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#1 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I posted a previous thread about how delighted we were with dd's Waldorf preschool, and how much she loved it.

Now that he newness has worn off a bit, she's bored! She's started to resist going to school and she talks about her old Montessori school and how much she misses the 'work'.

I think Waldorf might be too ritualistic for her. That was part of their schtick, I remember. The teacher kept talking about how they spend the day on rituals: circle story time, sand play, snack, washing of the table ware, etc. She said the children loved the rhythm and the continuity of the same rituals each day.

But dd hates that stuff :. Playing in the sandbox and waiting in line to wash out her cup every single day for a year just isn't going to cut it with her. She just doesn't want to sing the exact same song in the exact same spot every morning, regardless of what her teacher says about kids loving the repitition.

Plus she hates group activities - circle times, formalized dancing. Part of that is due to a horrid teacher she had at age two who made circle time into this horrible, shaming experience. Dd's new teacher said she thinks dd might have post traumatic stress disorder from it, in fact.

We do a ton of teaching at home, so she's getting lots of intellectual stimulation - just not at school.

I don't know if I should just keep sending her to school and hoping she'll take something positive out of it. Right now she is resentful and tends to just go off to a corner and play by herself. When they do all their ritual stuff, they pretty much have to force her and she has started to act oppositional with them and also has cried a few times.

It's only 3 half days per week right now. But we have her in preschool for the benefits of it (we already have fulltime childcare arrangements, so that's not an issue). If this is working against what we're trying to accomplish - making her dislike school rather than vice versa - then I'm not sure this is the right environment for her.

Thoughts?
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#2 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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Sounds like you've already solved your problem..Waldorf just isn't a good fit for your dd. Best wishes in your search to find something that fits better!
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#3 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 01:00 PM
 
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Hi, Blessed. I'm so sorry about your daughter. Sometimes since Montessori is so different, there's a culture shock when changing to Waldorf. And vice versa. Also, being sad, mad, or misbehaved at school can be a sign of something totally unrelated to the work itself. Is she not getting along with some of the other kids? Is she still attached to her Montessori teacher? BTW, why did you take her from the Montessori school? Most kids really do love the rituals of the day, but if you DD doesn't maybe a Montessori school would be better for her. After all, everyone is different, and we're lucky that in the US we can choose what's right for our unique kids. See how it goes another week.
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#4 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We moved across country was the reason for the school change. There isn't a Montessori school in our new area. Dd did truly love her prior Montessori teacher.

As to other causes of unhappiness, dd did bring up that another girl in the class was telling her that she couldn't play with her or with some other kids. I talked to the teacher about it, but she pretty much dismissed it. Thought it didn't mean anything and kids just do that. I don't tend to believe that, however. I'm quite sure that it hurt(s) dd's feelings and that she reacts to that.

This teacher is a little bit older. I get the impression that she has an agenda of having a quiet, peaceful day and just wants to plow through the day's rituals and get to the end without any disturbances. If kids aren't falling into line she's annoyed and distressed, but not really motivated to figure it out or work on it or around it. It's early on and I don't know if that's a fair characterization, but that's the impression I'm getting so far.

Well, just mulling over some thoughts and feelings at this point.
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#5 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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for you and for your dd.

i love love love the ideas and concepts of waldorf. however, it is not a good match for some kiddos.

at almost 2, i can already tell that however much i'd love to do waldorf with dd, i don't think it would be appropriate given her preferences, penchants and personality.

that said, it's only been a little while so perhaps you can give her a little bit more time to adjust? she's had SO many changes in her life especially with your move, so perhaps she has yet to hit her stride?

it is a bit disappointing to hear that the teacher won't intervene a bit with the other little girl. it's hard enough to be the new person in a class, i would think that this would be an ideal teachable moment for the kids. from your description, is this teacher a bit burnt out?

