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1397Re: [The Indigo Network] improving schools

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  • Lily
    Jan 5, 2007
      Lorie,

      I'd like to respond to your e-mail point-by-point as you bring up some valid
      concerns.




      Quoting lbb116 <lorie_b@...>:

      > Yeah, that's what I was told too. My daughter is very, very bright.
      > On paper, the curriculum, her 3rd grade was teaching appropriate math
      > (advanced addition, subtraction and beginning multiplication and
      > division).

      Being a Waldorf Class teacher is a very difficult job. It sounds like your
      daughter's teacher was inexperienced. The Waldorf curriculum calls for
      teaching the four major operationg (addition, subtraction, multiplication,
      division) from the beinging. In first grade the children use counting stones
      (or something similar) and concretely follow along stories that have them
      adding, subtracting, multipling and dividing with the help of gnomes or
      somewhat. Each year the exercises become more and more complex as well as more
      abstract. In year three the children are still very concrete in their thinking
      and need physical aides to assist. Not all children but most, all are
      different. They learn math first as a language. In year three the "math"
      senstences can be of many steps.


      However, she struggled because she wasn't getting enough
      > of the subject on a weekly basis or the teacher simply wasn't able to
      > teach. Her teacher is not certified, she doesn't even have a degree
      > in early education.

      It is true that Waldorf schools don't require any specific credential. However,
      most schools in the US do want to see a BA and Waldorf Training or equaliante
      experience. The fact is experienced Waldorf teachers are in short supply.
      School's are openning all over and there are only so many teachers to go
      around. And there are poor ones as well. Not all teacher's can do the job.

      I'd also like to note that 3rd grade is a very common time for parents to freak
      out about - reading, homework, etc.


      My concern, as are many who left Waldorf, is that
      > when my daughter was ready to leave Waldorf, for high school, she
      > would be so far behind that she would be set up for failure from the
      > first day.

      The general rule of thumb seems to be that yes they are behind (what does that
      mean anyway) until 3rd grade and then transfer find into public or main-stream
      schooling. Now this is very individual. My daughter, for instance, could not
      have managed in a public school until 9th grade as she didn't read until 7th.
      Now she is applying to UC Berekley and other top colleges and will get in to
      one of them even with her disablility. You see my daughter has severe dyslexia
      but with the support of her teachers and classmates has learned to function in
      the 2D realm while not loosing touch with her remarkable 3D vision and thought.
      Writing is still hard for her, but she works at it really hard and keeps
      getting better. Charlotte (my little one) did very poorly on the SAT and SAT
      II because she doesn't test well. It doesn't reflect on her intelligence and
      ability and a lot of colleges are beginning to see that standardized tests
      don't tell them much about a student.



      College was a concern too. There are many who have left
      > waldorf emotionally scarred due to the teachers anthroposophic
      > beliefs, rightly or wrongly interpreted or inability to fit into
      > mainstream society or schools.

      As for fitting into society or "the real world", waldorf students do better than
      most young people. The do it with confidence, caring and grace. If you have a
      Waldorf High School nearby, talk to some of the students - they will engage you
      like few people can.

      In years that I struggled to make school payments, I'd talk to the high
      schoolers. They weren't afraid of adults or distainful. They were poised and
      self-possesed. I envy them their secure sense of self.
      >
      > All I am saying, go with eyes open. It is an alternative school. If
      > your child is special needs, ie ADD or ADHD or very sensitive or
      > emotionally fragile, then this nurturing environment is probably the
      > right one.


      However, if your child is indigo, bright and gifted and is
      > miserable in public schools because of personality conflicts,

      Personality conflicts are part of life and children need to learn to deal with
      them not run from them. Children in a Waldorf class learn to appreciate and
      work with people they like and dislike. They can't hide from "difficult"
      people . The teachers model and subtlely work with the children on social
      skills. What they don't do is demand.


      and you
      > are not willing to do the extra required to keep his/her academics up
      > to speed so when (s)he matriculates to another school, be aware, they
      > will most probably be behind in more than the Waldorf school will
      > admit. This information comes from Waldorf alumns and their parents,
      > not just my personal experience.


      Also, those famous people who've
      > been at Waldorf, not all had a happy experience. David Gilmour, of
      > Pink Floyd, put his kids in Waldorf, partly to his memory of his
      > education in public schools. He pulled them out because he too was
      > concerned. His 14 year old daughter struggled in a conventional
      > school and had to be put back a grade and still struggled.

      Many people leave Waldorf for many different reasons and I can't comment on
      David Gilmour's experience. My experience seems to be that it is often because
      of parent's problems with the school/teacher/children and not the child's.

      I was told by two specialists when my daughter was diagnosed that she shouldn't
      been in a Waldorf shcool. One therapist had her own children in the same
      school. But we (my husband, daughter and I) decided it was more important that
      she was happy and enjoyed learning then if she ever learned to read so she
      stayed in Waldorf and slowly, very slowly, it came - when her brain was ready.

      >
      > Waldorf doesn't require its teachers to be certified or to even have a
      > teaching background or degree. Waldorf is not accredited by any other
      > body than itself.


      Some Waldorf schools are accredited and some not. I think only private high
      schools are accredited. My daughter's school regularly gets the best and
      longest accreditation from the Western Schools something or other.


      They do not grade or test, so there is no way to
      > determine if their graduates will be able to go on to another high
      > school or to college, as they insist.

      This is true for the most part in the lower 8 grades. Instead of grades parents
      get detailed narrative reports from all their child's teacher. Not only the
      class teacher, but the speciality teachers. The children are taught by a team
      of several teachers. In the middle grades some teachers have qiuzes and tests
      for practice at taking tests and TO MAKE PARENTS HAPPY.


      Each Waldorf is different in
      > their competency and success, since some have actual certified trained
      > teachers. My daughter did not and that teacher would follow her all
      > the way up through 7th grade or beyond. They plan to add 7th grade
      > next year and continue to add grades as long as there is interest. I
      > doubt my daughter would be in an "honors" program when she got to high
      > school with her current teacher. Also, most Waldorf schools struggle
      > financially, the one we left certainly does. So it makes me wonder,
      > where they would get the capital needed to fund an acceptable high
      > school science lab?

      The Waldorf schools do struggle financially, especially young schools. It is a
      problem that is being addressed at many levels in the community.

      >
      > All I am saying is, please ask a lot of questions. Does the teacher
      > have a degree in education? Is (s)he certified, and not just in
      > Waldorf? Google Waldorf critics. A waldorf education is not cheap.
      > As it stands, I paid $14,000 for my daughter to learn how to knit,
      > play with bees wax and paint with real watercolors.

      Yes Waldorf is expensive, very for a middle class family. It's worth every
      penny.


      I consider the
      > rest of her education a total waste, She already knew how to read and
      > write. She did learn about some saints and legends -- their version
      > of history. I may not even get a refund of the remainder of this
      > year's tuition. That battle has yet to be fought.


      Handwork is taught because it engages the senses and is a will activity. The
      child learns they can think something and then make it real!!!!!!!!! Very
      important. Children 7-14 still require a lot of physical motion to learn. In
      Knitting teaches shape, number and coorination. It refines the sense of touch
      and sight. Painting teachs color, shade and tone as well as fluid dynamics.
      Singing trains the ear. Oh there is so much more to learn the the 3Rs. Waldorf
      students recite times-tables while they jump rope. Reaserch shows that learning
      is quicker and easeier if it includes a motion component.

      I'm sorry you had a bad experience at a Waldorf school. I would check my
      assumptions about education and do some research about child development and
      education.

      Namaste,

      Lily
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