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Old 10-09-2007, 06:21 PM
 
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Parental exclusion policy? Wow, that wouldn't settle well with me either. Doesn't the teacher ever ask for parents to come in and help out from time to time? I seized the opportunity when my teacher mentioned that her assistant would be out sick and volunteered to come in. It helped me immensely and put me at ease to see how the day played out. If you aren't allowed to at least come in and observe or help out the teacher one day I would pull her out immediately but that is just me.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, parents are actually forbidden from any participation other than watching over the top of the playground privacy fence. Teacher says it affects the atmosphere too much when a parent is present.

Once I went at my lunch hour to pick up dd and I arrived at 12:15. Class ends at 12:30. I went walking in and teacher tells me I'm early, and would I mind just watching over the fence until 12:30 next time so that I don't disrupt the class?

Lady, I work for a living. This is preschool. I need to drop dd off at home, then drive 20 miles to be back in my office by 1:00. I don't have time for this nonsense. I could understand if I was regularly coming in during the middle of class. But I really don't want to sit out in the parking lot staring at my watch and waiting for the second hand to strike twelve before I walk in the room, ya know?
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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No kidding. DH and I share picking up our son because his office is right down the street but he takes his lunch to do it so he is on a tight schedule. I can tell you he wouldn't be happy about that either.

In all seriousness though, in spite of seeing how they don't want to disrupt the rhythm it would put up red flags for me if I couldn't at least observe the class. Do they not even let potential parents observe the class they are thinking of putting their children in? I know I've seen this happen a lot at our school. In fact, at our orientation our teacher told us that parents were welcome anytime as long as they brought busywork like knitting or ironing so the kids didn't feel like they were being stared at. Maybe you could suggest that as a last ditch effort and if they still object to you coming to watch, I would consider a different school.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:48 PM
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O.k., let me try to re-cap here if I can (not sure if this is the right expression), I think the "parental exclusion policy" means that normally, Waldorf schools have their teachers and in Kindergarten/preschool their teachers and assistants, so they have enough staff to take care of the children in class, if the assistant is sick, that is obviously another situation.
Anyhow I think the policy is put up to avoid parents coming into the classrooms and interrupting the class rhythm, which in my opinion, if you have various parents walk in and out of classes, it does. This constant parental volunteer system seems to be at least the case in many, many public schools here in the US, as I have learned on the other board. The Waldorf school probably just wants to avoid parent volunteers for lectures during normal school days.
This practice of a different parent in class every other day would really disturb me, so much so that this would be a reason to pull my child out of school, Waldorf school or not Waldorf school!
But this is just me and I am not used to such practices and for various reasons I do not like this at all, one of them being too interruptive in the daily rhythm of the class.
I am not sure if this same policy would always apply for Kindergarten or preschool though?
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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I see. I've just never heard that term mentioned before in our school. I can definitely see why teachers and parents wouldn't want a different parent in the school volunteering every day but it also gives me peace of mind knowing that if I feel the need to observe the class or help out someday that the invitation is there, as long as I don't wear out my welcome so to speak. If my child was complaining about the school or the teacher, especially at such a young age, I think I would be even more inclined to want to observe what was going on. That just doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:03 PM
 
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I'm glad things have improved a bit but I think there are still issues to be addressed.

Actually it seems to me that what is really missing for you Blessed is a sense of trust in the teacher. And it seems like her attitude and behaviour are not really encouraging your trust.

Also, if you are not coming from a long history with Waldorf you may see some things as odd that others may not. I personally think that it is not entirely fair to the child to be picked up early (and it will effect the classroom and her class mates). Of course it happens sometimes but in that case you may try to arrange it ahead of time so that everyone involved knows that it is coming.

That being said, if the teacher were more professional (and compassionate) she would have most likely allowed you to pick her up and then spoken to you later about the disruption.

