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All this has me thinking. Do you feel that you NEED to keep a "Waldorf in your home" atmosphere in order for your child to attend a Waldorf School? I want your opinions on this. Do you think it's important to have a no TV, no recorded music, biodynamic, caps on babies heads, beeswax crayon home if you send your child to a Waldorf school?<br><br>
Or do you think it's OK to send your child to the Waldorf school for the enrichment of his/her life and education, ex: not such a stress of early academics, outdoor play, daily rhythm, lack of importance of media inspired material goods.<br><br>
I want your HONEST opinions on this. You Waldorf parents out there- do you look down upon the parents who let thier kids watch TV and listen to recorded music and are allowed to eat a Hostess cupcake every now and then. Just wondering- I'll give my opinion on this after a few responses have been made.
 

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No, and I would say that VERY FEW, if any, folks at our Waldorf school feel that way. My kids have hostess on occasion, watch TV every once in awhile, and listen to recorded music.<br><br>
I think it's about keeping things in moderation, and following what you feel comfortable doing. I think if your child goes to school everyday talking about the cartoons he watched the day before or insists on playing Pokemon on the playground, he's going to have a hard time assimilating to Waldorf school. But if he knows to keep the "TV talk" in check, he's fine.<br><br>
Personally, I've always felt very comfortable with our lifestyle and Waldorf. We don't follow every suggestion, one being a 7pm bedtime, but I understand it. I don't think it has to be as black and white, as some folks may think. Maybe our school's a little more laid back. We actually had KFC at a potluck, and no one threw stones. (I think it all got eaten!)<br><br>
I try to provide a wide range of activities for my kids. We draw with beeswax crayons, but we also have crayola, and gasp, even coloring books.<br><br>
So, for myself, I do not judge anyone. I say we all love and want the best for our kids. We strive to provide what we feel is important and healthy, but at the same time, a hostess twinkie isn't going to mess your kid up for life!<br><br>
Peace
 

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I honestly don't know how waldorf our home is, though I try to keep things in balance. I was only introduced when I was about 6 months pregnant with my now 8 month old daughter. I really liked it. So I enrolled my son in preschool there and have been going to a more waldorf inspired atmosphere since.<br><br>
My children don't watch TV anymore, though they used to and I cut their 30 minutes a day to rarely ever (not because of waldorf). My husband did turn on the footbal game this Sunday with my son, but my son lasted about 30 minutes watching it before he got too ansty and it was turned off.<br><br>
We got rid of alot of our plastic and character toys. I loved that waldorf finally gave me an excuse to! We kept a few Rescue Heroes and he has legos, Mr Potato Head, mainstream type games (Old MacDonald's Farm, some magnetic Fishing Game, etc) but the kids much prefer building corrals for farm animals with the wooden blocks and the never missed the toys we got rid of (over 10 garbage bags full at once).<br><br>
I did put away colouring books unless they ask. But we use Crayola crayons and coloured paper (or white) to colour on. There seemed to be a debate on black crayons a while back (I can't actually remember the debate as the threads get too long for me to follow most of the time <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"> ) and we still have black crayons here.<br><br>
We do eat alot of biodynamic food, which I have been spoiled with, thanks to my CSA. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/luxlove.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="throb"> I didn't realize biodynamic food was related to waldorf until after I found waldorf education and suddenly realized that Steiner had a hand in both (it took a few months, heehee).<br><br>
When I talk to other parents of children in the preschool, alot of them lean towards more natural parenting in many ways. They may allow their kids to watch TV but use homeopathic medicine, etc. I personally don't really care much how other's homes are in respect to waldorf as long as my son isn't influenced by it. ie: If the school served Hostess as a snack, I would be horrified! If one kid brings his for lunch, well, that's that kid's lunch! Now, if my son comes home knowing some catch phrase from the latest popular cartoon character, I might rethink paying money for waldorf because I wouldn't feel I was getting what I paid for. I feel pretty strongly about the media issue in children. However, I probably contribute a bit to it since I am a big lover of techno and trance music and I am most positive it is discouraged. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> But I think my music taste carries into the classroom about as much as that other child eating a hostess.<br><br>
I think I am coming across as judgmental when I am really trying not to (it's taking me forever to write this silly post). Honestly, I don't really care how other people parent or how their homelife is. But since I paid a tuition for my son to go to school, I would be disappointed if the homelife of the other children was affecting the "waldorfyness" (heh) of the classroom. That's really all I am trying to say! Really! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah">
 

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The very few really dogmatic families at the Waldorf schools I have experience with were the freaky people, not the norm. Most were ordinary people. A lot of people, especially with very young children, are drawn to Waldorf schools because they are already doing a lot of that stuff at home, not the other way around.
 

