A Dream School

A dream school! But those of us who are not super rich and can’t afford it shouldn’t despair. Home life is about a gazillion times more important for child development than school, and we can organize all of it at home at no cost.

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18 thoughts on “A Dream School”

  1. Ah, yes, a Luddite’s dream school. Welcome to yesterday, where schoolchildren don’t need electric lights or indoor toilets. That will definitely prepare them for the world of tomorrow.

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    1. As a pedagogue with a ton of experience, I assure you that this is, indeed, the best learning environment. These are children of Google and Apple execs. I’m not worried about their future prospects. 🙂

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    2. Playing educational games on iPads also does nothing to prepare children for the world of tomorrow, it just looks cool.

      The enduring problem with tech in education is that people get lost in using the technology for the sake of using technology and lose sight of the pedagogical goals. You can do really great things with technology in education and you can do lots of things that are ultimately pointless.

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  2. Waldorf schools are all across the country. I know a couple fellow faculty members who send their kids to a local one– and they aren’t wealthy people by any means. If you are considering private school for Klara, it might be worth checking to see if there are any Waldorf schools in your area. They might be more affordable than you think.

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    1. I had no idea! Thank you. I just googled it and there’s one in Webster Groves. We have what’s considered a great public school in our zip code, but if it disappoints me, then I’d consider moving to Webster Groves.

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      1. And I’m not picky. All I want from a school is a lot of recess with active play outside, no screens and a classical reading curriculum. Or at least that they don’t assign really ridiculous, infantilizing readings.

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        1. This is from their website and it’s music to my ears:

          Exposing children to computer technology before they are ready (around 7th grade) can hamper their ability to fully develop strong bodies, healthy habits of discipline and self-control, fluency with creative and artistic expression and flexible and agile minds.Technological literacy—a crucial 21st century skill—can be mastered quickly when children reach adolescence and have the developmental maturity to know how, why, and when to use technology as a tool.

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          1. “no screens and a classical reading curriculum.”

            I think no screens is an unlikely expectation at a public school. As far as “classical reading” goes, its unlikely to happen at the grammar school level in American public schools. The reading of “classics” usually starts in 7th grade–and are more frequently found in “honors” English classes. (I distinctly remember reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 7th grade) ..But my understanding is that Waldorf schools teach children to read relatively late. So that might be a similar trajectory to the public schools.

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            1. I have no doubt Klara will be reading long before kindergarten. What I worry is that kids will be forced to read crap. Students told me they were assigned A Fault in Our Stars at school. And now they hate literature because that’s what they think literature is. This is what preoccupies me. I’ll teach her Shakespeare myself, and I can’t wait to do it. But I don’t want her to be forced to read crap.

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              1. I read a mix of crap and good literature throughout public school but the older we got, the more “lofty” the reading became. But I like to read and so none of it bothered me. I don’t think reading A Fault in Our Stars will have harmful effects. And it’s nice to be tapped into pop culture. I read the book The Outsiders also in 7th grade and found it appealing and it was fun to talk to my friends about.

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        2. Here in California, the state testing (which starts in 3rd grade) is all done on computers, so the public schools pretty much have to teach the kids at least a little about how to use computers otherwise their test scores would be through the floor. (I personally don’t really think kids should be tested at such a young age, but that’s a different discussion – the practical reality is that the tests do matter in the current system.) I can also see the benefit of some of the math apps because the exercises the students do can more easily be tailored to their level this way (I have bad memories of having to do endless long division exercises at school, way after I had mastered it).

          However, all that said, we looked for a school with as little screen exposure as possible for our son (who is starting kindergarten in August). I also wish the recess times were longer – kids really need time to run around!

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          1. What I’m really worried about is not testing but that she will be in school with kids like the two boys I wrote about who were aggressively beeping on their tablets last Tuesday. I have never seen them do anything else or even exchange a word. I see them once a week since November. All they do is stare at tablets. This kind of environment scares me.

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            1. Ugh, yes. We went to visit some relatives recently and their two children (older than mine but both under 10) spent very large amounts of time on their tablets, including at meals (which they ate separately from their parents). It just struck me as a bit sad really. In the interests of honesty, mine have occasionally played on tablets – on the plane to the UK and sometimes when one or other of us is ill, etc – but it is very limited and we intend to keep it that way.

              Going back to schools: in the ones we visited, the screen usage did at least appear to be in short chunks (20 mins) and in rotation with other activities. ie the class was divided into small subgroups, with one group doing a chromebook activity, one group reading, and one group doing some sort of writing, while the teacher took students aside individually to talk to them/assess their general progress etc. We saw this same pattern in many schools we visited.

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              1. Planes are off limits for normal rules. On our last flight I distracted Klara with a lollipop the size of her arm. It was hardcore. But it worked.

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              2. I should have specified, of course, that our kids wore headphones on the plane when they were using the tablets 😉

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  3. There’s no Waldorf school in our area. But I’m definitely going to keep in mind the places that DO have these schools in their areas when I go on the job market in the fall. I actually thought I should start my very own Waldorf school here. It looks like the training is 3 years, though, and I’m going to need a job well before that.

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