The following paragraph seems to be about what is a fundamental difference between “State” and “steiner/waldorf” education. As a state trained and experienced teacher of some 20 years, I can indeed challenge the ‘party line’ that state education is about pouring facts into an impressionable brain. State education is about empowering children to make good decisions. It is about giving children a set of tools with which they can investigate things they are interested in. It’s about supporting the individual to shine.
Waldorf education tries to place all children (no matter their individual need) in the same seven year reincarnative state. No one learns to read until they are 7 or 8. Not even those who are ready to learn at 5. It might over tax them as they try to incarnate fully. There is nothing supporting the individual in that process. How do I know this? It happened to my step- daughter who through an idiocy in the family courts has to remain in the school. She at 8 has lost her natural inclination to learn. Seems depressed and is currently seeing a child psychologist. The effect on her self-esteem has been tragic. Yes, it is a parents responsibility to remove hindrances to a child’s development. Trouble is, many parents do not see that steiner/waldorf education is a major obstacle.
How many saw “Waiting For Superman”? In one scene there is a cartoon picture of students in a row with the “good teacher” opening their skulls and filling their brains with information, lots of facts. Although viewers disagree, my impression was that the director equated quality education with filling up an empty brain. In sharp contrast, the Waldorf philosophy is not to cram information in, but to draw information out, to draw out the individuality of each student. We do this when we provide a nurturing, rich, enjoyable classroom atmosphere for students. We do this when we teach subject matter when children are developmentally ready to understand it. If children are secure and confident then they are open to learning. If children have hindrances to learning, be they emotional or physical, then it is the teachers’ and parents’ responsibility to remove the obstacles/hindrances by employing every strategy from nutrition to extra lesson work and curative Eurythmy to academic tutoring.
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