As far as observing the class, it is also not allowed in my dd's class and I think it is a completely reasonable request. I can see how my presence would disrupt things. But I also trust her completely so I don't really worry about what's going on.

But if you feel a lack of trust in the teacher and what is going on during the day I say you need to address it right away. Arrange a meeting and sit down with a list of concerns. Any teacher worth her weight will do this happily.

I also want to mention that there is a very large tendency in Waldorf early childhood for there to be teachers who are not very good at interacting with the parents. You might want to keep in mind that Waldorf is essentially going against the stream in our society in many, many ways. Imagine the task of these teachers to educate many of the parents and be amazing with children. Not everyone can do both.

Some other things:

I also strongly agree with pps that mention the home/school dynamic and how in your case it may be the source of her "boredom".

Another important aspect of Waldorf early childhood philosophy is the importance of not bringing a level of self-consciousness to the young child. You mention that maybe your child senses an expectation from the teacher. I think this may be due to a heightened sense of self that you might not find with children brought up in a more Waldorf environment.

I'm also a bit curious as to why you chose Waldorf. It seems to me that you are doing things that are really not common in a home influenced by Waldorf philosophy. I'm not saying this as a judgment, I'm just wondering.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:11 PM
 
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oh, and I wanted to add:
just as you have a sense of "you have to work" and that your schedule is very important you may want to consider that the teacher has an equally profound sense of responsibility to ALL of her students (I'm assuming she does, hoping she does!). She should be trying to build an incredibly special and sacred environment for the children, so although you may see it as "just pre-k", she may (should) see it as vital work.
In a good K class, every word, every action, every physical thing is there with purpose. What may seem unimportant to you is precious to the teacher and (if they are allowed to enter this world of reverence with an awe of the world) to the children.
Those last 20 minutes of the class are part of the whole and if a child is forced to leave early then she will be missing something vital. I cannot stress enough that each action is vital and has deep meaning.
(of course sometimes kids have to leave early but it is not without an effect on everything and everyone)
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:19 AM
 
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I hope this doesn't come across as snarky or judgemental, but, if you are teaching your child early math and reading at home, then maybe Waldorf is not just a mismatch for your daughter. Perhaps it's not the right match for your family.

Waldorf Education is not right for every child, but it is also not right for every family. Please don't think I am being at all harsh becauseIhonestly am not trying to be. You mentioned what you are teaching her at home and that she enjoys Starfall which, I am not familiar with. I'm assuming its a kid's online educational website. If these are all aspects of early childhood education that you value, then maybe you should search for a different school for your daughter. Again, I am not saying that you and / or your ideas are wrong, but they don't seem congruent with Waldorf and you will have a road of frustration ahead of you if you are trying to combine the two.

Definitely there are issues with your daughter's classroom. The whole not playing with dolls thing is unbelievable to me. I think I rememberthat she was in a Montessori school before the Waldorf program. I know Montessori schools can vary, of course, but they seem much more academically inclined - at least at this age- than Waldorf does. I'm sorry you had to leave an environment that worked so well for your family. How sad that must be!

It is so hard to find the right environment for our little ones!! We so want to find something that cherishes who they are and nutures their little souls and respects their individuality. I can empathize with your frustration.

Here is my suggestion. Well, first I would deal with concerns you have regarding the teacher and her behaviour in the classroom, as several others have suggested.

However, I think that if you really want to see if Waldorf can work for your daughter and your family, then you need to incorporate as much of Waldorf as you can at home. I am not suggesting that you trash all your daughter's toys and use part of her college fund to redecorate her room and play areas. =) =) Though a Waldorf Doll would be a lovely thing, if she is into dolls at all. It would give her a familiarity between school and home and could be a toy she could take to school with her.

At any rate, I would limit media exposure at home and try to encorporate Waldorf early childhood activities on the weekends - bread baking, dish washing, nature walks. . .

I would also limit, if not eliminate her time on the computer and the academic teaching you are doing at home. I say this not because I think you are in the wrong, but I think that if you expect your daughter to give Waldorf a chance at school, then you need to give it a chance at home.

