. What I've found is that my son simply isn't too interested in screen activities (tv, games, videos, etc...) after school. He interacts with the family, snacks, enjoys dinner, and plays with toys. He really enjoys playing with his legos at home now and understands that they are a home toy, not a school toy. He is much more interested in active play after a Waldorf school day. Back when he was in public preschool, he wanted to veg in front of cartoons after school.

He does like to watch the cooking show, Emeril Lagasse, with his dad in the evenings. He also cooks hands-on with his dad, in the same way they do on soup or bread day at k'garten. I haven't heard anything about Emeril from his k'garten teachers, so I assume that has not been a problem.
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#19 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend
Here's where I think you may run into a problem....A wonderful kid I know ran into problems in first grade at Waldorf school because he wasn't "dreamy" enough. He was a bright, observant kid who loved to play basketball and do carpentry with his dad. After lots of conferences with the school, they decided they'd rather switch him to the local Friends school than have him feel his personality was a problem.
This is very similar to my personal situation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend
Which is a long winded way of saying, yes, if your kid isn't "dreamy," but more "in his head" and intellectually engaged, this might be treated as a problem to solve and something to counteract rather than cooperate with by some teachers.
We allowed our child to be given "curative eurythmy" until we came to terms with the fact that our child was Just Fine by not fitting into a particular "world view of children".

My child , OTOH, made comments like "mom, I think my teacher *really* believes in gnomes" and "mom, I think my teacher doesn't really know the answers to my questions" , so it was , in general, Not A Good Fit.

As chfriend wrote as well, I think our former school would have been upfront about the answers to these questions if I had known to ask them.

One thing that we thought going in was that the curriculum was based on the child development theories of an educator/scientist; someone like Piaget. We had no idea that we should have really investigated that deeper. So one question I would ask if I had to do it all over again is where did Steiner derive his theories/curriculum pertaining to child development and education. What qualifications did he have that lead us to believe that his theories are the right ones? (I am not being critical here; I don't know the answer to this question or what answer the teacher would give - in fact, I'd be interested to hear it)

Another question that still stays with me is , since Steiner was dead before "screen time" was invented, how do they know what he would do/say about it?

HTH
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#20 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 01:17 AM
 
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Hmmmm those dinosaur pages were pretty long winded. I'm still stuck wondering how a kinder teacher would explain to a parent (me) that no dinosaur talk is allowed. Again, maybe this is just some Waldorf school interpretations?

Hmmmm
What about aliens? My son LOVES to play aliens w/his friends. I never ever considered this could be a problem. Possibly?
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#21 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 10:45 AM
 
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I can't imagine any problem specific to dinosaurs.
What I can imagine is just too much information, whether it be dinosaurs, trains, or quantum physics
I was very guilty of this with my first son's fanatical interest in trains.
The idea is that factual, intellectual learning causes a child to incarnate (or take the next step), and the hope is to be aware of when it is appropriate for steps to be taken.
This is why we feel that age 7 (around the change of teeth) is about the time to begin academics.
Children can be rushed therough the developmental stages with great haste nowadays.
Just look at out inner-city children who are, in many ways, little men and women by age 9 or 10.
To make a long story short (too late! ), we in Waldorf feel that the modern world has put childhood under attack, and we are attempting to honor and preserve it. Intellectualism is an adult gesture that we introduce mindfully.
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#22 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 12:25 PM
 
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Hi Aurora,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora88
My child , OTOH, made comments like "mom, I think my teacher *really* believes in gnomes" and "mom, I think my teacher doesn't really know the answers to my questions" , so it was , in general, Not A Good Fit.
That's why I produced the Steiner material on dinosaurs. If my child came home and said "Dad, my teacher thinks dinosaurs could breathe fire" or "Dad, my teacher thinks people and dinosaurs lived at the same time" - I'd be at the school asking the teacher a few questions. Some kids today are better informed about dinosaurs than their teachers who have had only Steiner as a source for that information. And I think Waldorf teachers are put off by how intellectual children sound when producing the actual scientific names of dinosaurs. It creeps Waldorf teachers out - so no dinosaurs.
Quote:
Another question that still stays with me is , since Steiner was dead before "screen time" was invented, how do they know what he would do/say about it?
This, of course, is an interpretation by Waldorf teachers. It has to do with the presence of the demon of all things mechanical (and Waldorf has added electronic to this too) - Ahriman. Watching television is Ahrimanic and Steiner predicted the emergence of Ahriman in the 20th/21st century. It's really that simple.

