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Waldorf News

Waldorf alumna Adriane Ohanesian wins Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

Ohanesian's "tenacious dedication" to telling the story of Sudan was recognized by the judges Sudan is a country at the center of several ongoing conflicts — both internally and beyond its borders. In the country’s Western region, Darfur, at least 300,000 people are said to have been killed after the government cracked down on an insurgency more than 13 years ago. For the past six years, the New York-born, Nairobi-based photographer Adriane Ohanesian has held a place in her heart for the troubled nation — and now her “tenacious dedication” to the story has earned her the 2016 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, a prize launched by the International Women’s Media Foundation in memory of the Associated Press photographer murdered in Afghanistan in April 2014. “[Ohanesian’s] perceptive, compassionate eye offers an extraordinarily personal glimpse into places the global community may not otherwise see,” the judges said as they awarded her a $20,000 cash prize to support her ongoing work. More »

Could Steiner schools have a point on children, tablets and tech? Studies have yet to show much benefit from technology in schools, leading some to wonder whether the offline life is better for children

It’s late morning and the children in Maria Woolley’s class at the Iona school in Nottingham are busy kneading dough. The dough is made from flour they saw ground at the local windmill using grains harvested from a nearby farm they had visited. During the morning lesson the children have sung songs, recited poetry and done rhythmic clapping and stomping. There is no uniform here, and no headteacher – the school is run by staff and friends – and, unlike the vast majority of primary schools these days, here the students don’t work on tablets or computers. At the front of the class is an old-fashioned blackboard. The methods at the school, which are based on the controversial teachings of Austrian 19th century philosopher Rudolf Steiner, may be different from those employed in mainstream state schools, but the Iona was recently declared outstanding by the School Inspection Service – the independent equivalent of Ofsted. The report noted that “pupils do not use computers or the internet when in school but staff have ensured that they have learned about internet safety”. It went on: “Teaching is inspirational and highly effective … teachers are very well trained and highly skilled.” More »

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Nation’s first K-8 urban farm school teaches kids how to grow their own food

Children are the future of humanity – so if we want to cultivate a sustainable society where people are connected to our food and the land, it is critical to raise a generation of children who understand how to be good stewards of the earth. That’s why we’re very excited about this innovative urban farm school being built in San Francisco, California that will educate preschoolers through 8th graders with an ecology farm curriculum based on Waldorf Education. Project architect Stanley Saitowitz of Natoma Architects just unveiled plans for a stunning new plant-covered “living building” for the site that will house classrooms and act as a gathering space for the community at the farm. More »

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9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us

At a recent morning workshop for school leaders at a fairly small New England public school district, about an hour into a conversation focused on what they believed about how kids learn best, an assistant superintendent somewhat surprisingly said aloud what many in the room were no doubt feeling. “When I really try to square what I believe about how kids learn and what we practice in our classrooms, it unsettles me,” she said. “And it frustrates me.” As it should. One of the things I’ve come to realize in my many discussions with educators from around the globe is that there are a number of practices in our current systems of schooling that “unsettle” us, primarily because they don’t comport with what Seymour Papert calls our “stock of intuitive, empathic, common sense knowledge about learning.” But what’s also notable about those practices is that we rarely want to discuss them aloud, content instead to let them hover silently in the background of our work. We know, as I suggested a few weeks ago, that in many cases, these practices are attempting to do “the wrong thing right” rather than “do the right thing” in the first place. But we carry on regardless. More »

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Waldorf Student Wins International Sculpture Contest

I wanted to thank you for posting the Routes of Sculpture Italian sculpture contest announcement article last fall. I found it an exciting prospect and offered entering it as a choice to my class of Embossing students in January. Only one student chose to enter the contest. She is a senior and it took a lot of focus and commitment for her to decide to add an extra task in the final semester of Waldorf high school, just before her senior project presentation was due. She is brave that way. We worked together, going through the application process, the production of the relief sculpture, the artist's statement, and all the requirements for entering the contest. My student took time during her spring break to get everything done on top of all the other obligations of her senior year. All that hard work paid off as the artwork made it into the finals! We were very excited! What an honor to be in the finals. More »