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waldorf support thread

1329 Views 36 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  IdentityCrisisMama
. A thread that had begun in support of Waldorf parents has been closed (from tribal) and so I figured I would start it up here.
I wanted to thank Rhonwyn for her notes on how a kindergarteners day/ school yr will change once in first. Thanks, soooo much. It's exciting and scary for me and I want to be able to support my son as much as possible. so, knowing it may be chaotic and such is a good heads-up. And I do believe it will be a beautiful journey as well!
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I want you to know that I have been lurking on the Waldorf threads.

We have a few years until dd is ready for school, but I am so attracted to the Waldorf method. We are planning on going to some of the mom and baby stuff at our local school this fall - I think they start at 15 months. Yes - I over plan everything (I had info on schools when I was 4 months pregnant).

I have read Over the Rainbow Bridge and I'm working on You are your Childs First teacher there are a few things that Im not sure of (like the views on extended breastfeeding) but I am very impressed.

So, Hi everyone!
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Hello Ami, welcome. There's nothing wrong with planning. Im an awful planner. I dont know how this happened, but somehow I just get by.
Waldorf view on bfing is usually dependent on who you talk to at which scchool. There apparently has been something written by Rudolph steiner regarding the young child and his "connection' to mom and people have interpreted certain things like this as meaning early (in these days) weaning. personally I understand this to be one of many views that are open to interpretation. some people and some schools are more rigid in their thinking of how steiners views should be put into place. but many understand the need for flexiblility in certain matters.
Another lurker here too. Hope you don't mind if I sit in on the conversation.

DD is now 31 months and when I was about 7 months pregnant, Dh and I took a tour of the most enchanting Waldorf school! It is situated in the woods near a very arts based mountain town and the people were so wonderful and kind.

We are moving to this town in the next year once dh is done his apprenticship and we hope to be able to afford to send dd to this school.

We read You are your child's first teacher together and it was a wonderful bonding experience for my dh and I.

Anyhow just wanted to say "hello!"
just saying "hi". my dd will be attending a waldorf preschool in the fall.
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Hi momtokay! welcome and thanks for joining us! as Waldorf parents sometimes we can have concerns and/or need support as this type of education is very different and you know how that goes
people around us are often questioning us and we just may question ourselves. Even If it IS an awesome choice, we need support at times. also, it's good to get input as to what others are experiencing in their schools because some schools vary and yet need help in certain areas.
so, anyway momtokay, Will it be the three day a week class for your child ??
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Hi, I'd love to join this group as well.

I have 20 month old twin girls and am a member of our local Waldorf initiative. We currently have a preschool that my girls will attend when it's time, and if we get a grade school going, I'd love for them to go there as well.

I have worked with children professionally in the mental health field and became interested in Waldorf when my mom found out about it and decided to go back to school to become a Waldorf early childhood teacher (she is actually the teacher at our local Waldorf preschool).

I love the approach to early childhood and think it is so unfortunate that it is seen as out of the mainstream because I think so much of the Waldorf approach in early childhood is completely backed by child development research...the importance of play, protecting the senses, etc.

I look forward to chatting with all of you. I have read some posts by Rhowyn (hope I spelled that right), and THANK GOODNESS you are on these boards! You have responded so perfectly to other posts about Waldorf.

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Hi there,

I am the mother of a 4 yo DD who is attending a Waldorf based preschool in the fall as well. I'm really interested to here other parent's experiences with Waldorf education! I know a handful of adults who have gone through Waldorf based education, as well as a few children. I'm very attracted to what I know about the curriculum-- although I am very daunted by the cost of the local Waldorf school in my community. I have been starting to do some reading about the philosophy-- does anybody have any other books they would recommend that I check out? On another note-- I would love to discuss what it is about Waldorf that attracted us in the first place. For myself, my daughter is very bright and also extremely stubborn. She generally will resist if she feels she is being forced to learn something on somebody else's timeline-- however, when given freedom to pursue at her own pace she takes to new things like water. I'm really attracted to the Waldorf perspective of those magical years-- and to not forcing linear thinking on our kids at such a young age.

My concern about Waldorf (and I'd love to hear other more seasoned Waldorf parents perspective on this) is whether it is "academic" enough. How does a Waldorf schooled kid cross paths with a more mainstream educational environment? How and when does the Waldorf approach integrate all the basics (the math and reading...etc)?

I look forward to getting to know more! Thanks for the new thread!
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Having said all this I will repeat what I posted in a thread about a month ago, 'I have never met so many 'AP' parents in one place as I have in our school's community'. I like that when my dd has a playdate, I know what to expect, that when she goes to a b-day party, there will only be healthy snacks (no processed junk), & that if she goes to a classmates home she will not find Barbie, Gameboy or a visible TV.

