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Waldorf News

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 »


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 »

I Don’t Want My Son To Read In Kindergarten

I remember few details from kindergarten: a giant slide in the middle of our classroom, a mid-year visit by Smokey the Bear, the gentle voice and red hair of my teacher. Kindergarten was its own little world within the school — a nurturing cocoon — with its own special playground, its own tiny buses, its own half-day schedule. This spring when my son’s wonderful teacher recommended an additional year of preschool for him, instead of advancing with the rest of his class to kindergarten, I didn’t panic. After all, the school he was attending was small and academically challenging, and I understood he might not be ready for its particular standards. The teacher’s concerns — that he had trouble writing his letters, didn’t focus all the time in class, didn’t answer questions about literature with enough detail — didn’t worry me much. He was four. Just a little boy who liked garbage trucks and Sesame Street. We were moving to the suburbs anyway, and I figured my son would do just fine at our local public school, where he would spend his days listening to stories, playing in sandboxes, making friends, and learning the basic routines of classroom life. Months after this conversation with his teacher, I realized that my son would probably do just fine in public school kindergarten, but only if he could go back in time and attend kindergarten in 1980, not 2016. My son is not ready for kindergarten in 2016. More »

My return to Deer Hill and the Navajo Nation

Do you know that feeling when you get home from a life-changing trip, and you try to share your experience with your family and friends, hoping they can somehow relate? How do you find the right words to describe all that you saw, and did, and felt? Well, that’s how it was for me last spring when my classmates from Marin Waldorf School and I returned from an incredible 10-day Deer Hill field trip through the American Southwest. As we departed Deer Hill’s basecamp for home, waving goodbye as we traveled down the bumpy gravel road, I still remember hearing a little voice inside myself saying this would not be the last time I would be in this beautiful place. More »

Planting the seeds of Waldorf education in Iran

My hopes for the future of Waldorf education in Iran: Several individuals have contacted me after the event and have asked for workshops or just have let me know of their interest to join me in my path toward establishing Waldorf education in Iran. At the present time one school for disadvantaged Afghan children who live in Iran has began to transform its system toward Waldorf education and one other center for early childhood education has requested to begin a joint project to adopt the Waldorf approach in their educational system. My hope is that I can provide services such as workshops, lectures, translation of Waldorf resources and help schools move toward Waldorf education or adopt aspects of it in their curriculum. I hope that my country can join the world-wide family of Waldorf education and be part of this universal movement for bringing peace, love and inner freedom to human beings. More »