Starting 1st Grade at Waldorf! - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-16-2004, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our daughter will be starting 1st grade at the local Waldorf school just after Labor Day. She will have a fantastic teacher who is returning after taking his first class from 1st through 8th grade. His first class, who will all be Sophmores this fall, absolutely love him. We are pretty excited but still nervous with it being the first day of real school as opposed to the warm place that was Kindergarten.

Does anyone else have a 1st grader in Waldorf this year?
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:05 AM
 
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It is so many years ago that my daughter went "up the hill" at Highland Hall, the waldorf school in Los Angeles...because of the distinct physical separation between the nursery/kindergarten area and the grade schools the little ones felt like it was a very big step. My daughter was a bit frightened and wanted to stay in kindergarten. Her first grade teacher had individual meetings with all the children and after the meeting my daughter was okay. She never shared anything that her new teacher had said, but obviously it had gotten her over the hump.

She liked first grade, but she is a perfectionist and was always pushing herself. Overall though, I think she had a lot of fun and she was definitely ready at age 6 to start a more formal learning process.

My granddaughter won't be starting 1st grade for a couple of years.
She is the impatient sort and would like to be a grown-up right now! but is putting up with childhood as best she can. She did enjoy her first year of nursery school and I think was able to step down into some degree of dreaminess. It doesn't come naturally to her. She was born wide-awake and wants to stay that way. I think she is very lucky to have waldorfian parents who don't push her to develop her intellect as she has extreme tendencies that way anyhow and needs the balance of artistic and social experiences on the other side.

So good luck and I hope it all goes beautifully!

Nana
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! This will be our second to enter Waldrof elementary school. Our older one has very intellectual, scientific leanings so Waldorf has been great for his balance. Our younger one is like your grand daughter who wants to grow up right now! She is not as intellectual or scientific as the older one but she wants to be an adult so she can do adult things. Waldorf is good for her because it gives her very defined expectations about what happens when. I have had to set hard and fast rules for her about age appropriateness. I hope when she is older she will appreciate the fact that I made her have a childhood. I keep telling her that she has 18 years as a child and most likely 70 years or so of adulthood! Why rush?
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:36 PM
 
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Rhonwyn -- My older ds will be starting first grade at our Waldorf school. He's spent the past 2 years in the mixed age kindergarten. He spent a year in parent/child with me also, which we both loved. Now, he's pretty excited to be a "grader"!

Waldorf education has been a huge blessing to us in many ways. He was a very dreamy child and that was accepted and honored at his school. I really wonder what would have happened to him if he were forced to "wake up" before he was ready and be in his head, if he had gone elsewhere.

I'd be interested to hear what happens in your dd's class, so keep us posted!!
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hope every thing goes well for you son Joyfulheart! My daughter is of course anxious to get started with this school thing. She keeps trying to read like her big brother and she gets mad when she can't. I told her that I will help her with words but that she shouldn't get upset because no one expects her to read in 1st grade. I also told her that her teacher will be working with her and the class this year to lay the foundation for reading. She is just chomping at the bit and can't stand it that older brother can do something she can't.

How big is your son's class? My dd's class will be around 28 children with a one teacher and an assistant. It is larger than I would like but the teacher had a class this big last time and he handled it very well.
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Old 08-18-2004, 01:26 PM
 
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Rhonwyn"Hope every thing goes well for you son Joyfulheart!"

--Thank you.

"My daughter is of course anxious to get started with this school thing. She keeps trying to read like her big brother and she gets mad when she can't. I told her that I will help her with words but that she shouldn't get upset because no one expects her to read in 1st grade."

-- Yes, I love that no one expects them to ready in first grade. I love that they're going to be "exposed" to the alphabet now. (This has been a huge leap of faith for dh who was educated in Asia.)

"How big is your son's class? My dd's class will be around 28 children with a one teacher and an assistant. It is larger than I would like but the teacher had a class this big last time and he handled it very well."

--My son's class has 14 students enrolled so far. The school caps at 18. There is one teacher. She's new to the school, but seems very creative and flexible.

