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I visited the Waldorf school. This is a philosophy based on Rudolf Steiner's thoughts. I don't know a whole lot about it. However, what stood out to me as something to strive for follows.

  1. The teacher's stay with their students from first grade through 8th grade.They are very loving and patient with their children.
  2. They teach through story telling (as one method).
  3. They encourage the children to create on their own. Individuallity yields to future possibilities of affecting your world, of making a difference.
  4. Competition is not the way to go. Again, I think when a group of people are striving to make an improvement and they are not competing they are freer to look at things from many different angles than one another and thus come to great results. When you compete you tend to say "Hey, that guy has a great start I'm going to take it all the way." and then forget about the different angles one could look at the issue from and also forget about sharing your next ideas and brainstorming together.
  5. The most exciting thing I noticed at The Waldorf school - children are taught at a very young age how to do things and to stick with it until the end. The first graders cannot read but they can play many songs on the recorder, they can knit, they can carve wood and they can stick with a project over long periods of time - months. They are learning life. Most of the important things we do don't get done in a day. We have to be patient.

My personal belief, as a parent and a teacher, is that the basics will come if the child has a rich environment and has the capacity to learn. Parents must read with their children, and to themselves, although the Waldorf school disagrees at least not before their somewhere between 6 and 8 years old. (I am going back and I will ask about this.) I think educators need to be willing to take the children's leads. Of course the educator must supply an environment that calls for curiosity and exploration. People are naturally curious. We need to be patient and ready to guide, tell, play whatever the need of the child is.

My goal is to live with my children. Live life. They will learn to work together, all the skills (academic and non-academic) needed in life and they will be curious about things and learn things that I don't know. If we experience life with our children we can guide them to mentors and to objects (books, manipulatives, environment) that will broaden their knowledge and skills in any area.

Offered by Karen.