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Waldorf Education Featured on The Simpsons Season Finale

The Simpsons gave a comic shout out to Waldorf Education during their Season 26 finale for 2015 — “Mathlete’s Feat”, which aired May 17, 2015. The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) was pleased with the level of in-depth knowledge The Simpsons writers clearly possessed about pedagogy and stereotypes associated with Waldorf Education, which made this fun caricature both lighthearted and flattering.

So how did Waldorf Education end up in an episode of The Simpsons? After Springfield Elementary School is bested in a mathlete competition, a well intentioned group donates servers, laptops and smart boards to the school so that students can better compete. Shortly after this tech revolution, there’s a massive server crash and teaching is at a standstill. This is when Lisa comes up with an idea that will save the school — “Learning while Doing.” Springfield Elementary becomes a Waldorf School! From there the students learn by doing — in Simpson-esque, tongue-in-cheek fashion, of course. By the end of the episode, their new Waldorf Education helps them win a mathlete rematch.

 

AWSNA was honored to have been featured in such a positive light in The Simpsons Season Finale and several Waldorf schools are responding with tributes to The Simpsons. A collective of handmade hats is being created to send to The Simpsons writers. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is having students create beeswax figures of The Simpsons characters to share online and with The Simpsons execs.

 

First Grade at Waldorf School at Moraine Farm

We’re not exactly Finland, but we do agree that first graders need a balanced day (see link, below). First grade at Waldorf School at Moraine Farms starts with half days for the first six weeks. Full days start after Columbus Day, but afternoons are filled with painting, gym, nature walks, and even free play. If this sounds what you’d like your child’s first grade to be like, please call Erin Milner, Admissions Director, at 978-927-1936.

Link: First Grade in Finland: Every Day is a Half-Day – Taught by Finland

Let the Kids Learn Through Play (Op Ed by David Kohn, New York Times, May 16, 2015)

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We keep reading articles that emphasize the importance of play in early childhood education.  This one stands out for being well supported and succinct.  Waldorf schools emphasize play in the early years and do not formally introduce reading until 1st grade. From the article –

“Reading, in particular, can’t be rushed. It has been around for only about 6,000 years, so the ability to transform marks on paper into complex meaning is not pre-wired into the brain. It doesn’t develop “naturally,” as do other complex skills such as walking; it can be fostered, but not forced. Too often that’s what schools are trying to do now. This is not to suggest that we shouldn’t increase access to preschool, and improve early education for disadvantaged children. But the early education that kids get — whatever their socioeconomic background — should truly help their development. We must hope that those who make education policy will start paying attention to this science.”

http://nyti.ms/1EOrycG

 

2015 Screen-Free Week Activities May 4 – 8

ScreenFreeWk Visual

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm invites you to participate in Screen Free Week with us. We’re offering a variety of activities that are FREE and open to the public that encourage us all to disconnect from our screens, reconnect with nature, get outside and have some fun!

For more information, or to register for any of these events, please contact Erin Milner at 978-927-1936.

 

 

Our Week of FREE Activities Includes – 

Monday, May 4th: Fairy House Building, 1:00 – 3:00 pm & Family Pot Luck Dinner, 5:30-7:30 pm

Tuesday, May 5th: Kids’ Yoga with Kara Harris at 4 pm

Wednesday, May 6th: Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting, 4:30-6:00 pm

Thursday, May 7th: Nature Journaling, 10:00 am-12 pm

Friday, May 8th: Invertebrate Scooping, 3:00-5:00 pm (Grade 2 and up, limit 10)

Hey Kids! Go Outside, Already.

naturekid-500x334WBUR Radio’s On Point recently explored the trend of today’s children being further and further disconnected from nature and what is being lost along the way. Tom Ashbrook and guest, Dr. Scott Sampson, author of the new book, “How To Raise A Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling In Love With Nature,” discussed the shocking drop in outdoor time seen in our children’s generation — they are spending up to 90% less time outdoors than most of their parents did. And the cost is high. Sampson cited the “skyrocketing” instances of childhood obesity, diabetes, attention deficit disorder and depression faced by this generation. Sampson’s position is that while going outside isn’t the entire answer, that, “Nature is a great step in the right direction to get these kids more active and engaged.”

