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Waldorf News

International art contests in Italy open to Waldorf students worldwide

International art contests in Italy open to Waldorf students world. Two new contests in mosaics and book design/production added this year. Every Waldorf Steiner school in the world can enter and participate with students between 17 and 19 years old. The schools must send the completed registration form to the Secretarial Office of the Contest. The deadline for contest applications is January 20, 2017. More »

Love as the Source of Education

Without a deepening and internalizing of the idea of destiny, it will become increasingly difficult to come to terms with the questions of education: One sees in every child an individuality, whose path is neither confined by the gateway of birth nor the gateway of death. When a teacher receives pupils in the mood of “having a destiny with them,” a new sense of responsibility is strengthened. When in quiet reflection one directs one’s attention to what is brought into this life individually, and to the capacities and impulses that these children should one day carry from this life over the threshold of death, one obtains an immense power as an elder to support, bear, and help to solve the problems of these youths. The source of strength in the internalized idea of destiny can only become effective, however, if the “modern learning methods,” the technical intermediaries, the cleverly contrived, improved performance programs do not replace the speaking human being. For the sake of a contemporary spiritually and artistically formed teaching process, Waldorf pedagogy holds human to human interaction as the “most modern” educational method. The communication of knowledge through the creatively fashioning human being can alone radiate edifying forces, wisdom and warmth into the lesson. More »

School with guns, knives and fire on the timetable – and Ofsted loves it

Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous,” says Thomas, 10, carefully positioning a tray of bread cakes over burning coals. “It’s OK if you do it right. There are people here who know the safety rules and they teach us,” he adds. Children at this state junior school have lessons in using sharp knives, saws and even air rifles. They get to cook food and smelt metal over an open fire and to skin and bone rabbits. Mike Fairclough, their headteacher, believes exposing children to risk fosters a confidence that improves their educational performance, behaviour and attitudes. Fairclough has no truck with the “elf and safety” brigade and he arrives, lurching alarmingly on the rough terrain, on a quad bike. “A lot of teachers agree with me. Headteachers and governors are more reticent due to their accountability should things go wrong,” he says. “I feel strongly that we should not be limiting ourselves or the children through fear. The reality is that headteachers are much freer than they often believe they are.” He thinks schools – and parents – are failing children by protecting them from anything that might cause harm instead of teaching them how to handle danger. His decision to take pupils clay-pigeon shooting brought him notoriety – and plaudits from Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive. More »

Get Your Children Good and Dirty

Our friend Julia moved to a small free-range pig and poultry farm when her first child, Jedd, was a preschooler. When her second baby was born, she would strap him on her back every morning so that she could go to the chicken coop to pick up eggs. Jedd would chase and ride the chickens—and sometimes taste their feed and touch the fresh eggs. A couple of times, she even caught him chewing on something he had picked up from the ground. At first, all of this caused Julia to freak out. But once she realized that Jedd wasn’t getting sick from these encounters with the chickens, she relaxed a bit. Her second child, Jacob, soon followed suit and never hesitated to get dirty on the farm. She once found him knee-deep in a cesspool of pig waste. Her early worries that her children were going to contract diseases from all this messiness dissipated, and she was pleased to see that they remained healthy. Was Julia being an irresponsible parent—or might we all have something to learn from her example? More »

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Eugene Waldorf School’s ‘no homework’ policy draws interest: ‘My dog ate it’ tale unnecessary for young students

No classroom computers, standardized tests or homework? At the Eugene Waldorf School, that’s standard educational procedure. And while the school’s no-homework, low-tech, hands-on policy has been its norm for almost 100 years, educators at public schools are starting to view it as innovative. The private, nonsectarian school in the south Eugene hills is among 150 Waldorf schools across the nation that have a markedly different curriculum than schools that have equipped all students with iPads and that stress computer literacy on par with English literature. Instead of interacting with screens, Waldorf students learn to play musical instruments, work in wood, paint, bake, dance, crochet, sculpt and other crafts ­that are a mandatory part of the academic curriculum, which also includes writing, mathematics, history and other academic basics. But it is the school’s policy toward homework that sets it apart. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade, for the most part, go home without any homework assignments. And that helps them retain what they’ve heard, Waldorf educators say. More »