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#6 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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How large is the waldorf school? In larger schools it is usually possible to move up a level and speak to someone else about your concerns, if the teacher isn't taking them seriously. For example, at the Chicago Waldorf School, there were three levels: early childhood, elementary and high school. If chatting with the teacher didn't answer the question, a parent could speak to the level chair and if there was still a concern, go up to the college chair.

It does sound to me as though something isn't working right in that class. Although waldorf is supposed to have rhythm and repetitiveness (I don't like the word ritual, doesn't sound like the appropriate word) even in nursery school there should be some variety. Each day should be different in the week, and new activities should come in throughout the year to meet the changing seasons.

My gs just began nursery school this year (he is four) and is going 4 mornings and 2 afternoons. At first he loved it, now he is beginning to miss his mommy and want to be home a bit more. The school is doing everything right, I think, but he wasn't quite as ready for nursery school as he looked.

Sometimes the problem is coming more from the child's situation, sometimes the school needs to change a bit, sometimes it is both.

Good luck figuring out what is going on.

It really is appropriate to talk to another person at the school if the teacher's answers don't feel right. Just ask in the office if you aren't sure who to talk to.
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#7 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.

There are 10 kids in the class, one teacher and one assistant, who seems to stay inside cooking for the most part.

The kids play outside for the most part, in this privacy fenced yard. There's a sandbox, a garden hose, some utensils and garden tools. It seems like the kids tend to split into small groups spread throughout the yard, and the teacher mostly sits up on the porch.

There are some toys inside, but there are lots of rules and I don't think the kids really play inside much. I remember during orientation dd found some waldorf dolls and started playing 'house' with another girl. The teacher came over and told us that she didn't usually let the kids play with the dolls because they tear them up, but that dd could finish playing because she could see that dd was not being rough with them. I thought it odd to have a rule forbidding kids from playing with the school toys. She had similar rules about the wooden utensils, blocks and such.

I get the impression that dd is just bored with playing in the sand all day, and that probably the other kids are too. They do break for snack and lunch. But I think that's when kids start falling into mean social behaviors - when they're poorly supervised and bored. So I wasn't surprised to hear about kids starting to act cliquish.
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#8 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 03:21 PM
 
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Sorry, but this is not a well-run classroom. Dolls in a waldorf classroom are for children to play with. Ditto all the other toys. Something is wrong.
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#9 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 03:28 PM
 
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Sorry, but this is not a well-run classroom. Dolls in a waldorf classroom are for children to play with. Ditto all the other toys. Something is wrong.
ITA!
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#10 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 03:35 PM
 
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I agree with Deborah. That really doesn't sound right at all!
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#11 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 03:49 PM
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Sorry, but this is not a well-run classroom. Dolls in a waldorf classroom are for children to play with. Ditto all the other toys. Something is wrong.
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There is definitely something wrong with that teacher!
I guess it is more important to her to keep her classroom tidy and ordered all the time rather than take care of the children. Sounds like a bored teacher to me, who has no right to be in a school, especially not in a Waldorf school!
If you can not change the situation for your daughter, like putting her into another class, I would also remove her.
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#12 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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But I think the first step is to talk to someone else in the school, preferably someone a level up from the teacher. They may not be aware of the way she is managing her classroom. Sounds like she is emphasizing a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere over a live classroom with real children playing in it.

Outside play is great, but the kids need a greater variety of toys. My gs nursery play yard has swings, a climbing structure, a variety of plants and bushes and enough room to run around.
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#13 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 04:08 PM
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Yes, you are right Deborah and I would try to do that first!
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#14 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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Yes, you are right Deborah and I would try to do that first!
On the other hand if the teacher is a bit older and has been in the school a long time, I think they all know what is going on and am not so sure how cooperative they are going to be to make changes,...anyhow let's not try to paint the devil on the wall, definitely try to talk to somebody in the school, if not the teacher herself than somebody above her.
Not necessarily. Situations like this one sometimes arise very gradually. The teacher may not even be totally conscious of what sort of situation she has drifted into.

