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Any thoughts on using Enki or any of the Waldorf Kindergarten materials to better engage a gifted 3 year old without 'academics'?<br><br>
How do the various K materials compare (Enki, Christopherus, Live Ed, Oak Meadow, etc) especially with a gifted 3 year old in mind.<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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I have a gifted child (and we're Waldorf-inspired as well!) and am planning on using Enki at age 5.5 for dd (this would be kindy age for her. she's currently 4.5). I have considered doing it early but to be honest, I think she'll get more out of it later, and age 4 for dd has been a bit of a defiant, don't-try-and TEACH-me-anything phase. What I have done is get more in-depth into what we already do--we check out about 30 books a month (all seasonal) and read those, along with classics like Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter. We act out stories we make up, do puppet shows, paint together, play with playdough, do building projects, do more nature walks, play play play. I have used Seasons of Joy and A Little Acorn for ideas, as well as various blogs. We sing and dance to the songs from the Come Follow Me CDs. Essentially, we try and just go more in-depth into what we do--do more experimentation with art, do more sensory play, do more to encourage imaginative experiences, do more seasonal awareness, etc. Have you considered the Wynestones Season books and books like A Child's Seasonal Treasury? I write all our fingerplays and come up with our own festivals (we're Christian so we follow the liturgical church calendar). We do lots of rhymes, tongue twisters, etc. We work on just letting dd climb and jump and really "get into her body." We really focus on just experiencing more together as a family. I actually find just following dd's lead and browsing a few good blogs to be the best inspiration for us, however.<br><br>
We are currently planning on Enki through grade 2 (or 3 if it is released in time!) and then either planning our own path or combining our own stuff with Live Ed. I think if you're really wanting to use a curriculum right now Enki would probably work best. I find Christopherus really dry and scripted (and Donna Simmons does NOT seem to favor "gifted" children--I've read several of her pieces in which she downplays giftedness, blames it on the parents, or somehow asserts that gifted children are not good). Also, Christopherus starts at grade 1, which is really inappropriate, I think for a 3 yo.
 

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I was going to suggest that you start learning about the different philosophies. Read <span style="text-decoration:underline;">You Are Your Child's First Teacher</span> and see if it works for you. Read some of Steiner's writings. Here is a website with a bunch of his work published online<br><br><a href="http://wn.rsarchive.org/Articles/EduChild/EduChi_essay.html" target="_blank">http://wn.rsarchive.org/Articles/Edu...Chi_essay.html</a><br><br>
In Kindergarten, anthroposphy does not seem to play as big a role as with older Kindergarten kids (age 6-7) and First grade kids (7). Donna Simmon's Christopherous is a traditional Waldorf curriculum and follows anthroposophy closely.<br><br>
Enki has Waldorf components, but is not Waldorf. I didn't see it as much before first grade, but now that we are in first, the differences are becoming more clear. The view of the child is different, the "message" in the stories are different. The math has some similarities, but includes manipulatives and Montessori components (and more). Same with Language Arts.<br><br>
Enki definitely fits more with our Alfie Kohne lifestyle. Enki allows for more individual differences between the children, and how the parent works with them. When you are introducing letter and number qualities in first grade, there is more than one story per letter to chose from. I haven't seen that from any of the Waldorf curriculums I have viewed (I've seen 3 - two of which I own).<br><br>
The material in the Enki curriculum is pretty immense and some find it overwhelming. I just jumped in with the rhythm and then learned more about the why's as I was going along. I have read the childhood guides at least 4 times. The first year of Kindergarten has the steepest learning curve, but it gets easier, and of course the more you read the manuals, the more you really understand what you are doing and why. But, I figure that I should know what I am doing and why anyway. As I became more familiar with the choices for songs and stories, etc I have found that I appreciate the volume of the materials.<br><br>
If I were you, I'd also join this group <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EnkiExperience/" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EnkiExperience/</a><br>
and read through the files sections. I'd also try and hook up with someone nearby so that you could look at their books.<br><br>
FWIW - Oak Meadow is also not considered Waldorf by most. It is Waldorfish, but for one thing, I have heard that Oak Meadow has decreased the age of the child being introduced to letters, etc.<br><br>
Good Luck finding your fit.
 