This discussion is well worth the listen — please click here for the full story. The insights shared are so consistent with the values of Waldorf Education because it’s really a discussion about the health of our children and the health of the places we live. As Sampson notes, in order to solve the big challenges facing our planet today, “We need to engage people with where they live, so they understand it and care about it if we’re going to be sustainable as well.” Anything less impoverishes our children’s growth and the health of the places we live.WaldorfKids

 

Five Reasons Why Parents Choose a Waldorf Education for Their Child

(reposted, from our northern neighbors at  Waldorf Canada, www.waldorf.ca)

As a parent you can be sure that choosing a Waldorf education for your child is a safe and smart choice.  Your homework has already been done by millions of parents who’ve sent their own children to Waldorf schools across the globe. Here are 5 reasons why, over the past century, parents have made Waldorf one of the world’s largest independent schools systems:

1) Waldorf parents can be sure their child will be prepared and successful
Research shows that 94% of North American Waldorf graduates attend university and an incredible 50% attain a Masters or PhD. University professors speak very highly of the assertive and engaged Waldorf graduates in their classes. Yet, leaders and employers are not looking for people who can simply pass tests and follow orders. Waldorf graduates are successful because they are confident, creative thinking individuals with the courage to change the world. Our alumni go on to rewarding careers and continue to value learning, work, relationships and an ethical approach to their chosen path.

2) Waldorf teachers are personable, insightful and committed A Waldorf teacher working with students at the chalkboard
Waldorf teachers are well trained professionals whom are experts at understanding what makes children tick. We know how to orchestrate a class of diverse learning styles and temperaments, using multiple methods of teaching to ensure that each child is warmed in their heart, skilled with their hands and sees clearly with their mind before advancing to the next thing. In the classroom Waldorf teachers interact with others with thoughtfulness and compassion, are capable and interested in many things and they make good decisions. They are like this so that every day your child has an exemplary role model working alongside of them. Waldorf teachers are continuously developing their skills, studying teaching practices, student learning styles and insight into the changing relationship between human beings, the world around us and how that effects student learning. Finally, our teachers make themselves available to parents as much as reasonably possible, hosting nearly monthly meetings with the parents of their class, regular parent-teacher interviews and crafting detailed, individualized reports on the progress of your child.

3) Waldorf teachers focus on the unique needs of your child
As every parent knows, each child learns and acts in their own unique way. Waldorf teachers work with your child according to their own gifts and challenges, nurturing and encouraging them just the right amount so that your child will want to be interested in and skilled at the many things they care about. Waldorf teachers know that education is not a competition and young students don’t need more pressure. Instead, we use the philosophy “the right thing at the right time,” meaning that we take the necessary time to discern how your child learns, what they need and when and we know how to draw out their desire to reach for and attain it themselves. Our teachers are ready when your child is, and when we let you know how your child is doing, it is relative primarily to their own development and expectations, not just to the other students.

4) Academic excellence is only the surface of Waldorf education
Waldorf teachers have a century of student observation at their disposal and they use proven learning techniques based on insight into brain and physical development, kinesthetic learning and emotional intelligence. By engaging their minds, emotions and bodies, students take in more, and they take it in much deeper. When Waldorf students excel at math, science and languages it is because they learn them experientially, integrated with physical education, music, arts, drama, woodwork, fiber arts and, yes, recess. Rather than simply teaching to the test, we make sure our students are happy, healthy, interested and motivated to create things as they learn, making sure they are not only prepared for university, but for life as well.

5) Waldorf schools are virbrant cultural communities
While Waldorf schools are largely independent from governments and therefore must charge tuition, they are not-for-profit and known for supporting many families that couldn’t otherwise afford to attend. This economic diversity, as well as gender, racial, religious diversity are the thread of the social fabric that Waldorf schools thrive on. Although Waldorf schools are not religious the movement was born out of a spiritual idea that humanity has evolved due to the dynamic between spiritual wisdom and earthly work and that each child will also develop on this path before having their own capacity to advance it themselves. We celebrate the changing seasons, rites of passage, diverse cultural festivities and more human ways of working together in order to show children that we are all equal under the sun, we all develop wisdom, have something to share and are part of a much larger whole…and that is something worth celebrating.

 

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm

701 Cabot Street
Beverly, MA 01915

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