montessori vs waldorf philosophy - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-19-2003, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hi there

anyone knowledgeable about the differences between the two? They seem to be parallel in many sense am I right? I went a few weeks ago to the Montessori kindergarten and liked how they set up the school. It is quite far for us though. There are many walddorf kindergarten which are closer.

I have searched online to read what the critics have to say about the two programs. seems more negatives about the walddorf philosophy than the montessori.

thanks for sharing.

I am also thinking if its worth it to send my dd to montessori kindergarten when she is not a morning person and with the drive would be hard on her. Perhaps just send her to local kindergarten (found one in our area that is quite nice and uses only natural wood and toys in classroom no plastic toys), then send her to montessori school system when she is in grade school.

any suggestions here o nthat too. thanks again for your opinions and advice.

stephanie
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Old 05-19-2003, 08:28 AM
 
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hello, I feel the two are very different, sure the toys are similar but the deep rooted aproach to the children and how they present the education is different, waldorf is much more than pretty toys and nice classrooms they believe that children have more than five senses and that at age seven they are ready for the intelctual stage of learning. I think montesory is more about allowing children to guide their own way around, i would suggest reading up on the actual beliefs of each school. it is a ig decision, each school will present the children's education in a different way. i would check out some books at library on each one, instead of reading others opinions. it is a hard disicion, good luck to you, tara
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Old 05-20-2003, 06:08 PM
 
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Hi,
I don't have any answers for you really, just wanted to say thanks for posting that question because I have wanted to ask the same thing, too bad there aren't more responses. I am considering teaching in some respect, and have always thought I'd go the waldorf route, if ever I got around to it, but am now highly interested in Montessori...I really like the idea of letting the children guide themselves, and foster that love for learning.
I know that waldorf is very spiritually oriented, which appeals to some, but is not important to me I guess.
I also have a friend that looked into the Waldorf school in her area and didn't like it (actually the same one featured in an article recently in Mothering)...Her impression was that the kids were not happy or smiling and that everything was very uniform (ie--they were to copy something of the board exactly as the teacher had written it) Who knows if this impression was correct, or if it was that particular classroom, school, etc???
I think your idea of sending your dd to the local ps for now and montessori later is just fine...I really think that the most important thing at that age isn't the method used, but simply that it is caring, positive teacher & environment and lots of room to play/explore.
Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2003, 06:10 PM
 
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PS...marchmom, I just noticed you are in germany. where? (if you don't mind my asking) My mom is german and my brother and lots of family are there...
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Old 05-20-2003, 06:26 PM
 
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Yes, they are very differtent approaches, especially in the early years.
Waldorf philosophy is that imaginative play is essential to young children, and that is thier main work until 1st grade. Rythems, songs, rhymes, finger plays, and fairy tales are key parts of a Waldorf kindergarten class. You will not find the academicly based (letter, numbers, etc) activities in a Waldorf class that populate the Montessori classes.
Montessori philosophy is to teach children through play. You will not see the plethora of imaginative play items in a Montessori classroom that you will in a Waldorf class. Children are allowed to spend time time working individually on available projects. It is child led, however, each task is to be first demonstrated by the teacher, and what is available is limited based on the Montessori ideas of development.
Both stress real work for children. Nature is important in both programs (although Waldorph with a more spiritual bent, and Montessori with a more scientific bent)

What Mamaluna said about her friend's experience in viewing a Waldorf class is one that I think many people have misconceptions about. We hear that Waldorf schools treat the arts and academics equally, that the children learn to draw, play music, etc, and assume that the children do the arts if they wish, and how they wish. When in reality, these subjects are taught the same way that academics are taught. Every child learns these things. Yes, they are told what to draw, what to play, etc. This is the way that basic skills are formed in the early years so that later they can branch out with their own ideas.

Theis is a new school of thought now that has combined Montessoru and Waldorf methods- it's called Enki
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Old 05-20-2003, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone for your responses. It is hard for me to just go to a library as I live in Germany and german is not my native language (cant read intense topic yet). So I am doing my research on line.

My neighbor's son goes to Waldorf so I ask her a lot about that. My dh and his family are very spiritual people and I know they would like it if we send our child to Waldorf. But I am not a very spiritual person, I am a nature person and love nature but not in a spiritual sense (if you know what I mean).

I really like the explaination Krisday wrote about the two. I always thought they were both child led philosophy though.

My neighbor says she has go to parent meetings where they have to discuss a certain section from the Waldorf theory book and talk about it (I guess like a Bible study?) and how to apply to the classroom situation etc. Interesting. She says its so overwhelming and the language so deep. She is German and founder wrote it in german.

I am curious about the new school of thought that was mentioned. Any website on that one??

Thanks again for pointing out the differences in these two schools and their philosophy.

Stephanie
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Old 05-20-2003, 07:58 PM
 
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I meant to post it- here is the link about Enki

http://www.enkieducation.org/index.htm
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Old 05-21-2003, 12:49 AM
 
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The Enki site is really interesting! I like their approach. I wonder if it ever gets rigid at all, or is as flexible as it sounds.

 
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Old 05-21-2003, 09:49 AM
 
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Comparison of the 2 by someone who has worked with both:

www.oakmeadow.com/resources/articles/coulter.htm

www.kansaswaldorf.org/Articles/montessori.htm

I looked at the Enki site months ago and had the impression it was more of a Waldorf-style built on a Buddhist philosophy; I didn't see much Montessori about it. But maybe I'm not remembering right (and heaven knows my frame of mind when I read something greatly influences what I think the site says. If I was in a Montessori-purist-mood I would've been mentally poo-pooing their Montessori references; likewise for Waldorf-purist-mood).

(edited to add 2nd link)
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Old 05-21-2003, 05:32 PM
 
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As an engineer who's child receives plenty of cold hard science at home, these articles confirm my choice of Waldorf. Ideally, it would be nice to have some of both worlds but overall I prefer the Waldorf vision of letting children be children. Facts can be taught at any time but imagination needs to be nurtured. I also prefer the no media policy at Waldorf. We are a Pokemon, Yu gi oh free household!
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Old 05-21-2003, 10:29 PM
 
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hi i am curious where are schools doing enki aproach? thanks tara
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Old 05-22-2003, 01:51 AM
 
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ENKI TODAY: Unfortunately, due to the current economic climate, our independent elementary schools have had to close or substantially restructure. However, we continue to work with individuals and groups from across the US and Canada, and from China and Japan, to bring the Enki approach into homeschools and to start independent schools. We are hopeful that funding will open up again as the global economy stabilizes, enabling new schools to undertake the Enki approach.

Tara, it sounds like there are not actually any operating schools at this time.
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Old 05-22-2003, 02:37 AM
 
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You may want to ask if your montessori school will take elemn students who have been in a ps setting, ours does not. Only will take kids that went to the montessori preschool or had no preschool experience.
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