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#23 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 12:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BusyMommy
Hmmmm
What about aliens? My son LOVES to play aliens w/his friends. I never ever considered this could be a problem. Possibly?
I don't see how this would not be a problem. I have never, ever heard of the subject of aliens being discussed by anyone including children in a Waldorf school or even Waldorf children outside of their Waldorf school (sleep-overs, camping trips, etc. - and I've been on lots). My ex, an Anthroposophist and Waldorf graduate and Waldorf teacher wouldn't even consider the possibility that they could exist.


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#24 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 12:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pete
Hi Aurora,


This, of course, is an interpretation by Waldorf teachers. It has to do with the presence of the demon of all things mechanical (and Waldorf has added electronic to this too) - Ahriman. Watching television is Ahrimanic and Steiner predicted the emergence of Ahriman in the 20th/21st century. It's really that simple.

Pete
C'mon, Pete.
When you don't know, it's not fair to make things up based on your prejudices.
The screen thing comes from 2 places:
1-The idea that child development mimics the phases of human development, and that children are not yet fully modern people (they will be in High School), and modern stuff does not suit them. It is clear, for instance, that, unless they have grown accustomed to it, children prefer traditional music played on acoustic instruments to rock and roll.
2-Steiner spoke about the gramaphone and the effect it had on the quality of music, and his comments have been applied to the current technology.

The gramaphone must have seemed like a potentially dangerous thing in the light of the possibility of it replacing live musi,c and families playing and singing together, which is, in fact, *much* less common than it once was.
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#25 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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The Steiner discussion about dinosaurs is an interesting tidbit, but I very strongly doubt it relates in any way to the question about why a teacher would suggest reducing a young child's dinosaur play. Steiner was answering a question about a paleontology lesson, not how or why young children should be discouraged from dinosaur play.

The child's fascination with dinosaurs baffles a lot of people, probably including Waldorf teachers. Dinosaurs have been dead millions of years, human beings weren't alive yet - they don't figure in the human cultural memory. I think many are skeptical that the fascination with dinosaurs is the product of some marketing scheme or something.

I don't recall the dinosaur being any kind of problem in my children's classes, but for a time they were consumed with playing robots. There are probably countless theories *where* these odd fascinations come from, but it is curious. Dinosaurs, cartoon characters, robots, aliens, lasers and cyber pets and other such take children's imaginations *away* from the world they live in. For a young child essentially still new to the world, why are cyber pets so much more fascinating than real ones? Or dead dinosaurs more fascinating than living wildlife?

I sure don't know the answer. I may be talking out of my hat here, because I really don't know why this teacher had concerns about the dinosaurs, but maybe it is like our son's teachers concern about the robots. The kids kind of got 'stuck' on them, for weeks, talking in mechanical robot style, filling their drawings with robots, stomping robot feet into dirt hills and things, so the teachers decided that the robot play had to be put away for awhile and the children were to play other things at school. Later, a similar thing happened when a new Star Wars episode was released. There were laser gun fights all over the playground (the images are so *everywhere* that children were influenced, even if they hadn't seen the movie), and the teacher made a rule they couldn't play Star Wars. Barney aside :-), dinosaurs are usually huge reptilian (we think) giants with dangerous claws and enormous sharp teeth, we imagine them roaring and squawking, and we tend to be very intrigued which ones are the terrifying predators like Godzilla. Maybe the teachers would like to see this kind of dinosaur play diminish?

I do think that if a teacher has an issue, they need to understand how to explain it.

Linda
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#26 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 02:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by waldorf teacher
C'mon, Pete.
When you don't know, it's not fair to make things up based on your prejudices.
That's not a very nice thing to say. I know what I know, sir, and it seems to be more than some Waldorf supporters would like parents to know. But to suggest that I am making up Ahriman, and that I am making up how Waldorf teachers feel about Ahrimanic influences on children is what I would call making things up. That you don't seem to know about this is puzzling. Are you fairly new to Waldorf teaching?
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The screen thing comes from 2 places:
1-The idea that child development mimics the phases of human development, and that children are not yet fully modern people (they will be in High School), and modern stuff does not suit them. It is clear, for instance, that, unless they have grown accustomed to it, children prefer traditional music played on acoustic instruments to rock and roll.
And you know this how? It's an "idea" as you have stated - not a fact by any means. And this wouldn't explain why modern things are shunned by Waldorf adults - modern science and medicine comes to mind. Shall I dig out Prokoffief's rant on how www is the equivalent of the 666 in the Bible - and how Ahriman's influence is upon us through the use of computers?
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2-Steiner spoke about the gramaphone and the effect it had on the quality of music, and his comments have been applied to the current technology.