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Most of the parents I've met incorporate some Waldorf principles at home, but certainly not all. I haven't come across any judgementalism. Our own home has a lot of natural handcrafted items (because we're artists), but we also watch tv and listen to recorded music. I've noticed plenty of kids bringing prepackaged jello and wonderbread in their lunchbags.<br>
You should get a sense of the parents at the particular school you are considering. We looked at two different Waldorf schools, both equally good. We decided that we had more in common with the families of one school than the other and felt more comfortable in that environment.
 

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I do parent/child w/ my ds. We have tons of recorded music & are not about to give that up! I was very surprised about that at Waldorf, A teacher mentioned it. I actually almost started laughing outloud because I thought it was sooo silly. We don't have music on as background 24/7 but we do play a lot of music, & both my dh & I are musicians (not by profession but for enjoyment).<br><br>
I have started to get rid of a lot of the plastic toys though. I have seen a big difference in how my ds plays in the Waldorf environment & when there is tons of plastic toys. Very different, enough to make me think twice. We do have some things, I just cant afford to replace everything w/ wood & wool. Its way too expensive. But we are trying to simplify w/ toys.<br><br>
I read the thread about that black crayon as well. & I'm not getting rid of them either! We have crayola stuff right now.<br><br>
As for TV ds watches 3/4 times a week S Street. Sometimes a sign language dvd and football w/ dh. We don't leave the TV on as background & we dont have cable.<br><br>
We'd like to continue to send him to Waldorf but I'm taking things one day at a time, one year at a time.
 

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It isn't absolutely necessary but it helps. It really depends on your child and what they bring to school. Children who bring a lot of TV or junky food to school make it more difficult for the children whose families don't want TV or junky food. I have found that we have adjusted things as needed.<br><br>
When we started Waldorf we were not TV free. We pretty much are now, especially on nights before school. Our kids listened to recorded music but for my son we were asked to not listen to the radio or music in the mornings before school started because it overstimulated him. Later in the day was fine. We try to eat pretty healthy but have the occasional brownie, etc. Usually we don't pack sweet stuff in their lunches but save those for after school snacks.<br><br>
Our 4th grade teacher gave us a paper on the 'ideal' Waldorf home. She said that it was the 'ideal' and not the everyday reality. It was a goal but not something to beat yourself up over. All of the parents found some things that they were already doing. Everyone has to pick and chose what is best for their family.
 

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IMO, it helps to live waldorf at home(as much as it works for your family). What works for one family might not for another. We started going to waldorf when dd#1 was 1 to a mom and child group, so we were exposed early on. We don't do any TV, no plastic toys, healthy foods and yes bedtime at 7pm. I didn't think that the early bedtime would work, but we gave it a good try and its great. At school (dd#1 is now in 1st year kinder), I think things varies. TV is discouraged, but its really up to the parents. We have recorded music maybe 30 minutes a week. No radio(I listen to NPR), which makes sense because of the violence thats reported.<br>
The school is not judgemental. Its a great community and we all strive to do what we can and what works for our family.
 

