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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, maybe not OBSESSED, but she has a very Strong interest in letters, the sounds they make, etc. She always saying things like "T is for tree, right?" or "Is R for rain, mommy?" We will tell her yes if she is right but we don't pursue it further. Same for when she sits down with her crayons and writes letters. NO ONE in our family has been initiating or "practicing" this stuff with her! I'm not sure where it's coming from!<br>
We are very involved in Waldorf Early education-she attends 3 half days at a waldorf school and I try to keep to a waldorf style environment at home. I have not yet delved into the Waldorf Grades - I thought I had another year before I would have to think about the first few school years! I'm not a Waldorf purist, but I have read a little about not introducing the things that she is interested in until First grade.<br><br>
So, what do you think? Do I divert her attention, do I keep going as we have been(answering her questions, but refraining from instruction or delving further, or , might she be advanced and we should encourage further learning?)<br>
Also, any good Waldorf/Stiener book recommendations regarding a child's development at this age so that I can better understand where her brain is at at this stage and the upcoming stages? I would love to have a better understanding so that I may guide her in the most natural and appropriate ways in education, personal growth and "discipline".<br><br>
Thnks so much for any advice!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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here is one article which is sort of tangentially related to your question--<br><a href="http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW3002.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journa...les/GW3002.pdf</a><br><br>
I recommend doing your own searching and browsing. You will probably find some material which is closer to your interest.<br><br>
Here is the general site address:<br><a href="http://www.waldorflibrary.org/pg/home/home.asp" target="_blank">http://www.waldorflibrary.org/pg/home/home.asp</a><br>
use the focus search or search on a particular word
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the links! I am definatly doing some research, but it's always nice to also hear the opinions and advice from a group of like minded people-even if it IS in cyberspace! Thanks for your help.
 

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My granddaughter was very interested in writing from an early age. My daughter and son-in-law would answer what she was asking but never go any further. They taught her capital letters only. She is at a waldorf school and learned how to read at the beginning of second grade. She started with easy readers and was reading chapter books like the Little House in the Big Woods by the end of the year. So it is possible to have a child who is pushing a bit and still delay the actual reading--sometimes. I think my gd could have learned how to read earlier, but it would have been much harder. By waiting until she was really, really, ready, the whole process was just fun and almost no work at all.<br><br>
On the other hand, my younger brother learned how to read at 4. My mother was helping his big sister, who was 6 and in first grade in public school. She was having a bit of a struggle (I don't think she was ready) and he got the hang of it from just being in the same room.<br><br>
I learned how to read at 6. My father taught me because he thought the public school look, see method was stupid. My memory is that it all came very easily and I started reading everything in sight within a few weeks. Including a lot of stuff I didn't understand and shouldn't have been reading.<br><br>
And finally, my daughter learned in 2nd grade at her waldorf school. She is an enthusiastic reader and book lover. And she has good eyesight. Mine is lousy...which is a non-sequitor...except that there is a definite connection between the onset of literacy and bad eyesight. On a population level.
 

