lördag 13 juli 2013

What I like and don't like about Waldorf

Through blogs I've read lately I've found  people curious about waldorf so I thought I should make a brief summary and tell you what I know and what I like and don't like about waldorf.

"There is so much that is interesting to us about the Waldorf methods, so much that is appealing, but if you keep peeling the onion you discover a lot of very rigid thinking and impracticality (and some good old-fashioned "hooey" too). It's too bad, sort of makes you wish there was Waldorf-Lite for those who'd like to blend conventional early education with the better parts of Waldorf.!

(Teddy Bird in a comment on a review of the book "Heaven on Earth" 

This pretty much summarize my view but I'll give you some explanations on this opinion because I LOVE the positive sides of waldorf but I would never put my kids in a waldorf school due to the negative parts (and it wouldn't be possible either since the closest is about 62 miles away) but there's no obstacle in implementing the good stuff at home nevertheless and for those of you living in a country where homeschooling is allowed you have a great opportunity to just use the good parts. If there was a waldorf preschool in the area I would  put my youngest there though, because I think it would suit him very well but unfortunately there is not.

A Summary of the Waldorf Approach:

The child: childhood is important right now, not only as a period to develop skills for adulthood. A core in waldorf is happiness; to foster happiness and create opportunities for happiness to grow.

Core: personal growth and nurturing a balanced development and a holistic view on the world that creates reverence and caring about nature. A holistic view on child that broadens the focus to comprise not only intellectual growth but physical, emotional and spiritual as well. A sustainable way of life, personal as well as environmental. A community of people living in harmony with themselves, each other and nature. The core is connection, showing, teaching, learning to see and live in connection. Foster the ability to experience connection. This is the education of mindfullness, a way of life, a non-intellectual way of interacting with nature and a way of embodying the growing child in the rules of connection from the level of their reality, body and mind.

The lifestyle matches a simple environmental-friendly living in every aspect and I like the thought on toys and material.

Methods: nurturing wonder and awe, simplicity, slowness, calm, rhythm, continuity described and taught through experience supported by stories, art, crafting, movement, play, showing how everything is connected

The education is presented creatively in a certain order that is presumed to correlate with the age of the pupils. And the subjects are organised depending on rhythm. Certain subjects and approaches are organised in the morning some in the middle of the day and some in the afternoon to correlate with the rhytm of concentration and awakeness of the pupils The organisation also puts a great emphasis on the seasons of the year to correlate with activity-level and openess of the mind. Certain subjects and approaches are organised in spring and others in autumn and winter. Like there's more openness and extrovert approaches in springtime and more  intellectual, deepening  approaches in winter.

When you come to elemantary school level is when the backsides on the waldorf view on development and maturity and it's relationships to physical growth really get exposed. I'm a strong believer in that there just is'not a special age that is the same for every child to learn certain intellectual skills such as for example reading. The waldorf way in for example learning/teaching to read just isn't the right way for every child. There are many approaches to learning to read and write which should be considered depending on the indvidual child.  The waldorf approach is learning the letters first through stories about each letter, for example about the King (the letter K) and learning to write through form writing. This isn't the way for every child. 

Knowledge is a tool to find one's path in life (I like that approach) the subjects in school follows the personal growth and it's core is strengthening the personality. unfortunately it's course is decided by a generalised belief on maturity and growth. It's like the core-thought of connection is taken a bit to far.

The  opinion on correlation on development on different aspects such as physical, intellectual, and emotional isn't the truth for every child, in my opinion and most people's opinion nowadays. Some grow fast or lose teeth earlier which has nothing to do with a "readiness" on intellectual understanding. There's also a belief that skill by hand foregoes intellectual skill that I read recently in "Heaven on earth" that I just can't agree with. (I highly recommend the book otherwise). Many kids who are not crafty do very well in maths or reading for example. There's an assumption on a lot of connections and correlations that just doesn't make sense. And the belief that children are ready to start school at seven in springtime is just so rigid. Kids are individuals!

Discipline problems may be an issue since kids who are eager to learn are held back and get bored by a slower pace which is justified by the belief in generalisation when it comes to child development and its correlations to other developmental areas than the one directed.

The background research on childhood development and stage view have a basis from the nineteentwenties!

It must be updated!

Does this make sense to you? Am I absolutely wrong here? What do you think?

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar