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November 25, 2013
We did it! On September 16, after 100 days of construction and last minute finishing touches by students, parents and faculty, Seattle Waldorf School opened our newly renovated grade school campus doors. Our community was thrilled with our bigger, brighter lobby, clutter-free hallways, extra-spacious classrooms and updated outdoor playground. Our children have lots of room to grow, play, explore, and experience joyous learning. We had classes of 25 to 30 energetic children in rooms that didn't provide enough room for ideal learning. Therefore, we undertook an ambitious project to renovate the grade school building during this past summer. More »
November 18, 2013
Max Kelmon, 13, has his own little version of a man cave in Palo Alto, Calif. Behind the family kitchen in a converted garage, he has an Xbox, a big-screen TV, headphones and a microphone. There's an old couch covered in a sheet. And that couch where he parks himself, surrounded by boxes and Christmas lights, is one of Max's favorite places on the planet. From that couch, he connects to friends all over the globe — and he spends hours, pretty much every day, honing his skills in Call of Duty. The first commercially successfully video game, Pong, invaded Americans' living rooms 38 years ago. Since then, the industry has evolved from a simple bouncing ball in the Atari original to games with astounding graphics and sound, most of them connected to the Internet. That means that kids like Max can play with people spread across the globe. It also means that gaming companies can analyze how gamers play — each and every decision they make. So when kids sit down with a game, they are actually sitting across a screen from adults who are studying them — and, in some cases, trying to influence their behavior in powerful ways. Researchers in game companies tweak games to get players to stay on longer, or to encourage them to spend money on digital goods. They study gamers' reactions. It's become a science. And parents like Max's mom, Vanessa Kelmon, often feel outgunned. More »
November 11, 2013
One of the most provocative viral YouTube videos in the past two years begins mundanely enough: a one-year-old girl plays with an iPad, sweeping her fingers across its touch screen and shuffling groups of icons. In following scenes, she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they, too, are screens. Melodramatically, the video replays these gestures in close-up. For the girl’s father, the video—A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work—is evidence of a generational transition. In an accompanying description, he writes, “Magazines are now use- less and impossible to understand, for digital natives”—that is, for people who have been interacting with digital technologies from a very early age, surrounded not only by paper books and magazines but also by smart phones, Kindles and iPads. Whether or not his daughter truly expected the magazines to behave like an iPad, the video brings into focus a question that is relevant to far more than the youngest among us: How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? More »
October 29, 2013
I met stART international staff during the International Kindergarten Teacher Training at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, in April, 2012. stART international conducts emergency educational missions to post-war countries or to countries after natural disasters: so far more than 45 missions have taken place to countries like Libya, Haiti, Georgia, and Lebanon. For stART international the most important thing is to reach the children as soon as possible after a disaster and to give them hope, self confidence, and trust again for their daily life, because, as we know, for their parents, the first problem in a situation of an emergency is to find a new roof and some food. The children usually have no choice to overcome their pain by themselves. Using artistic activities based on Waldorf education and with a trauma therapeutic background—like painting, movement, form drawing and plaster—stART international creates an atmosphere where self confidence can grow and where the children can learn to smile and laugh again. More »
October 21, 2013
Born in 1921 in Indonesia to a successful Dutch commercial lawyer and his flamboyant wife, Else’ first trips across the world began at the age of one, aboard the great steam-powered ocean-liners of the time. Largely raised by nannies and having not lived in one place for longer than two years until the age of 24, she first encountered Anthroposophy during the chance visit of a Waldorf school in Den Haag (NL) in 1939. She immediately and passionately espoused the education and took on her first class at the Zeist Steiner School in 1941. This began her remarkable 41-year vocation as class teacher at a number of schools in the Netherlands and the UK. In 1972, and while on this journey, she pioneered the Eindhoven Steiner School in Holland, a thriving school to this day. She spent her last four years there as a foreign language and remedial teacher before "retiring"… At 61, Else launched her new career as a full-time mentor and traveling "Master Teacher." For the next twenty years, she spent eight months a year "on the road," visiting schools on a regular circuit which included the UK, Hawaii, the US west coast (spring), the US east coast (fall) as well as schools closer to home in the Netherlands. As mentor to dozens of teachers, new and old, Else actively observed children of all ages in the classroom; she advised individual teachers as well as faculties and parent groups, offering on-going counseling and countless courses, lectures and workshops every year. A bit of a rebel at heart and always reluctant to take anything on authority, Else laughingly admitted that what helped her most in her mentoring work was the fact that she herself had made so many of the mistakes she saw along the way. More »
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