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Waldorf News


Somewhere Inbetween: Waldorf graduate to chronicle five month trek across the length of New Zealand

We’re going to walk the entire length of New Zealand. Somewhere Inbetween is a feature length documentary following the journey of four friends as we walk the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff for five months, covering 3,000 kilometres. Why? Adventure. Discovery. Exploration. Celebration. The challenge. Not one of us has done anything like this before; we don’t consider ourselves the ‘outdoors’ types, but when we leave our lives completely behind for 5 months to live on the road, everything is going to change. The Te Araroa trail stretches 3000 kilometers across New Zealand starting at the northernmost tip of the North Island and finishing in the Southern Lands of Bluff. During its descent down the islands, the trail passes through all of the geographically unique landscapes that makes New Zealand so diverse. From the sands of Ninety Mile beach, the archetypal farm lands of the central North, the meandering Whanganui River, the Southern Alps and the High Country, the list includes deserts and snow, mountainous forest and grassy plains, and we will see it all. More »


Strength-Based Learning in Waldorf Schools

When your child struggles with math, but excels at violin, do you interrupt the extra long violin practice to drill through a math worksheet? The question of whether to focus on gifts or work on deficits is not just a question for parents. It is also a daily concern of teachers. The dominant paradigm in education today purports that success requires college, and college requires a measurable set of abilities in key subjects. Students lacking in said subjects must focus on those weakness or else they will not succeed. Those supporting strength-based teaching tie success to excellence in any of its varied academic, and non-academic, forms. The theory behind strength-based teaching purports that focusing on a deficit simply brings a skill level to average, but never inspires excellence. Excellence is cultivated from strengths. And excellence, and the deep motivation to achieve it, is what students really need to succeed. More »


The Value of a Mess: You should let your kids totally botch household chores from an early age

A friend told me recently after she’d had a car accident that left her unscathed but chastened that in the midst of the crash, she’d realized she needed to make lists of all the small details her family would need to know if she was not there to take care of them. Her son needed to know that his soccer clothes had to go into the laundry Sunday so he’d have what he needed for Monday’s practice. Her daughter needed to know which fabrics can go in the dryer and which cannot and what happens when wool sweaters sneak into the dryer by mistake. The kids should know how to fix the toilet when it clogs, and reset the water pressure tank after a power outage, and change a fuse, and winterize the lawn mower, and the million other things she’d taken care of herself rather than burden her kids with. I pointed out that if she were to die in a car accident, the location of the reset lever on the water tank would be the least of her family’s worries, but I understood her point. More »


When Schools Overlook Introverts: As the focus on group work and collaboration increases, classrooms are neglecting the needs of students who work better in quiet settings

When Susan Cain published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking nearly four years ago, it was immediately met with acclaim. The book criticizes schools and other key institutions for primarily accommodating extroverts and such individuals’ “need for lots of stimulation.” Much to introverts’ relief, it also seeks to raise awareness about the personality type, particularly among those who’ve struggled to understand it. It seems that such efforts have, for the most part, struggled to effect much change in the educational world. The way in which certain instructional trends—education buzzwords like “collaborative learning” and “project-based learning” and “flipped classrooms”—are applied often neglect the needs of introverts. In fact, these trends could mean that classroom environments that embrace extroverted behavior—through dynamic and social learning activities—are being promoted now more than ever. These can be appealing qualities in the classroom, of course, but overemphasizing them can undermine the learning of students who are inward-thinking and easily drained by constant interactions with others. More »

Trove of blackboard drawings from Michael Hall Steiner School in Forest Row, England

This is a brilliant collection of blackboard drawings from all grades. They were created by the teachers at Michael Hall School in Forest Row. More »