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I am fully in support of delaying academics, but when a child really wants to learn, then I think that's different. We wouldn't try to keep our child from walking early or talking early or playing pretend early or jumping early or any other thing. So I think the idea of delaying reading when a child sincerely wants to read, is eager and ready to read is silly at best. Trust her initiation.At the very least answer her questions. You could show her sometime how C says "C" and A says "A" and T says "t" and when you blend them together you get cat. Just see if she gets it. If not then forget it. If she's interested then go for it. Follow her lead. If she just wants to know what they say, then read a book about what the letters say. There are plenty of cute ones out there (and a lot of obnoxious ones as well).<br><br>
Again, I'm all for play and imagination but I think it's silly to purposely hold back a child who is eager and ready to learn. It feels to me personally like not trusting the child's quest for knowledge and not honoring the individual. To me, it seems like putting a program above a child, forcing a child to fit a stereotype or system that they individually don't fit. Tho that program might be excellent and most children do better with delayed reading, not all children will fit into that. Why try to make her a square peg in a round hole?<br><br>
Now granted I'm not an anthroposophist. Tho I love Waldorf in many ways, I don't fear that if my child's brain is developed at a young age by her own leading that it is going to delay her physical development and cause her physical problems later in life. I don't believe that she will incarnate into this world too quickly that way and then not reach her full potential evolutionarily - which is much of the philosophy behind delayed academics in Waldorf. Again, while I think there is also scientific and practical backing to delayed academics, I plan to follow my child's lead above all else.<br><br>
Just my 2 cents worth... follow your own instincts about what's best for you child. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I do not have any experience as a parent of a 4 year old (DS is almost 8 months) to draw on when I offer my opinion, and I also have nothing new to offer... I think everyone so far is basically saying that going with your child is the most important guide.<br><br>
As an OT I support the idea of not pushing academics on children younger than 6/7. However, if a child is asking questions and figuring things out on their own it seems silly to not answer or avoid giving a direct answer.<br><br>
I would avoid trying to 'test' how much my child knows and just leave him/her to *be* and give direct answers. As I am writing this reply, I see how confusing it all can be. There is no formula and it really all does come down to letting your child be your guide and honoring your child's needs - not what we have been taught are our children's needs. It can get pretty confusing.<br><br>
So, as with most advice, I think it comes down to you needing to go with your heart/intuition on this issue<br><br>
Good luck
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Attached Mama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12367836"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am fully in support of delaying academics, but when a child really wants to learn, then I think that's different. We wouldn't try to keep our child from walking early or talking early or playing pretend early or jumping early or any other thing. So I think the idea of delaying reading when a child sincerely wants to read, is eager and ready to read is silly at best. Trust her initiation.At the very least answer her questions. You could show her sometime how C says "C" and A says "A" and T says "t" and when you blend them together you get cat. Just see if she gets it. If not then forget it. If she's interested then go for it. Follow her lead. If she just wants to know what they say, then read a book about what the letters say. There are plenty of cute ones out there (and a lot of obnoxious ones as well).<br><br>
Again, I'm all for play and imagination but I think it's silly to purposely hold back a child who is eager and ready to learn. It feels to me personally like not trusting the child's quest for knowledge and not honoring the individual. To me, it seems like putting a program above a child, forcing a child to fit a stereotype or system that they individually don't fit. Tho that program might be excellent and most children do better with delayed reading, not all children will fit into that. Why try to make her a square peg in a round hole?<br><br>
Now granted I'm not an anthroposophist. Tho I love Waldorf in many ways, I don't fear that if my child's brain is developed at a young age by her own leading that it is going to delay her physical development and cause her physical problems later in life. I don't believe that she will incarnate into this world too quickly that way and then not reach her full potential evolutionarily - which is much of the philosophy behind delayed academics in Waldorf. Again, while I think there is also scientific and practical backing to delayed academics, I plan to follow my child's lead above all else.<br><br>
Just my 2 cents worth... follow your own instincts about what's best for you child. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: Follow your daughter's lead on this. If she is eager, answer her questions, let her explore (i.e. don't shield her in the name of "school of thought"), and, most of all, enjoy life. Just because we label something as "academic", eagerness to learn to read/write should be treated no differently, IMHO, than eagerness to "learn" everyday things that a typical 4yo wants to explore (through drawing pictures, communicating new words, asking what bugs eat for dinner, etc.). Frankly, discouraging or ignoring her desire to explore, IMO, cannot have a good outcome, regardless of your school of thought.
 

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my grandson had an outbreak of interest in arithmetic a few months ago...he started doing addition problems in his head...he can't write yet...and doing very well with it...no one either encouraged or discouraged him. We went along with the interest, played with numbers when he wanted to play, played with other things when he didn't. I just realized that the interest has died away and he is busy doing other things. I'm sure it will come back again, sooner or later, and probably die away again and come back again, until the time comes when he actually wants to settle down and really master arithmetic.<br><br>
The same thing happened with my granddaughter and reading and writing. She would work hard on this for a few days, let it go for awhile, take it up again, let it go.<br><br>
So the main danger of a parent being supportive of a child's interest is in sustaining the interest beyond the point where the child would have naturally let it go for awhile. The signals can be very subtle. The line between responding to interest and encouraging a child to go beyond their interest is very fine.<br><br>
I'll put it this way: there is no possible harm in a child learning how to read later than 4 or 5 or 6. So exercising reasonable caution about encouraging a child to read early is not injuring them in any way. Knocking the pencil out of the child's hand, telling them they are too young, not answering questions...those are not the techniques I'm recommending!<br><br>
Now that I have two grandchildren I can see how very different children can be. The responses which were right for my granddaughter would represent burdensome "pushing" for my grandson. And some of the responses which are right for my grandson would have been very "pushy" for my granddaughter. They have different capacities and different interests. But they both needed plenty of time to be small children in an imaginative, dreamy, pre-academic world. In their totally different ways.
 