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Sorry, I forgot about the gifted part. Pretend your child was to start playing with academics early, such as learning letters, or in my son's case, matching all of the addresses on the mail boxes to the houses (phew that made for long walks), doing math, whatever...<br><br>
My experience with Waldorf was that I felt shame and worry. Oh my, what is my child doing to his brain? What am I doing wrong that he is learning this so young? What can I do to distract him? Maybe this is just because of my "circle" I don't know.<br><br>
With Enki, the view point is "Oh look, DS is playing with the alphabet. Ds is playing with writing." You don't sit down and start teaching them to read and write right then. But, you don't inhibit them either. You consider it the same as play.<br><br>
If you buy Enki through EnkiEducation.org, then you can join in on monthly phone calls which I have found very helpful. Usually someone has dealt with my issue before. And Beth is very knowledgeable. She has built my confidence and pointed me in a better direction plenty of times.
 

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Thank you so much numericmom (Lux, too--you're always so helpful!!)<br><br>
While I have yet to get through any original Steiner, DH's family is Waldorf to the core (mom has Masters and taught Waldorf, mom and dad helped start Waldorf school in Richmond, VA, dad heavily involved with it and anthroposophy, DH and SIL both did Waldorf all the way through, and I have been reading for 6+ years--just not original stuff yet!) I'm pretty well versed in the pedagogy.<br><br>
I feel pulled to Enki for EXACTLY the same reasons that you are numericmom, and I am also constantly wondering what I did or didn't do that lead to this advanced little kid. But we follow Waldorf home-life recommendations to a T, so I know it is simply who he is--we also had a chart reading done with William Bento (from Star Wisdom) that confirms for me that DS was given these gifts for a very important task in life.<br><br>
I think I'll look around the link numericmom posted and then perhaps get the K Enki stuff--worst that happens is I just use some of the stories and movement and hold off on 'really' doing it for another year or two.<br><br>
Thanks for all the input mamas! Happy to hear from others!
 

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DD is 3 and also seems to be gifted, and I've also recently become Waldorf-inspired in our hsing.<br><br>
Most of DD's "schooling" so far has actually been Montessori-based, and I think that's a great approach since it totally follows their lead, you don't have to worry that you're pushing them too much, but they also have the opportunity to explore when they're ready for it. There are several places online where you can get the MOntessori manuals for free, we've made some materials at home ourselves and bought others 'official' from Montessori dealers.<br><br>
We've also recently started her with RightStart math, level A. We go very slowly, of course -- we do a new lesson once in awhile, when I think she's ready for the next one or interested or whatever, rather than on any particular schedule. She LOVES the lessons, though she only holds her attention well for about 15 minutes or so before she just starts "playing". I think that's actually pretty good for her age, and we're usually able to do the whole official 'lesson' within those 15 minutes, and her 'playing' is also usually related to the lesson -- she's just being creative and doing her own versions of the activities, which is Just Fine!!<br><br>
She also likes trying to write (she can write several letters), drawing and painting (we often use Waldorf painting ideas), and she loves typing. She's starting to read -- we've used the books at progressive phonics and some Reading Eggs and Starfall -- not because those are particularly 'good' at 'teaching' reading, but because it's something she's interested in and they're the appropriate level for her. She also likes worksheets that involve cutting on lines, or tracing shapes, or circling numbers, etc.<br><br>
The main thing is that we just don't push anything that's "academic" -- we have these various things that we can pull out when she's interested, and once in awhile I'll suggest something to see if she is. But for the most part, she just plays on her own, creative and imaginative play. We bought some playsilks, for instance, and she plays with her kitchen set and building blocks, and with her imaginary friends... And she plays outside a lot. I try not to 'script' her play but just leave her to her imagination. In those ways, we incorporate Waldorf and Montessori.<br><br>
As she gets a little older, we'll do more story-based learning -- not that she doesn't get enough stories now lol... but a-la Waldorf/Enki, we'll read more folk tales from around the world (I picked up a book of Chinese childrens' stories recently which we love) and fairy tales and mythologies, that sort of thing, and we'll have her draw pictures from those stories.<br><br>
We also have found a Waldorf playgroup in our area that gets together once in awhile for nature walks, etc. It's primarily for preschoolers too!
 

