1387Re: [The Indigo Network] improving schools
- Jan 1, 2007Greetings,
As the parent of a 14 year Waldorf Student I feel the need to reply to this
letter about the lack of academics in Waldorf education. It simply isn't true.
It is just that the academics are hidden (so to speak) in the lower grades.
Reading isn't stressed in the lower grades either and it is because different
students "get" reading at widely different ages. For example, my daughter
didn't really read, couldn't, until seventh grade, 13 years-old. Today she is
a senior with a B+ average in a Waldorf high school that is considered to be an
"honors" program (whatever that means) and colleges are dying to get her.
The waldorf program is designed around developmental needs, not societal or
parental needs. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that "imagination stops
once a child starts to read" and I believe it is because they are getting
someone else's ideas and pictures of reality instead of making up their own.
My daughters friends, some who have been in the same class with her for 14
years, are some of the finest, brightest, kindist, self-motivated and
intelligent people I've ever met and they will save the world.
A parents (or teacher's) job is not to impart information to their child, their
job is to clear away distractions (TV, bad food, pressure, worry,etc.) so that
they can discover what they already know. And each child is different and
Waldorf respects, honors and loves that individuality in all it's wonderous
A good book is "You are your child's first teacher" by Rahima Baldwin.
Don't compare Waldorf/Steiner schools to other school systems, there is no
As a parent, past teacher & staff member of a Waldorf school I have learned as
much from the experience as has my beautiful daughter and her outstanding class
Quoting lbb116 <lorie_b@...>:
> I saw this post asking about information on Waldorf. My daughter has
> just spent a year and a half at a Waldorf school. We left public
> school after 1st grade because she was miserable. The school system
> was very over crowded and she, being an indigo, had very strong
> opinions about how she should be taught. It didn't go over too well
> with her 1st grade teacher. The principal got to know my daughter
> really well.
> After visiting the indigochild.com site and saw that waldorf and
> montessori schools might be a good alternative, we applied to
> Montessori, but there weren't any openings. After visiting Waldorf,
> it seemed it might be a good fit. We knew up front that they delayed
> teaching reading unitl 2nd grade. This didn't concern us since, she
> was a strong reader -- already tested to be reading at the 3rd grade
> We liked that they had a morning recess after snack and an afternoon
> recess after lunch every day. At her old school lunch was at 10:30!!!
> They very often didn't get recess. She would have handwork class where
> she learned to knit. So far, she's knitted a cat, a horse and a flute
> case. She would have russian and german classes. PE seemed to be in
> the form of a movement class called eurythmy. Language arts, writing,
> history, and math seemed to be rolled up into one block called "main
> lesson". Math was on the schedule only once a week. When I
> questioned this, I was told that they had a "holistic" approach to
> math and it was "folded" into the whole curriculum. Even so, after
> the rushed, over-the-top, pushed down curriculum of public school,
> this seemed to be a kinder, gentler approach to education. Like we
> remembered when we were in grade school. It felt like we were giving
> her childhood back to her.
> The first several months was a big adjustment for her. They have a
> policy about keeping the outside out of school. No character based
> clothing, lunch boxes and no black clothing. They even encourage
> parents to get rid of the TV. That meant she couldn't wear her beloved
> light-up sneakers or bring her Barbie lunchbox to school. She also
> endured quite a bit of teasing and friction from the other kids
> (mostly from a few boys). They delighted in pointing out everytime
> she did something wrong. Slowly she adapted, let go of all the pent
> up anger from 1st grade and began making friends and fitting in. It
> is to the credit of the school and the parents that everyone stood by
> her and refused to let the teasing go unnoticed or uncorrected. She
> loved the school, however we became very concerned that her teacher
> was unqualified (she had absolutely no teaching credentials or
> experience), and the curriculum was a little too lax. There are no
> text books, the children copy off the blackboard into their "main
> lesson" books, using crayons at first and then moving to pencils. At
> the end of the chaotic year, many parents were on the fence about
> returning, as were we. Two actually did not. We did reluctantly, we
> felt we had no other alternative, Montessori would not have any
> openings until the 4th grade. We did not want to put her back in
> public schools. So we returned this school year with much misgivings
> and apprehension. The teacher still did not have control of the
> class, several boys were ADD and she could not handle them.
> In October, we visited the local Montessori. My daughter met with the
> 4th grade teacher, at my request, to determine where she was
> academically and how much catch-up we'd have to do to get her ready
> for the 4th grade. We were told she "would not be a good fit". We
> then had her tested at Huntington Learning Center. She was 1 1/2
> years behind academically. She was behind in reading comprehension
> and mathematics. She was struggling with not only multiplication but
> subtraction (multi-digit with borrowing).
> After getting that grim news, we made the decision to contract with
> Huntington to tutor her in reading and math. According to their
> evaluation it will take approx. 153 hours to bring her up to speed.
> So We've withdrawn her from Waldorf. She'll go to Huntington in the
> mornings for 2 hours every day Mon-Fri and I'll homeschool her in the
> rest of the 3rd grade curriculum ... spelling, cursive, science,
> social studies.
> We are not the only parents who pulled their kids out of Waldorf
> because of lack of academics. The parents that pulled their kids out
> of her class last year did it because of academics or lack of.
> Waldorf sounds good on paper and at visitation. But the fact is the
> kids simply aren't getting the basics when they need them. I talked
> to the all-girls middle school where Waldorf girls are supposed to
> matriculate in 5th grade and I was told that they have to be "caught
> up in math." The Admissions director told me this.
> This is something to be aware of and consider if you are looking at
> BTW, it will cost us as much as a full years tuition at Waldorf to
> have Huntington tutor her. We chose to do this because all their
> teachers are certified and accredited. And, they are experienced in
> bringing kids up to speed. Waldorf has been a very expensive lesson
> for all of us.
> --- In email@example.com, tyler Mazzeo <tylermazzeo@...>
> > Lily, thank you for your very encouraging email. I am intensly
> interested to know more about the waldorf schools. If it is not too
> much trouble for you, would you mind telling me a little bit about the
> kinds of things your daughter has learned at the Waldorf school? How
> much is tuition a year at the Waldorf schools? I have no doubt that
> they produce fine individuals, but are there statistics about success
> rates or what Waldorf graduates do?
> > I word in an impoverished community, 100% free lunch, 98%
> hispanic, many many immigrants. However, my 11 year old students have
> developed curriculum ideas, vocabulary models, learning heirarchies
> and charts that express more intelligence than anything I have yet
> seen produced by educators. The human potential is untapped where I
> work and the violence and subjegation is criminal, but becuase it is
> the status quo, nobody can see the naked empress.
> > By the way, my personal classroom homepage has as its username,
> > THanks again for the uplifting note, I really feel alone in my
> opinions and endeavors, maybe I am not as alone as I think, Sincerly ty
> > Lily <artemis@...> wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > How low will we go? Check out Yahoo! Messenger's low PC-to-Phone
> call rates.
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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