--I really am curious to hear about your dd's experience! I hope it's joy-filled for her.
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:29 PM
 
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Class size note: my daughter's class was 28 to start with and her teacher was just starting her career. The teacher had been a waldorf student with a mother who was a waldorf teacher, so she did have some extra supports!

Waldorf education actually works better with larger class sizes. In European waldorf schools classes usually have an upper limit of 40 students! I don't think anyone has ever tried this in the U.S. as our children seem to have some differences in behavior that make a class size that large impractical.

So why do large classes work better? The explanation I've heard has to do with the story-telling approach to learning. The teacher can be funny, dramatic, tragic, and so on, in the presentation of a story. Just as in a theater, a larger audience works better, so in the classroom a larger group helps to bring the story to life. One or another child will identify with the events being presented, begin to get drawn in and their heightened emotions will pull in the surrounding children.

One of my favorite waldorf stories: my daughter's kindergarten teacher had taught in the grades. (She was a superb story teller) In fifth grade she told the story of Socrate's trial. At the end, there was a moment of thoughtful silence. Then one of the students spoke up. "Miss Sharpe, were you there?"

Nana
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had heard that about Waldorf and large class sizes. It is still hard for many parents to accept. Our son's teacher talked about classes of up to 40 in Europe but that she didn't think it would work here because Americans need so much more space. I think 30 is the limit on the class size for an experienced teacher. Newer teachers are ususally limited to 25. The other Waldorf school in town is limiting the class size to 20 but that may change as they grow.

The story about Socrates is a hoot! I bet it made the teacher feel a little old though!
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Old 08-19-2004, 04:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
The story about Socrates is a hoot! I bet it made the teacher feel a little old though!
She was one of those people who feel eternal...not old, not young...foreverish, although I think there ain't no such word.

Anyway, good luck with it all. Being a waldorf parent has its rewards and its challenges.

Nana
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Old 08-20-2004, 04:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
This will be our second to enter Waldrof elementary school.
Rhonwyn, as a Waldorf 'veteran', you can be a great help to the class teacher. Alas, no more first graders for me, but my youngest daughter's class (entering fifth grade this year) has a whole lot of oldest children with nervous parents in it, and the few of us who have older Waldorf kids are constantly having to reassure our fellow parents that the situations they're agonizing over really have come up before, that the teacher is handling things okay, and that the rest of the faculty is helping her where needed.

A few years ago, our school began "first grade day" for kindergarteners. On some day when the first grade is away, the kindergarten class spends an hour in their classroom and the teacher begins to tell them how first grade will be different. This occurs with parents, too, some of whom are shocked to find that first grade is very different from kindergarten!

Enjoy first grade again, Rhonwyn! It's more fun the second time.

David
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Old 08-20-2004, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canndw
Enjoy first grade again, Rhonwyn! It's more fun the second time.

David

It certainly is less stressful! The best thing a Kindergarten teacher told me is that 1st grade is about transitions and that the entire year is a transition from Kindergarten to elementary school. Most classes start to settle in 2nd grade though it took my son's class until almost the end of 2nd grade!
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:02 AM
 
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Hi! a little late joining here. well, our son will be going to first this year and we are all very excited. i can hardly believe it! HOWHOW did this happen??? Oh gosh, anyway- I think he is looking foreward to it yet anxious as he is a bit of a worryer- like me but i know that once he is with his friends from last year he will be okay.
im interested to see how it all unfolds as an education. after two years of kindergarten it's time to move on to other work.
plus, summer is killing me and im just another mom saying "i cant wait till you're back in school!" :
laura
worrier that is see? i cant even spell anymore!
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Old 08-25-2004, 03:07 PM
 
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I am just curious. I really wanted my kids in a Waldorf school and can't find one. Where could I look?

Please let me know.
Thanks, Michelle
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Old 08-25-2004, 04:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourgrtkidos
I am just curious. I really wanted my kids in a Waldorf school and can't find one. Where could I look?
There's a searchable database located at
http://www.awsna.org/education-usa.html

That covers private Waldorf schools. In some states there are charter schools too (notably Arizona and California); I don't know of any comprehensive lists that includes them.

Also, http://waldorfworld.com has directories of waldorf school websites organized by state. Not everythings there, but there's quite a few.

David
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