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...so thanks for starting it! In fact, I finally got around to re-registering for these forums because of this set of issues.<br><br>
I've enrolled my son Max (29 months) in a co-op Waldorf preschool -- he's supposed to start in January, and up until this week I been extremely excited about it as I feel that a rhythmic, non-linear, highly imaginative environment will be such a gift for him. In fact, the OP in this thread expressed exactly my intentions & goals in pursuing a Waldorf preschool environment:<br><br>
"...for the enrichment of his/her life and education, ex: not such a stress of early academics, outdoor play, daily rhythm, lack of importance of media inspired material goods"<br><br>
But -- my husband and I took Max to the preschool this week to meet the new teacher (the original teachers, that we had met when we originally registered, have moved on). She's a 25-year veteran Waldorf teacher (mostly kindergarten) and seems like a lovely woman. Max seems to love the preschool classroom and playground.<br><br>
And -- this teacher left us with the distinct impression that unless we intend to faithfully replicate a textbook Waldorf environment at home (by which she explicitly meant zero exposure to books, other print or electronic media, zero "junk" food, the infamous early bedtime etc.) we don't belong in the preschool.<br><br>
Some background which affects our thinking here: Max has multiple developmental delays (motor & speech) and several autistic characteristics (including atypical sensory responses) and has been receiving early intervention services for almost a year. He's made a lot of progress and his neurologist has recently declared him A) definitely not autistic and B) without cognitive deficits -- in fact quite bright. So yay! early intervention.<br><br>
But his neurological quirks mean difficult sleeping patterns (and have from birth), endless texture & flavor & temperature aversions, and somewhat obsessive interests including puzzles, letters, & numbers (this last really horrified the Waldorf teacher, as you might imagine).<br><br>
Sooo -- should I just give up on my dream of Waldorf, since we're never going to be a particularly "good" Waldorf family (we have no intention of taking away Max's beloved books or puzzles, and enforcing a 7PM bedtime would require either interminable crying it out or me going to bed at seven with him, or more probably both, and we're certainly not going to discourage his interest in deciphering the letters and numbers he sees everywhere)?<br><br>
Or is it possible, as I had imagined, to have a modified-Waldorf home to accommodate his unique needs and comforts (the alphabet and numbers are like security blankets to him) but have him spend a few hours a day being encouraged to thrive in a wholly Waldorf environment?<br><br>
Please be honest, and feel free to email me -- I wouldn't want to do this if it would have a deleterious affect on other students and what their parents are trying to accomplish...<br><br>
Thanks for "listening"!<br><br>
Veronica, co-sleeping, still-breastfeeding mom to Max, 29 mos, happy wife to Michael, and non-co-sleeping, non-breastfeeding mom to three large dogs...
 

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I would ask to speak with someone else at the school (for example the enrollment director, or the level chair, or the college chair). Speak frankly about your concerns and your child's special needs and ask if things can be worked out. You have good, sensible reasons that doing a totally waldorf home won't work for you, and the school should be able to work with you if they are interested in having your family in the school.<br><br>
Good luck working things out.<br>
Nana
 

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The no books in print thing is weird. We were encouraged to read a lot to our children in Waldorf Kindergarten. We were also encouraged to tell our children stories from memory and from our childhoods. We never did the 7 PM bedtime because it was impractical from the standpoint that dh got home at 6:30 PM from work. Instead the kids napped in the afternoon for a couple of hours and went to bed at 8:30 PM.<br><br>
Talk to some others in the school as Deborah suggested. This teacher seems a bit extreme especially for a co-op.
 

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Veronica, I would run from that school as fast as I could. The teacher seems very extreme, critical, and like nothing you ever do as a parent will ever be good enough for the school. Are there any other Waldorf schools in the area? I'd start looking. Or possibly all the teachers at the school are not like this one and you'd be able to steer clear of her?
 

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I think it depends on your school and what they expect. SOme schools have you sign a contract that you will not watch TV at home (please correct me if I'm wrong!!!)<br>
Our school is in a rural part of the country, there is many different types of home and there is only a problem if it becomes a problem in the school atmosphere and then the teacher will work with you. I would find it hard to believe anyone would ask you to change your whole lifestyle!<br>
But we have little by little changed certain things about oour home since learning about Waldorf education and anthrposophy. Like TV and early bedtimes and routines -that has been positive. I use Crayols because I have a 2.5 year old now and I NEED washable crayons or else my home is destoyed and I will go insane.... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nut"> We watch TV occasionally as does a lot of families and our teachers say it is all moderation. My kids treat it as a treat not a norm. I am careful not to make my dd "hide" what we do at home, If anything becomes an issue I trust the teacher will bring it to my attention and we will work from there. I would imagine if ALL the kids do is watch TV, eat junk food, stay up all night and only play with loud electronic toys - it would cause issues in any school and I hope it could be brought some balance. But we're all learning, we all do our best and you may see that you want to change some things and not others. But like everyone else said --- I've never run into any judgment issues whatsoever. I run into way more judgements with other families ....especially my own family....about how our household works! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Some schools do have media contracts. Ours doesn't. The teachers generally explain why they believe media is not good for children and adivse to keep it out of the house as long as possible. Our eldest is in 4th grade and the teacher said this year that they could go see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The class has read the book and is doing the play.<br><br>
In Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd; the no TV or media thing was more emphasized. Most teachers won't say anything unless it is a problem. Our teacher has mentioned specific movies such as Harry Potter and Star Wars and asked us not to take our kids to see them.
 
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