Wednesday 3rd February
Waldorf Education gets an indirect mention in the New York Times by way of the article “Playing to Learn”. Whilst the writer doesn’t specifically mention Waldorf schools her description of a school “free of the laundry list of goals ….., and devoted instead to just a few narrowly defined and focused goals” does sound strikingly similar to the curriculum offered at Waldorf schools world-wide.
The author imagines a classroom where “children would spend two hours each day hearing stories read aloud, reading aloud themselves, telling stories to one another and reading on their own. After all, the first step to literacy is simply being immersed, through conversation and storytelling, in a reading environment …….. Children would also spend an hour a day writing things that have actual meaning to them …… People write best when they use writing to think and to communicate, rather than to get a good grade. In our theoretical classroom, children would also spend a short period of time each day practicing computation — adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Once children are proficient in those basics they would be free to turn to other activities that are equally essential for math and science: devising original experiments, observing the natural world and counting things, whether they be words, events or people. These are all activities children naturally love, if given a chance to do them in a genuine way.
What they shouldn’t do is spend tedious hours learning isolated mathematical formulas or memorizing sheets of science facts that are unlikely to matter much in the long run. Scientists know that children learn best by putting experiences together in new ways. They construct knowledge; they don’t swallow it.
The (education) reforms suggested by the (Obama) administration on Monday have the potential to help liberate our schools. But they can only do so much. Our success depends on embracing a curriculum focused on essential skills like reading, writing, computation, pattern detection, conversation and collaboration — a curriculum designed to raise children, rather than test scores.”
For the full article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/opinion/02engel.html?em