I'm glad I have this forum to share my thoughts & experience.

Originally Posted by lauraess
so, anyway momtokay, Will it be the three day a week class for your child ??
Yup, she's going to be going M/T/W next year. I wasn't even going to send her to preschool, but Waldorf preschool just seems so "right" for DD. She's one of those kids who spends a lot of time "in her head" -- trying to teach herself how to spell/read already, always wanting to know what street we are on and giving me directions how to get places, etc. -- and I love the "play" approach to Waldorf early child education. I would love for her to learn how to climb a tree.
And she adores being outside. Plus, she's a child who does well with "knowing what comes next" so I think the daily/weekly rhythm to a Waldorf preschool will just resonate with her.

I do have a confession though. We almost didn't put her in the preschool since she watches about an hour of TV a week. We have a Tivo (like a digital VCR) so she only ever watches one of three shows (non-violent, toddler level programs), but I'm worried a lot of the other parents wouldn't even want her around their kids because she has seen TV. It's just her mind-numbing thing to do every now and again when she's overtired.
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Can anyone explain the TV topic in reference to Waldorf school. Is is a requirement that the children do not watch TV? My dd watches dvd's but no tv. Maybe one or two 1/2 hour shows a week. No more than about 1 hour of videos a week. Is this bad?

Now I am nervous......we are very outdoorsy people....hardly ever watch the tv but its in our house.
mountain mom...every school deals with media in a slightly different way, but in general, Waldorf schools feel that children should live with THEIR imagination, not the imagination/creations of others, ie media...and you can ask 20 different schools/Waldorf teachers and get 20 different answers to your question about "is 1 hour of dvd too much?" - do you feel it is too much? does your child talk about it all the time, re-create it in her play, etc? those are the types of things a Waldorf teacher would ask, watch for and be concerned about. both teachers and schools are all very different, free will is BIG in the Waldorf movement :)
Mountain mom: Do Not worry mama. all is fine. Waldorf is generally a very natural education that believes that the media and even electronic noise like that of the radio is not The Best for young children. The approach is from the standpoint of the spiritual and physical body that is not entirely "here" on earth but somewhere inbetween i guess you would say. so, to honor and protect the natural evolution of the spirit and body into it's proper harmony with the earth they ask that we reduce or totally limit t.v. radio computer use. At our school we signed a contract. There will still be those that dont adhere even after signing as there isnt a sure-fire way of holding anyone to this. The teachers and parents will figure out who watches what as it will be revealed thru play and talk amongst the kids.
but i've never heard of a child being put out because of it. Especially a young one, i would think at the most you might get a "talk".
hmmm, glad to know that it'll probably be just fine that she watches a bit of tv. it doesn't seem to be a huge part of her play, except for the fact that she sometimes talks about an imaginary cat friend named sagwa (who has friends named dogwa, pogwa, mogwa, and cuddly). apparently sagwa is a show that she saw at her grandmother's house and is also a book. btw, i've never seen it ever discussed nor was it mentioned when we visited the local waldorf grade school, do they limit books as well? my dd loves to hear stories.

I have been wondering the exact same thing! My DD also has very limited TV exposure (pretty much just Clifford and Zoom on PBS), but we are planning to send her to a Waldorf preschool this fall and I've worried that we've "contaminated" her too much for the Waldorf esthetic! I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one! But I'm also really attracted to her playing with other non-media kids... at her previous preschool she would come home talking about Disney and Powerpuff girls, all of which she's never seen before. I didn't like it at all!
I think being around more children who are not exposed to as much TV will help her to feel like it's ok for her not to be exposed to it as well!
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My girls had very little exposure to TV b4 going to Waldorf Kinder, the Spring b4 dd was to start, I shut it off for good, she never asks for it. In the past 2 yrs I have let her see video of herself & her sister as babies,maybe 4 or 5 times, they love that.

As someone mentioned above, if your child is watching TV, the teachers & other parents will pick up on it. We had one child last yr in my dd's class talking about playing "Lord of the Rings" and 'killing' everyone, this out of the mouth of a 4 yr old! I spoke with the teacher immediately, she spoke to the parents. The child is not coming back in Sept., I will admit I'm thrilled. How do you allow a 4 yr to watch such a violent movie?, I walked out of the room for over a 1/2 hr & upon my return some bloody battle was still going on. DH & I will watch DVD's at night after the girls have gone to bed, but the TV is hidden in a cabinet & NEVER turned on during the day or when they are awake. The girls are not at all curious about it b/c when they go to a relative's home & a TV is on, they couldn't care less, in fact they spend their time trying to pry the other children away fromthe tv to play dress up or just go outside & play.