Sometimes I look around my library and go wow, how did it get like this? A little bit at a time
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#15 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sounds like she is emphasizing a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere over a live classroom with real children playing in it..
I think this is a pretty accurate portrayal of the impression I've been getting.

I mean, if this lady were a babysitter I'd be delighted. She's this warm, gentle grandmotherly figure who keeps order while maintaining respect for the kids.

But other than modeling a gentle nature for the kids, I'm not really sure if there is any teaching going on at all. Of any sort, that I can identify. I understand that Waldorf is nonacademic at this age. And I did raise that issue when we interviewed - whether dd would be adequately stimulated in such an environment. She answered that the imaginative play, story telling, dance and such would keep her engaged.

But the way it's set up, I feel as though I'm keeping dd home in the backyard day after day, only without enough toys or activities to keep her interested.

I wonder if there's more going on behind the scenes than what I see. Positive things, I mean. Who knows, though, because this teacher doesn't allow parents to observe in the classroom except by way of watching over the top of the privacy fence and pick up and drop off. She says it alters the environment too much.

Today dd asked me if I could send her to a different school. The only other time she's ever done that was when she had that psycho teacher who was mentally abusing her. I asked dd what things did she like about school and she said 'nothing'. I asked what she didn't like and she said 'the kids and the teacher'.

Dd's so sensitive to negativity or disapproval. If I even have a tired sound to my voice when speaking to her she'll start to cry. I'm wondering if she's probably started to have some oppositional behavior with the teacher, out of boredom and frustration, and that the teacher's reaction is making dd feel rejected and hurt. To the point where it's hard for dd to find positives in the class anymore: she's bored with the activities, so she's acting out, so teachers aren't liking her, so she feels like an outcast.

A couple of weeks ago I picked her up and she had a bump on her head. She told me that she climbed the fence and fell off. She said she climbed to the top, teacher saw her and said to get down, and in her hurry to comply her shoe got caught on the top rungs. She fell and her shoe was left stuck on top of the fence. The teacher affirmed that this is exactly what happened.

I was laughing, because it was a cute story. Dd climbs any and everything around our house, with our approval. She's very careful and has great judgment, so we don't put artificial constraints on her. The only reason she fell this time was because of her hurry to get down so fast because teacher was upset with her.

So I told dd that was a funny story, but now she knows that there's no climbing on the fence. And dd nodded. She doesn't do things we've asked her not to do. But teacher was obviously stressed and upset and saw the situation very differently. I think it freaked her out because this fence is about six feet tall (we have to stand on rocks they've set up for us to see over the top when looking in), and dd was already on top of it. Maybe she thought dd was escaping or something.

Anyway, nothing like that has happened again, but I felt like things changed a little bit that day.

Well, I'm really rambling now. Thanks if you've hung in this far.
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#16 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 09:39 PM
 
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I'm sorry that you are having a difficult time now. It did sound like everything was going so well at first! I wonder if it truly is boredom as that's pretty rare at this age. Sounds like a lot of factors coming into play, not the least of which is the teacher. To tell kids that they can't play with the dolls is just wrong.
To illustrate a point, my daughter is in kinde and she's been telling me how they pile up the tables and benches and make forts. I asked the teacher about this, just in passing and she confirmed that yes, the kids can play with anything including climbing the furniture and turning it into slides. I wouldn't want to be the teacher in that group but then that's why I am not a teacher! Big difference from the environment where you can't play with the toys.

There is a lot of repetition but it shouldn't be the exact same way every single day. there definitely will be a routine/rhythm but in and around that things change and each day is different.

It may be that Waldorf just isn't a fit for you and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But, it does sound like there are lots of other issues going on. If I were you, I'd definitely speak to someone about what you are feeling.
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#17 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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I agree with pps that something is just not right there.

I was shocked to read about the dolls, that is so NOT what should be going on in Waldorf K class. And there should be tons of exciting activities going on each day. Every day has it's event. The singing and rhythm is to make the children feel secure and it speaks to their bodies and souls, it certainly will not be boring if the teacher is doing it right!! If she is good she will be instilling reverence and wonder with each thing she does....even if it's as simple as setting the table or washing the hands.