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Deborah,<br>
I have never heard this and am curious,<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">And she has good eyesight. Mine is lousy...which is a non-sequitor...except that there is a definite connection between the onset of literacy and bad eyesight. On a population level.</td>
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Do you have links?
 

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no, although I could probably track it down. apparently bad eyesight is vanishingly small in primitive cultures and begins to appear with literacy. there is a hereditary element, and perhaps some degree of evolutionary pressure. once literacy becomes advantageous, people with bad eyesight will survive, rather than getting bashed before they can reproduce.
 

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I've come up with an actual example of a child pushing to learn something when unready and the less than wonderful consequences, so with no further ado...<br><br>
My granddaughter learned how to knit in first grade and loved it. About half-way through the year she harassed her mom until she got her to teach her how to purl. So far, no problems and she happily forged ahead to more complex knitting.<br><br>
Last year, in second grade, she decided she was ready to learn how to knit in the round, using double-pointed needles. Her mother didn't think she was ready and tried to discourage her. But she kept nagging and finally my daughter gave in. Big mistake. She wasn't ready, has had endless trouble with her project and is beginning to feel negative about handwork in general and knitting in particular.<br><br>
Hopefully she'll get over it. However, it is important to remember that children don't necessarily have good judgement about big picture questions. My grandson, for example, would be very happy if someone taught him how to drive a car. And I'm pretty sure he would try to drive one if he had the opportunity.<br><br>
It is up to parents to decide if kids are actually ready to tackle something new. Sometimes we do have to say no, sometimes we can let them try it and discover that they aren't ready, sometimes they can mess around a bit and then move on to something else. And sometimes they really are ready.<br><br>
There are only a few things in child development with a narrow window of opportunity. Reading isn't one of them. A child who learns how to read at 5 or 6 or 7 will not be behind at college time from one who learned at 4, honest! Unless the child who learned at 4 is a genius. But encouraging your child to learn to read early will not turn a child of average abilities into a genius...I don't think...
 

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My daughter turned 3 a month ago and she has also on her own become very interested in letters - the shapes and sounds and how to write them. I am interested in Waldorf and learning more about it but do not currently structure our home life in a Waldorf fashion (that's my caveat to you!).<br><br>
I am currently following her lead, when she wants to know something she can ask me and I will tell her. She sometimes makes up games where she'll make letters out of objects and I'll play with her. I think it's amazing that she is teaching herself and has the desire to learn this knowledge at her age.<br><br>
Again, I'm trying to be supportive and encouraging at her request. If she brings it up or asks, I engage, but I don't really suggest anything. My DH showed her CAT and she didn't quite get it (and I couldn't believe he was talkung with her about it). She is also very interested in lots of other things and I try to help her discover answers to the questions she has about the rest of the world too.<br><br>
My mom flashcarded me SO much at a young age. I remember it. Reading was fun, math PAINFUL. Still feel the same about both.
 