The gramaphone must have seemed like a potentially dangerous thing in the light of the possibility of it replacing live musi,c and families playing and singing together, which is, in fact, *much* less common than it once was.
I'm not sure we would all agree with Steiner that the presence of recorded music has led to the downfall of society. Why so much fear of disclosing the religious/occult reasons behind Waldorf's ideas and methods? As a simple test, I'd be interested to see the source for the above information about Steiner and the gramaphone. Can you provide it so that we can all see if Ahriman is also part of the discussion?

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The thing I wondered with the dinosaurs, is that the teacher described what he had as a "fixation" on dinosaurs. Why is fixation on gnomes and knights and fairies good, but fixation on dinosaurs bad? And as far as marketing goes, Waldorf markets certain toys too. I've noticed a whole lot of websites out there that sell Waldorf toys. I don't have a problem with it, but they *are* promoting material "things". I didn't want to bring this up with my friend because I didn't want to put her on the spot or make her defensive, it just left me with more questions than answers.
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#28 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LindaCl
Barney aside :-), dinosaurs are usually huge reptilian (we think) giants with dangerous claws and enormous sharp teeth, we imagine them roaring and squawking, and we tend to be very intrigued which ones are the terrifying predators like Godzilla. Maybe the teachers would like to see this kind of dinosaur play diminish?
I'll bet the average 5 year old knows dinosaurs are not "usually huge reptilian giants with dangerous claws and enormous sharp teeth". Most dinosaurs were no bigger than the average dog. "Godzilla" was not like any of them BTW - despite Steiner's assertion that some breathed fire.

Accurate information about such things is so much more nourishing for children than preventing them from thinking about them.

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#29 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 03:03 PM
 
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My son was obessed with dragons. I think kids like dragons and dinosaurs and such because they are big and powerful unlike kids. They find them fascinating. My son was encouraged to play other things than dragon just as many of the girls were encouraged to expand their horizona when they became fixated on dogs.

Pete, a lot of modern research backs up the Waldorf beliefs on TV and screens not being good for young children. Personally, I don't care if the teacher believes they are protecting my children from Ahriman. I agree with them. TV, videos, movies and computers are not good for children while they are developing. When it is okay for these things to be introduced is a matter of debate. I only have to look at my own kids and see how they respond to these influences. They become bored and antsy. They are much more creative and able to keep themselves occupied when they haven't been exposed to screen media.

Also, I have to say I like the way Waldorf encourages you to see live music with your children, to play music together, to sing together. That is much more human interactiven than listening to recorded music all of the time. Also, if you aren't listening to music or the radio or the TV all the time, then there is time for silence or the songs of nature which is sadly lacking in our time.
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#30 of 114 Old 10-09-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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I'll bet the average 5 year old knows dinosaurs are not "usually huge reptilian giants with dangerous claws and enormous sharp teeth".
Maybe I'm confusing them with Calvin and Hobbs, but even in real life the T Rex seems to consistently trump its competition in children's popularity polls.

Quote:
Accurate information about such things is so much more nourishing for children that preventing them from thinking about them.
I doubt 'preventing them from thinking about them' is remotely possible. But in my own opinion, dinosaurs are a good example of the problem of teaching children with 'fixed ideas'. Our ideas about dinosaurs change constantly. There's even a lot of debate over what kind of creature T Rex really was. The "facts" we really know about dinosaurs aren't enough to captivate the imagination of the average five year old, imho. Even scientists are guilty of engaging in a lot of speculation about what they were really like. They can't even all agree if it was a predator.

I found this write-up of a book which explores our obsession with dinosaurs, the author calling it a "cultural manifestation of the collective unconscious", and seems to peg it to changing facets of 20th century American capitalism .

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...15134?v=glance

I think I'll look for it at the library.
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