Our school also asks parents to sign a contract regarding 'no media'. Some people adhere, so do not. Those who do not are not really committed to Waldorf. Unfortunately the child will suffer b/c playdates with classmates will be far & few between if any at all.

Books as far as I know are fine, they prefer that you 'tell' your child stories but books are fine. Our school story stocks my titles for early childhood children. Elsa Beskow, Jill Beckham, Mary Cicily Barker, & many others about fairies, gnomes, or sweet stories about everyday life (a long time ago). My girls get a least 8 books from the library every week in addition to the 5 or 6 titles I buy every month. I also 'tell' them one story every night & some times more while driving. Kids love to hear about when you were their age.
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I'm probably the only parent here who has experienced waldorf in the upper grades and high school. I went to a waldorf school from the middle of 8th grade to the middle of 10th. My daughter attended from preschool through HS with a break in the middle: half of 8th in a public school and then 1 1/2 years of homeschooling.

After my two years of waldorf I went back to a public HS. My brother "marked my card" (totally illegally) and got me into the honors program. I had no difficulty getting straight A's. Many years later, when I finally got around to going to college, I again had no problem getting straight A's, except in Ancient Greek (I'm not good at languages). I think my two years of waldorf made a huge difference in my academic career. In public school, things were taught in small boxes. Math over here, literature over there, history in another space. And even within subjects, connections were frequently not made. Of course this was in the 50's and early 60's. Perhaps there has been some improvement?

To give a concrete example, in American history we learn about the French and Indian War. It wasn't until I was a grown-up that I figured that this was actually part of the Seven Years War, a huge struggle between the French and English for world domination, with battles in India, Europe, all over the high seas and a few unimportant skirmishes in North America. At that point, the English desire to get the colonies to pay for their own part of the war made sense: the English were broke after fighting a all over the world for seven years.

Anyway, the waldorf approach of linking ideas together and teaching across subjects was very exciting and opened up my thinking. It is exactly the sort of approach that college level profs like. If you can write papers that link and connect and show real thinking you get better grades. Trouble is, many years memorization and multiple choice tests are not good prep.

My daughter took a couple of years off after high school before going to college. She eventually completed a degree environmental engineering, specializing in water quality, especially surface water. If you want to make a joke of it, you could say that she is an expert on mud puddles! She did very well in college, getting high grades while working two or three jobs (I was in college at the same time, so she had to support herself). I asked her if waldorf had helped or hindered. She felt that it had helped her cope with college level work in several ways:

1)She knew how to do things from scratch and was interested in really getting down to the core ideas, rather than just memorizing enough to pass the tests

2)She was self-confident and iconoclastic, willing to argue against or for almost anything in the process of learning

3)Her ability to visualize in 3 dimensions, to draw, etc., all proved to be useful for advanced math courses and engineering courses

4)Her HS had required lots of paper writing, so she was well-prepared for college level work.

5)In a waldorf HS a full range of science courses is required: she had physics, chemistry, mechanics, biology, botany and more

Anyway, I think I've said enough. I would like to point out that waldorf schools vary lot and not all waldorf schools would provide as good a foundation as this one did. Ask questions, look at the teachers qualifications, check out the main lesson books, etc.


Just one more thought: my daughter has her daughter in waldorf already, so I think you could say that she is very happy with her educational experience!
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Lord of the Rings for a 4-year old. I don't even like to watch violence let alone let my kids see something like that.
Actually, there was some "gun play" at a couple of the preschools I visited. Though I suppose I don't know if it was media inspired or picked up from older siblings. DD had no idea why they were pointing sticks at her and going "peu peu bang bang". I'm hoping she doesn't learn about such things until she's older, but I guess I can only shelter her for so long, sniff, sniff.

And Nana, thanks so much for talking about your experience and your daughters. Three generations of Waldorf education. How neat!
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Yes, story-telling to the younger ones is preferred in Waldorf, It's a primary teaching tool in Kindergarten. And, as far as books for reading there is a bit of a grey area- or at least im not too aware about the thinking on this matter- except that i've heard too many books is not good just as, anything else that can be "too Much"--- like in the sense of overstimulation. The children in the lower grades are not "allowed to " attend certain events in which the older ones are participating. Their is a deep respect for their level of learning and the place that they are at --- somewhere between heaven and earth--. I personally "like" the concept and think that no-matter how you put it, they are innocent and must be protected in many areas. to my dh and i this just make sense on so many levels.
Definately I have decided along with my husband to eliminate the TV even though the viewing time doesn't top more than 2 hours for the week for the whole family.

I loved your post Nana and everyone!
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