In a Changing World…Why Waldorf?

From The Lunchbag News, February 2010:

Three separate excerpts from the London Free Press, January 26, 2010:

Some professors have banned laptops from their classrooms, arguing students don’t focus on their lectures but on their laptops , …checking their Facebook account when the material is a little bit dry or instant messaging (IM) a classmate a couple of rows away. (“Laptops create distraction,” p. A2)

[Dr. Ross Feldman, a researcher at the Robarts Research Institute in London] said one quarter of the patients he sees at his high blood pressure clinic are under age 30. …”We can’t take away people’s choices, but we all have to take action. We need to play football, not watch it for seven hours.” (“Bad habits creating ‘perfect storm’,” p. A1)

My son’s class is going on a three-day winter camping field trip. He’s 12 and was initially excited about going away with his friends, though he’s not exactly the outdoorsy type. When we went to the school’s information session, he was actually gung-ho about being away from home (even though he’s pretty shy and reserved). He wasn’t excited nor turned off that he may have to hike, ski and snowshoe. Unfortunately, he completely changed his tune when the teachers decided not to allow any kind of technology (iPods, Nintendo Ds’ or cellphones). Now he says that he’s not interested in going. (“Advice,” p. C6)

What do these three excerpts have in common? They indicate the extent to which our society is changing. It has become a truism that the current epidemic of obesity, with cardiovascular complications, is linked to the current “wired” lifestyle.

In Waldorf schools, we foster an environment where children, at least for the duration of the time they spend at school, are immersed in a world of non-wired and physically active study and play. They are connected with their teachers and with other children rather than with screens. One has only to visit free play in the kindergartens, go outside for tobogganing at recess, or observe the rhythmic games in the grade school morning circle to get a sense for learning based on healthy movement, indoors and outdoors, and social interaction.

In a changing world, in which we wish our children to be healthy, competent and also full human beings, let us celebrate the vision Waldorf education has for the quality of their daily lives.

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