In my dd's class they do many things. I am surprised that is not in your dd's class. Do they do Eurythmy? Is she in K or Nursery? She should be baking, taking walks, creating things, doing rhyme games, feeding the animal (do they have a class animal?), having visitors, doing jump-rope, getting stories, etc.....

I also think that it does take some time for the "shock" of such a big change to settle in. At first it is exciting but then the daily routine sets in and they may start to resist. Maybe the combination of that and the teacher's bad habits are taking its toll on your dd.

Also, I hate to say it but I have to.......if you are doing lots of intellectual stimulation at home maybe the Waldorf environment is not what you're looking for or your dd may not take to it because it is so different than your home environment.

I have found that children that are over-stimulated with media or have had lots of intellectual awakening going on are often unable or unwilling to focus on simple activities, play with simple toys, or really enter a "zone" when listening to stories, etc. It is like they are so used to being hyper-stimulated that these things are just not enough for them.....it is hard for them to slow down and really focus and they do not seem to easily or willingly slip into the realm of fantasy.
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#18 of 48 Old 10-06-2007, 11:42 PM
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I have found that children that are over-stimulated with media or have had lots of intellectual awakening going on are often unable or unwilling to focus on simple activities, play with simple toys, or really enter a "zone" when listening to stories, etc. It is like they are so used to being hyper-stimulated that these things are just not enough for them.....it is hard for them to slow down and really focus and they do not seem to easily or willingly slip into the realm of fantasy.
I agree with this. Situations like these are difficult and perceived as "boring" activities by some children or parents, as Jimibell said, due to being very stimulated previously by academics or via media influences.
I think it takes parents more getting used to the new situation than children coming from such a background, but I think it can be changed with time, patience and work on all sides.
It is not easy, but I see it as an adult learning the skill of meditation, which sounds easy enough but is actually not and will require some amount of work on behalf of the adult. A parent and the teacher can work on bringing the child back into that mentally "innocent" stage I think, but as said it takes a bit of time, wonder and work. At age 3 I think this is still doable, but if all fails maybe Waldorf is not such a good fit for your daughter.

Now I am not saying that you dd is necessarily overstimulated blessed, but coming from a Montessori background, it might take her some time to get used to those simple ways of doing things.
Something that mostly us adults have a problem with!

I am just mentioning this in addition to my previous post, I still think that the teacher needs to make some changes in the classroom regarding play time, toys and children's behavior and I definitely think you should address that with her or somebody above that teacher!
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#19 of 48 Old 10-07-2007, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There might be something to that idea. Dd's concentration is excellent. At three yo she will lie for an hour listening to me read chapter books like Charlotte's web or The Wizard of Oz. And she'll sit and focus on a puzzle until she's worked it through.

But she is high energy and we do provide her with reams of stimulation on a given day. She'll go through six or eight books at a half hour setting, does web based educational stuff like Starfall on most days, and although we don't let her watch television per se, we aren't anti-media and we do let her watch kids' movies on DVD.

For instance, the teacher talks about this dish washing ceremony in which the kids line up to wash their own plates each day like it's this special event. I haven't seen them do it, but it's pretty easy for me to envision dd impatiently waiting her turn, taking her dishes up and just wanting to get the whole thing over with so they can move on to something interesting.

I think she's had a pattern to date in which home was the place of loving, special rituals, and school was the place to learn great new stuff and have exciting and challenging experiences.

They did introduce eurythmy. Teacher was all stressed out and resentful that morning because it interrupted the flow of her routine. Dd said she doesn't like it, and as I mentioned, she's very averse to conforming to group undertakings. I think she perceives it as an 'unsafe' situation now and she becomes very anxious and resistent.