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I was just reading one of the above posts about the guilt experienced with Waldorf and I must say I am so glad that I'm not the only one! I have found combining Waldorf with giftedness to be a huge challenge simply because of the rigidity of anthroposophy. We recently went to our local Waldorf school's May Day festival and happened to meet the nursery teacher. Dd has just recently started liking attention from adults she doesn't know so she went up to her and told the woman her name (which is Cecily, so it's rather unusual) and then proceeded to spell it for the lady. Dd has been spelling and reading her name since she was 2, and I know she did it partly to impress this teacher. The teacher, of course, stood there with this shocked and appalled expression on her face. I hate that I felt embarrassed by dd's natural abilities and inclinations. I hate that this woman made me feel this way. I hate that Waldorf as a whole looks down on the things that interest my child most--I have one of those children who will not play with hardly any of her Waldorf-approved toys but prefers tin cans, bleepy toys, things that light up--and to be fair she plays with these things VERY creatively--far more so than I've seen most Waldorf kids doing with their Waldorf toys--but I always feel like I have to defend her and question myself, etc. I am just so sick of dragging around this Waldorf guilt suitcase everywhere. Anyway ... /end rant.<br><br>
Another thought for you: I definitely think you could take the stories and movement exercises from Enki and run with them. However, what I have found that works best for my dd is setting a "form" (like the fact that we a fingerplay after breakfast, or acting out a poem or story, etc.) and then encouraging her to implement the form on her own (like, for example, I do write fingerplays for each week but I do it not for dd to necessarily "participate in" or "experience" that particular fingerplay but because after we do mine dd makes up one of her own, which I think is far more important to her development than anything I do. Does that make any sense? It's sort of like encouraging her own creativity by setting an example, I guess.) You can view the table of contents of the Enki curriculum so if you just wanted the stories you could see what is offered in kindy and then get them through your library or bookstore. You may already know that, but if not, I thought you might be interested. If you do get the Enki kindy stuff, would you mind letting me know how it works out for you since we're going to be getting it soon? Best wishes!
 

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I have the Enki K materials and really appreciate the strong philosophy without the guilt, as so many of you have posted. I appreciate the reminder to not get more excited by the academic creations than other creative expression (i.e. appreciate the beautiful drawing as much as the accurate math work or letter writing or whatever). I personally also appreciate that Enki is a step away from the very European and Christian roots of Waldorf.<br>
Enki has a TON of materials but somehow I don't find it overwhelming, so far anyway. I'm just using it as a resource. Some of my homeschooling friends have said that they found it guilt-ing in a different way, that they thought they were supposed to do everything in the suggested schedules and felt like failures when they didn't get to all of it. I'm a year away from officially K homeschooling so I can't really speak to that but somehow the materials to me seem like a great guide that I can make choices from. It did seem to me that a fair number of the craft suggestions would be too advanced for my 3 yr old. Also he is not yet interested in a lot of stories without pictures. I asked Enki for preschooling suggestions and they basically advised to wait until K or use their ideas for incorporating rhythm.<br>
I am also finding that Montessori manipulatives are so very valuable for moving forward with a very math inspired child. I wish I had all of them! I appreciate David Gettman's Basic Montessori: Learning Activities For Under-Fives book for a guideline to the activities as well as suggestions for which manipulatives might be easy to make at home, and how to do so.
 
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