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Waldorf News


A different kind of eighth grade trip

Deer Hill Expeditions creates opportunities for meaningful 8th Grade class trips for Waldorf schools by facilitating real and genuine challenge in beautiful landscapes. Whether it’s the fun and adventure of a rafting expedition, or the uniqueness of an introduction to life in the Navajo Nation, or both, participants on Deer Hill programs have the chance to find their strengths in real experiences. Waldorf School of Orange County teacher, Miriam Whiteley, put it best in a letter to Deer Hill after an expedition designed for her 8th Grade class. More »


What one college discovered when it stopped accepting SAT/ACT scores

Hampshire College is a liberal arts school in Massachusetts that has decided not to accept SAT/ACT scores from applicants. That’s right — the college won’t accept them, a step beyond the hundreds of “test-optional” schools that leave it up to the applicant to decide whether to include them in their applications. So what has happened as a result of the decision? For one thing, U.S. News & World report has refused to include Hampshire in its annual rankings. For another, Hampshire officials say, this year’s freshman class, the first chosen under the new rules, is more qualified by other measures than earlier classes. Hampshire College was founded in 1970 as an alternative private liberal arts college that experiments with curriculum and relies on portfolios of work and narrative evaluations rather than distribution requirements and grades. It is one of the top colleges in the nation in terms of the proportion of its graduates who go on to graduate school. Here’s an explanation of what the college did regarding SAT/ACT scores and why, from President Jonathan Lash, who is also a director of the World Resources Institute, a D.C.-based environmental think tank, where he previously served as president. He chaired former President Bill Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development and was Vermont’s environmental secretary and commissioner. He holds a law degree and master’s degree in education from Catholic University of America and a bachelor’s from Harvard College. More »


The message our children need to hear but almost never do

The rich middle- and high-school kids [Arizona State professor Suniya] Luthar and her collaborators have studied show higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse on average than poor kids, and much higher rates than the national norm.* They report clinically significant depression or anxiety or delinquent behaviors at a rate two to three times the national average. Starting in seventh grade, the rich cohort includes just as many kids who display troubling levels of delinquency as the poor cohort, although the rule-breaking takes different forms. The poor kids, for example, fight and carry weapons more frequently, which Luthar explains as possibly self-protective. The rich kids, meanwhile, report higher levels of lying, cheating, and theft. More »


Teach Your Children Well: Unhook Them From Technology

In the far corner of the desolate looking yard outside Mountain Oak Charter School, a boy of 9 or 10 is digging a hole. A few other children are standing nearby, periodically checking his progress and taking a turn with the shovel. Mountain Oak is a charter school that offers an education inspired by Waldorf, a progressive model that encourages exploration of the natural world and rejects the use of technology in the classroom and even in the home. When I ask later in the afternoon about the ditch digging, eighth-grade teacher Jeffrey Holmes smiles. “Oh, they’re playing Minecraft,” he says, referring to the popular online game. Last year “they had a whole system of ditches and they were bartering with rocks too.” More »


Working toward a better world: Camphill California

When my youngest son was a freshman in college, he told me he’d figured out that it took three connections to make a friend. Being in the the same dorm was one connection, having a class together made two, but it took another, third connection, to build friendship. Although he was an early adopter of social media, he wasn’t counting that. This comment was intriguing in terms of what it takes to build community. It also spoke of the needs and vulnerability of young people. Clearly his major concern was not connecting with the great thinkers, movers and shakers through the centuries, which is presumably what a college education is about, but rather connecting with a few good folk to hang out with. More »