Well, it's early. Maybe we just need some more time to adjust.
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#20 of 48 Old 10-07-2007, 01:50 AM
 
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They did introduce eurythmy. Teacher was all stressed out and resentful that morning because it interrupted the flow of her routine. Dd said she doesn't like it, and as I mentioned, she's very averse to conforming to group undertakings.

She wouldn't be the first child to not like eurythmy DS hated it and got labelled because of it. If we'd kept him in waldorf much longer I'd bet they would have been sending him for "curative eurythmy". He also acted up during circle time. Now we're homeschooling using Enki Education and he loves loves loves circle time.

I think in his school he was extremely aware of the expectations of the teachers and how he was supposed to behave, and felt boxed in by that. It also simply wasn't meeting him where he was at physically or developmentally.

It sounds as if this teacher is missing something, but also maybe your dd might be happier out of waldorf.
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#21 of 48 Old 10-07-2007, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...I think in his school he was extremely aware of the expectations of the teachers and how he was supposed to behave, and felt boxed in by that. It also simply wasn't meeting him where he was at physically or developmentally...
Yes. I think we're dealing with this also.
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#22 of 48 Old 10-07-2007, 02:25 PM
 
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I wouldn't want to send ds one more day to a place that he hated! Is homeschooling an (even temporary) option for you?
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#23 of 48 Old 10-08-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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We *love* Waldorf and find it an absolutely perfect fit for our DS. But I am very aware that it isn't the best system for every child, and certainly not every family.

Not as a comment about you, but re. the parents in DS's class, I often hear that they (the moms and dads) are concerned about 'boredom'. Our ps does the same story for three weeks, I think. And they do it in that waldorf way, where it's recited, rather than read. It's a long time w/ the same story, every single day. But for us, I think it's a small part of a larger puzzle. Yes, I think DS would probably prefer a bit more variety, but I don't think this one thing is a critical. Yet I do hear a lot of parents "complaining" that their child will get bored, citing the story thing as example. And, interestingly, I hear the staff saying that their children are empathetically not getting bored. Again, this doesn't seem to apply to your situation, but I just wanted to comment since you mentioned the lack of stimulation and it's something that I'm aware of with DS's school as well.

As far as rhythm, yes, definitely a lot of "ritualized" activity. But each day has it's own focus (Sunday bake bread, Monday water color, etc. etc.) and then there is seasonal stuff added in, too. Is that the same at your DD's school? Or is every day the exact same?

I also agree with the pp's who commented on how different Waldorf is than the rest of "society" and that that makes it hard for some kids to find their place in a Waldorf environment. I see it analogous to the toys. When I first walked into DS's classroom, I thought -- hmm, very simple, too much so? I was so used to the stimulation of color and noise and figured that DS would be, too. He loved it immediately, however, and his very, very big imagination had plenty of room to soar. Ironically, when I was looking at places for DS2, I looked at a more traditional daycare and was almost dizzy at all the "stuff" -- on the walls, the floor, the table tops. It was like my eyes didn't know where to focus, and yet, just 2 years ago, that was totally the norm to me. So, absolutely, the Waldorf environment -- even with amazing staff -- may require some readjusting to, for both kids and parents.
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#24 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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I'm surprised nobody else mentioned this yet but you posted "we do tons of teaching at home." I would be a little curious about what that means because if you are teaching reading or other sort of academics, perhaps your child is getting mixed messages about what school is about and has therefore come to the conclusion of being bored. I know that my DS has no idea he is missing out on learning to read and so forth because we don't do anything like that at home. He just assumes this is what kindergarten is supposed to be like.

Having said that I agree with other posters that it sounds like something is wrong with the classroom in general from what you have posted but I did think the "teaching at home for intellectual stimulation" was worth at least bringing up.
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#25 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We do teach reading, early math, foreign languages, so forth. Dd was already reading before we ever moved to the Waldorf district, so the cat was sort of out of that bag.