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One other thing to know is that children not only build phonic awareness (that is, the sound-spelling connection) but phonemic awareness before they learn to read. Phonemic awareness is the concept that the words we use are made up of individual sounds, and that those sounds can be broken apart and blended together. It's a skill that happens mainly auditorily, which is why it is so important to talk and tell stories to young children.<br><br>
My son, who's three, is very interested in working out the initial sound of words. He'll often comment that "t-t-t is for toy, Mommy," but I'm pretty sure that he's working out that initial sound, and not thinking about the spelling of the word on the page. He's been somewhat behind on his speech milestones, so I think he's working on make the sounds more clear both in his head and in his enunciation.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">And she has good eyesight. Mine is lousy...which is a non-sequitor...except that there is a definite connection between the onset of literacy and bad eyesight. On a population level.</td>
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">no, although I could probably track it down. apparently bad eyesight is vanishingly small in primitive cultures and begins to appear with literacy. there is a hereditary element, and perhaps some degree of evolutionary pressure. once literacy becomes advantageous, people with bad eyesight will survive, rather than getting bashed before they can reproduce.</td>
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Again, I have never heard of this definite connection and I am confused by your example. Do you think your eyesight is lousy because you learned to read at an earlier age than your granddaughter?
 

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Ok, jumping in here as someone who doesn't have a 4 year old, but has lots of experience with 4 year olds and an interest in both Steiner and Montessori. Some would say that 3-4 year olds start expressing an interest in letters (and numbers) during that time because they're in a sensitive period for language development. It seems to happen spontaneously in so many children. I've seen it happen lots of times in families that are very 'waldorf' as well as in families that have other philosophies. So if the interest is independent and child-led (giving them appropriate things to write with if they ask for them, etc., but not 'teaching' them), how is this harmful? Especially if it's just one part of a rich childhood of exploration?
 

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I knew Deborah would have some great responses to this question!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> Great knitting story- I could totally see that happening with DD- who learned to knit last year in grade 1, and keeps wanting me to teach her to knit in the round. I am glad I haven't!<br>
My son is 4 nearly 5- and he has interest in writing as well. But, not in learning to write, he wants only to write his 2 favorite words: Ollie (his name), and fox (his favorite animal). So I showed him how to write those two words just by writing them down for him to copy- and he is completely happy- I don't correct mistakes I don't do anything really.<br>
I agree with Deborah in the big mistake being parents pushing it beyond what naturally would have occured. I could have continued to teach my son how to write more and more words (and he is not ready <span style="text-decoration:underline;">at all</span>!)- when all he really wanted was to write those two words!
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kalimay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12374546"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Again, I have never heard of this definite connection and I am confused by your example. Do you think your eyesight is lousy because you learned to read at an earlier age than your granddaughter?</div>
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I can't go that far. I don't think the science supports it.<br><br>
My background is Jewish. A lot of Jewish people wear glasses. Jews have been, mostly, literate for over 2,000 years. In addition, Jewish culture has supported scholarship and encouraged scholars to marry and have lots of children. Jewish merchants, for example, would find a scholar to marry one of their daughters, bring the new son-in-law into the household and happily support the fellow plus all of his offspring. This was considered meritorious behavior. So in at least one culture, bad eyesight has not been selected for, but hasn't been selected against.<br><br>
There is a hereditary factor for my daughter's good eyesight. Her father didn't wear glasses. I'm hopeful that my grandkids will also have good eyesight as their father also doesn't wear glasses.<br><br>
I think early reading might make eyesight a little bit worse for those with a hereditary weakness. Beyond that I won't go.
 

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Deborah,<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I think early reading might make eyesight a little bit worse for those with a hereditary weakness. Beyond that I won't go.</td>
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I wish you had said it this way in your first post rather than<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">there is a definite connection between the onset of literacy and bad eyesight.</td>
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which is silly and misleading.
 

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i'm jewish, 34, learned to read between 4 and 5 and have perfect eyesight. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
i am also a big reader. at 7 i would go through a chapter book (ramona or whatever) in a couple of hours. i've probably read on average 2 new books a week since i was that age.<br><br>
ever since i had my baby that's all changed though. i have the same three books i've been trying to read for the past year and a half.<br><br>
interesting idea though.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kalimay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12378773"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Deborah,<br><br><br><br>
I wish you had said it this way in your first post rather than<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">there is a definite connection between the onset of literacy and bad eyesight.</td>
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which is silly and misleading.</div>
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Oh my! Now that I see that I understand where the confusion arose. I was speaking historically. When a culture starts learning how to read (missionaries come in, for example) eyeglasses usually arrive within a generation or two. I thought my statement about this not applying to individuals made it clear, but obviously not.<br><br>
Sorry!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 
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