Just like with Montessori and parents having the manipulatives and such at home, your home needs to contain some Waldorf elements. Waldorf, more than just an educational philosophy, is a life style choice. Maybe your daughter is reacting to the disconnect.

There is an awesome book I think you should pick up. It's an easy read and so so valuable a resource to a Waldorf parent!!

Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash

Forgive me if you already know quite a bit about Waldorf!! I wasn't trying to talk down to you at all and I hope it didn't sound like I was- just trying to offer a bit of observation and input and some hugs as you try to get this all worked out!
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I feel that there is a sense of awe and reverence to picking up my child at the end of the day. And to just being a part of her life and her education. It bothers me that parents aren't included in any part of the 'specialness' of the schoolday.

We sort of had this discussion with the school before we signed up. I'm busy and my schedule can be unpredictable. If I get a hole in my schedule such that I can spend the morning with dd - or pick her up at lunch, for that matter - I'm always going to take it. That means that I would be bringing her in later that morning and she would miss some morning activities, or that I might need to pick her up 15 minutes early so that I can make it back to the office.

I appreciate the teacher wanting and needing to have construct to her classroom. But I feel that the overriding consideration - and that which is best for my child - is to protect and honor her time with her parents and her family. Especially at age three.

We didn't choose Waldorf for it's philosophy per se, but more because we have limited educational options in this vicinity and this seemed most compatible with our AP approaches to parenting. I think that's probably true of most of the parents in the community who use this Waldorf, and the school recognizes that. Consequently their program is somewhat attenuated. If they were strict in their expectations for the children's home lives, they'd lose a lot of parents and not be able to keep their doors open. I'm sure that must be a point of frustration for teachers who would like to follow conservative Waldorf methods more closely.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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Yeah, that's tough. 3 seems really young for full time kindergarten to me but I suppose due to your work schedule that is non negotiable. It sounds like she might fare better with the parent toddler playgroup instead but then you would be dealing with child care issues.

I really don't want to judge either but wow, teaching all of those academics at 3 is awfully surprising to me as well. I guess I assumed we were talking about a four or five year old.

All in all, knowing now how little your DD is in combination with the academics I can see where she is perhaps not enjoying it. That is why the parent toddler playgroup is designed to help gently transition little ones into the full day of kindergarten.

I know this may be a long shot but are there any other child care options for you which would enable you to put her in the playgroup instead of kindergarten? I totally understand if this is impossible since many parents are dealing with this dilemma but just thought I would ask.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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I can see how sometimes the AP style can conflict with Waldorf philosophies....
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How so, Jimibell? Can you elaborate?
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:07 PM
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How so, Jimibell? Can you elaborate?
The "modern version" of AP or what this board in general understands of AP, is very different from the "traditional style" of Waldorf AP, ...I guess that is how you could describe this.
Just as an example, modern AP is very child oriented, so much so that the child leads bed times, feeding on demand well into the childhood years, co-sleeping etc.
Waldorf is also very child oriented, what a lot of AP parents believe to be the main idea, but Waldorf also sets up a routine and a specific rhythm in the home life, regular meal times, regular bed times in their own personal spaces etc.
These are just a few things that show strong differences.
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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Well, as others have said before me, some things don't make sense to me at all and others do, in a way.

I do not get that there is little indoor play and a "look but don't touch" policy with toys. I didn't have any child younger than 4 in any Waldorf preschool, but there was free indoor play and outdoor play, virtually every day (exception for extreme weather). And teachers would rarely let children play with things on the Nature Table, but certainly they were welcome to play with the toys if they were displayed!