Academics are a big part of her recreation and her daily life, so I'd be loathe to try and take that away at this point.
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#26 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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Yeah, I can understand not wanting to take away something that she has already come to enjoy. Aside from the other bad stuff in that particular classroom, I think doing the academics at home could be a huge contributor to why she feels bored. How strange it must be for the little one to do that sort of thing at home but to only play at "school". Maybe she is also a bit confused there. Please know I'm not judging or suggesting you are doing something wrong. I can just see how it might not mesh with a waldorf classroom at that age and cause the conflicts you are describing.
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#27 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 03:26 PM
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I'm surprised nobody else mentioned this yet but you posted "we do tons of teaching at home." I would be a little curious about what that means because if you are teaching reading or other sort of academics, perhaps your child is getting mixed messages about what school is about and has therefore come to the conclusion of being bored.
Actually Jimibell and I have mentioned that in a more,....how can I say "politically correct"/ no I mean "indirect" way.

blessed, your daughter might not be at all stimulated by the Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum, if she is doing so many mental challenges at home, she is bored at school. Since you are doing so much work at home anyway, have you tried homeschooling her, or maybe join a coop if you are worried about the socialization part for her?
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#28 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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Oh, I see now. I only browsed through the thread myself...sorry blessed for repeating what others have already said.

I will add this on to what Maggie was saying in an earlier post about going back to that stage of innocence though. DS was in the public school system for preK because he had a speech delay. Since it was public school he was naturally exposed to some academics and even spent an hour a day with the kindergarten class last year doing "writing". He loved it, don't get me wrong but I was definitely not digging the heavy emphasis on early academics and standardized testing so we knew we weren't going that route when he started kindergarten.

To try and make a long story short a little too late, haha, he is thriving in his waldorf kindergarten classroom despite being exposed early to the academic stuff. I think one of the main reasons for that though is that we have never done academics at home. My son has been reported as exceptionally bright on numerous cognitive tests despite his speech issues. He loves to learn. We have always read to him on a regular basis. If he asks a question about math or language or science I am happy to answer him in an age appropriate fashion that will satisfy him but we don't actively teach any subjects.

I guess what I'm getting at is that yes, it is possible to give a young child a waldorf education that they will enjoy, even after being exposed to academics. My son's kindergarten teacher recently noted that he is playing with some of the younger kids in the class and that maybe this is what he needs after spending several years dealing with the academic stuff. I see this year of "play" as balancing out the previous years with little play and more emphasis on the academic. So far he seems to love it. I just don't know if he would like it if I was trying to teach him other things at home though. So I think they can return to that "innocence", even an extremely bright child as I have no doubt my son is, but that may be challenging to do if you are intent on teaching at home. In fact, I would be quite surprised if the teachers would be okay with that, if they do know about it. Waldorf is all about a seamless rhythm from school to home and I know my teacher has told me at least on one occasion that if the parents are doing something different at home, chances are the waldorf environment will not work for that family.
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#29 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pixiewytch View Post
Waldorf is all about a seamless rhythm from school to home and I know my teacher has told me at least on one occasion that if the parents are doing something different at home, chances are the waldorf environment will not work for that family.
:
Very well said, especially in the younger years!
The main reason why family life and school life are so tightly meshed in a Waldorf community, the philosophy of that school in itself requires it!
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#30 of 48 Old 10-09-2007, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Maggieinnh View Post
blessed, your daughter might not be at all stimulated by the Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum, if she is doing so many mental challenges at home, she is bored at school. Since you are doing so much work at home anyway, have you tried homeschooling her, or maybe join a coop if you are worried about the socialization part for her?
We can't homeschool due to both parents working fulltime.

It's striking to me that dd is on a playground with a bunch of kids her age, yet isn't having fun. She has many neighborhood friends with whom she happily plays for hours. I wish I had a better idea of what goes on during the day there so I could understand this. But with the parental exclusion policy, I simply have no idea. I think that is what bothers me more than anything.

This week she has seemed more at ease and she isn't talking about not going to school in the way she was previously. Maybe things are settling in.
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