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Waldorf News

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The Myopia Boom Short-sightedness is reaching epidemic proportions. Some scientists think they have found a reason why.

The southern city of Guangzhou has long held the largest eye hospital in China. But about five years ago, it became clear that the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center needed to expand. More and more children were arriving with the blurry distance vision caused by myopia, and with so many needing eye tests and glasses, the hospital was bursting at the seams. So the centre began adding new testing rooms — and to make space, it relocated some of its doctors and researchers to a local shopping mall. Now during the summer and winter school holidays, when most diagnoses are made, “thousands and thousands of children” pour in every day, says ophthalmologist Nathan Congdon, who was one of those uprooted. “You literally can't walk through the halls because of all the children.” East Asia has been gripped by an unprecedented rise in myopia, also known as short-sightedness. Sixty years ago, 10–20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Today, up to 90% of teenagers and young adults are. In Seoul, a whopping 96.5% of 19-year-old men are short-sighted. More »

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States weigh turning education funds over to parents: A radical new idea is catching fire across the country

A radical new concept in school choice will come up for vote in at least a half-dozen states from Virginia to Oklahoma in the coming months, as lawmakers consider giving hundreds of thousands of parents the freedom to design a custom education for their children — at taxpayer expense. Twenty-one states already subsidize tuition at private schools through vouchers or tax credits. The new programs promise far more flexibility, but critics fear they could also lead to waste or abuse as taxpayers underwrite do-it-yourself educations with few quality controls. Called Education Savings Accounts, the programs work like this: The state deposits the funds it would have spent educating a given child in public schools into a bank account controlled by his parents. The parents can use those funds — the amount ranges from $5,000 to more than $30,000 a year — to pay for personal tutors, homeschooling workbooks, online classes, sports team fees and many types of therapy, including horseback riding lessons for children with disabilities. They can also spend the money on private school tuition or save some of it for college. ESAs so far exist only in Arizona and Florida, where one family recently sought to use their child’s funds on an “educational vacation” to Europe. (Program administrators, who must approve all expenditures, said no.) But the idea is catching fire. Bills to create the accounts cleared panels last week in the Virginia and Mississippi legislatures. They’re likely to be on the table as well this session in Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and possibly Rhode Island and Tennessee. More »

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Fostering Entrepreneurship in Waldorf Schools Tempus 2015 Conference "Stepping Stones to Entrepreneurship" in Kimberton, PA - March 20 & 21

If we listen to the issues and methods contemporary businesses are addressing; if we hear what business coaches, high level executive coaches and life coaches are saying, we can connect the dots and recognize that today’s leaders need balance, creativity, personal skills, drive, vision, empathy and fortitude. Looking at the national and global trends that are taking place in sustainability and triple bottom line values of people, planet and prosperity, the indicators are pointing to the fact that the future business leaders of tomorrow or even of today requires a lively, integrated combination of creativity, social skills, emotional intelligence and also a world view. Young leaders will need an experience of context about themselves, their community, and the world they live in. These are qualities that Waldorf graduates can, and very often do possess due to the rich, holistic learning experience that the Waldorf curriculum offers. Waldorf school students bring particular qualities that can be useful for the future business and entrepreneurial leadership of today and tomorrow. Yet, unfortunately, most Waldorf schools at the moment largely overlook this potential and do not bring focus to this arena of learning and experience. More »

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90 Years! Congratulations Michael Hall Steiner School in Forest Row, England

We celebrated our 90th birthday today. We are the longest running Steiner Waldorf School in the English speaking world, having started our life in Streatham, London, in 1924. During the Second War the entire school was evacuated to Minehead in Somerset, after which it moved to its present home at Kidbrooke Park, Forest Row. More »

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On My Work in the Kufunda Waldorf Kindergarten in Zimbabwe

When I arrived in Kufunda, a wonderful course on the foundations of Waldorf education was already taking place for 23 women working in Zimbabwe's Waldorf kindergartens. IASWECE had found just the right person in Susan Rubinoff to send to this very special country! She led the women through serious content in a light way and was always interested, cheerful, generous, and open for everything that came from the group. On the fourth morning, Annah Benedicto, the kindergarten teacher from Kufunda, stook up and said the following words: " We are all grateful from our hearts for this course! You have shown us that we are doing our work well. And now we have learned from you, what it means for the children, how it affects them, and how we can do it better. Thank you!" More »