Also, I was invited to visit, and participated quite a number of times, but only when invited. And I know they would have probably shooed me away if I dropped in early. The traditional Waldorf teacher puts such a huge importance on rhythm; a good rhythm helps children feel enriched by the school day rather than frazzled, and is so effective at preventing or alleviating discipline problems, etc. They try to do almost the Same-Thing-Every-Day, Same-Time, like a ritual. It's taken very seriously, and dropping in late or early upsets the rhythm. Besides, there is a very distinct beginning, middle, end of the school day, beginning with the hug, ending with the hug, one child after another, individual acknowledgment in this rhythm. In the grades this hug is replaced by the handshake. It's very high on the teacher's list of priorities of the school day. I just can't vouch this is true for classes with younger children.

I wouldn't necessarily conclude that your child's bored because of the academics at home, only because some of my sons' classmates were in this situation, former Montessori or academic preschool/kindergartens yet they thrived at Waldorf.

And I hope the teacher was just worried about the bump, not that your child "misbehaved" scaling the fence. She's very very little yet and shouldn't be led to feel she committed a serious crime or misdemeanor for climbing!
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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doubled post
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Old 10-11-2007, 05:43 PM
 
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Well, as others have said before me, some things don't make sense to me at all and others do, in a way.

I do not get that there is little indoor play and a "look but don't touch" policy with toys. I didn't have any child younger than 4 in any Waldorf preschool, but there was free indoor play and outdoor play, virtually every day (exception for extreme weather). And teachers would rarely let children play with things on the Nature Table, but certainly they were welcome to play with the toys if they were displayed!

Also, I was invited to visit, and participated quite a number of times, but only when invited. And I know they would have probably shooed me away if I dropped in early. The traditional Waldorf teacher puts such a huge importance on rhythm; a good rhythm helps children feel enriched by the school day rather than frazzled, and is so effective at preventing or alleviating discipline problems, etc. They try to do almost the Same-Thing-Every-Day, Same-Time, like a ritual. It's taken very seriously, and dropping in late or early upsets the rhythm. Besides, there is a very distinct beginning, middle, end of the school day, beginning with the hug, ending with the hug, one child after another, individual acknowledgment in this rhythm. In the grades this hug is replaced by the handshake. It's very high on the teacher's list of priorities of the school day. I just can't vouch this is true for classes with younger children.

I wouldn't necessarily conclude that your child's bored because of the academics at home, only because some of my sons' classmates were in this situation, former Montessori or academic preschool/kindergartens yet they thrived at Waldorf.

And I hope the teacher was just worried about the bump, not that your child "misbehaved" scaling the fence. She's very very little yet and shouldn't be led to feel she committed a serious crime or misdemeanor for climbing!
very well-put!!

to add to the differences btw AP and Waldorf style discipline that Maggieinnh posted (quite well I think) I also wanted to add that with AP there is emphasis on talking things through with a child, explaining things, letting the child speak his/her mind, trying to work through things together, etc
With Waldorf I think it is more action-based and imitative and rhythm-based. So instead of trying to explain to a 2 yr old why he can't throw sand in someone's face, a Waldorf teacher would (I think) just gently redirect the 2 yr old to something else, or remove him/her from the sandbox if it was getting bad. There might be something said in a sing-song voice, "sand stays in the sandbox"....or something like that, I'm not a teacher but that's kind of how I discipline my 2 yr old. I don't explain to her or try to reason with her.

I think Waldorf avoids trying to talk through too many things with little ones whereas AP wants to set up a non-violent communication relationship. Honestly, I'm attracted to elements of both and mix and match in a way that suits us, but I do lean toward Waldorf style, especially with rhythm.
gotta go
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:58 PM
 
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This afternoon I was chatting with my grandson about his nursery school. He was telling me about the toys. I asked if he could play with the dolls. "Of course!"
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:33 PM
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to add to the differences btw AP and Waldorf style discipline that Maggieinnh posted (quite well I think) ...
Oh, thank you very much! :
It was a bit hard for me to actually learn what AP meant when moving to this country, as I have never heard of this before, so I am quite happy to have gotten the description somewhat right.
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