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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 »

Rethinking intelligence: How does imagination measure up?

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman’s personal education story may sound familiar to many families struggling against a system that doesn’t tend to value qualities in students that make them different from a predetermined “average” learner. When he was young, Kaufman had central auditory processing disorder, which made it hard for him to process verbal information in real time. He was asked to repeat third grade because he was considered a “slow” learner. That started him down a path of special education classes until high school. “I felt on the one hand that I was capable of more intellectual challenges,” Kaufman told an audience at the Creativity Forum hosted by the Bay Area Discovery Museum, “but on the other hand I thought, ‘Who am I to question authority?’ ” So he didn’t, and since school wasn’t challenging him, Kaufman spent a lot of time in his own internal world, daydreaming. “In the school system no one sees your inner stream of consciousness, your imagination. They only see how slow you are,” Kaufman said. That would have been true for Kaufman throughout school, except one perceptive teacher recognized his simmering frustration and was willing to look past his long history in special education classes. She gave him an untimed test, which ultimately showed he was likely capable of participating in general education classes. 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 »