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Waldorf News

apples

Mount Baker Preschool: A Waldorf Co-op in Seattle, Washington

Six wooden chairs, arranged in a circle and draped with a quilt, have become a pirate ship. At the helm, a boy turns a basket from side to side like a steering wheel. One of his passengers makes ocean sound effects. Another only meows, because he has transformed into a cat. Meanwhile, a girl sits behind a small toy stage asking, “Who wants to see a puppet show?” Several children meander over to watch, while others regale the teacher with stories as she knits. In the kitchen, an adult in a red apron chops vegetables for snack as the scent of baking muffins fills the air. Another red-aproned adult sands wooden blocks, observing the children play. More »

lantern transparency

The Holiday Season: Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle

Here comes the Holiday Season. Something to look forward to and something that many parents also dread. "The whole thing is like being hit by a sensory tsunami," commented one mom who was wondering if there was another way to do it. While our kids are living life at such a fever pitch through the school year is it possible to downshift the pace as we move into the holidays? We are now living in a post-excess era. We have seen what excess has done to our economy and to our environment. And hardly a day goes by when we don't see another high profile article about the excess of screen time and digital overload our children are experiencing, most recently, the New York Times 'Growing Up Digital, Wired For Distraction'. What about educational excess? With the national attention of the films Waiting for "Superman" and also Race to Nowhere, many are now questioning if education is also a part of the culture of excess. It's around this time of the year that we are given a chance to make some choices about the pace of life, and it's not easy. Somewhere inside us we know this is a time of "peace on earth", of family connection (maybe those two images don't exactly line up) and yet the pressure to speed up, do more and brave the "sensory tsunami" of Holiday Season shopping and celebration is acute More »

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Busy Hands, Busy Brains: Research shows that the most accomplished scientists are likely to be craftspeople

As a graduate student in the history of science at Princeton in the 1970s, Robert Root-Bernstein was struck by this common trait of great scientists: They all had many hobbies and interests, and practiced some form of art or craft. Later, as a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in the 1980s, he saw the same characteristic in a number of multitalented Nobel Laureates whom he got to know personally – people such as biochemist Robert W. Holley, who sculpted figures in bronze, and Roger Guillemin, a pioneer of electronic painting as well as brain hormone research. Today Root-Bernstein is himself a distinguished scientist, renowned for his research in biochemistry and autoimmune diseases, and one of the first recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the “genius grant.” He’s also a visual artist who believes that art and science come from the same creative place. More »

Thinking inside the box

Inside the Box: People don’t actually like creativity

In the United States we are raised to appreciate the accomplishments of inventors and thinkers—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the famously imaginative, the greatest artists and innovators from Van Gogh to Steve Jobs. Viewing the world creatively is supposed to be an asset, even a virtue. Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed. It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise. More »

Adderall

12 Ways Parents Can Protect Their Kids From Too Many Pills: Beware of pill pushing by drug companies and doctors

We are turning our kids into pill poppers. The rate of ADHD has tripled in just 20 years - it is now diagnosed in 11 percent of all children aged four to 17 and is medicated in six percent of them. And the percentages get really crazy for teenage boys- 20 pecent are diagnosed and 10 percent are medicated. There is also compelling evidence that most of this "ADHD" comes from careless diagnosis. How else to explain that a child's date of birth is the best predictor of whether he gets the label- the youngest kid in the class is almost twice as likely as the oldest to be diagnosed with ADHD. Misplaced diagnostic exuberance has turned age-appropriate immaturity into a psychiatric disease and treats it with a pill, rather than just letting the kid grow up. The drug companies are delighted. Their annual revenue from ADHD drugs has exploded- it is now 50 times greater than 20 years ago, up to almost $10 billion a year. Wouldn't most of this money be better spent not on pills but rather to reduce class sizes and provide more gym periods so that fidgety kids could blow off steam? More »