Within the pedagogical literature of Waldorf Education, there seems to be a lot more press about the developmental changes at ages six/seven and nine than there is about the developmental changes at twelve. This is unfortunate, I believe, because some of the biggest changes within the first two seven year cycles take place at age twelve.
Ages six and seven may be more of a “you’re not the boss of me” age, and nine may be an age of sensitivity and tenderness as children often seem to experience an underlying realizations about loss, life cycles, and separation, but twelve, to me, has the most dramatic changes and unfolding out of these three transitional periods.
A good deal of separation of the child’s own personality really begins at this age, and shows in the will of the child. The child may set now set goals, especially in learning, and may work at activities to really conquer something in the outside world that they are interested in intently. The will shows up coming from a place of inner individual moral development and personality.
The social element awakens; there can be a grouping off, especially after grade six. You start seeing this generally as early as around age ten, which is where fractions is introduced into the Waldorf curriculum in grade four, and this grouping off continues to progress. Many people remember this about the middle school years. It is important to make sure the children are in a group in a healthy way at this point – trekking, hiking, kayaking, caving and other bodily will exercises in a group is stimulating for this group and age.
You start seeing development that looks more based upon gender at age twelve than ever before. Girls tend to band together socially in a way that can be different than the boys – more hanging out, daydreaming, talking. The boys can be brimming with activity. Physically the girls are different than the boys. As the girls approach puberty, Continue reading
Here are some lovely links for the end of May.
This one from Sheila over at Sure As The World for second grade: http://sureastheworld.com/2014/05/20/the-canticle-of-the-sun/
Homeschooling children who are adopted: http://simplehomeschool.net/adopted-child/
Kara’s post about the joys of older children: http://simplekids.net/lets-hear-it-for-the-big-kids/
An interesting article here (scroll down) by Dee Coulter about Montessori and Steiner: http://www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/research-from-waldorf-education/
Please share the blog posts and articles you have been finding inspirational lately in the comment box below. I would love to hear from you!
Elizabeth Foss is enjoying her first grandbaby, and I enjoyed her post regarding the days after birth here: http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2014/05/in-praise-of-the-babymoon.html
I find it interesting if one looks on the Internet regarding “planning” a babymoon, most of the top posts have to do with planning some special time with a spouse prior to the arrival of a baby! This is baffling to me. Most attached parents, and parents who hold childbirth and the parenting of children in the most sacred terms, do not think of babymoon as a honeymoon getaway, but as a sacred time after a baby is born when life as a family with children begin.
Having a first baby, having multiples babies, all changes things. Nothing is or should be the same as it was, but perhaps not in the “inconvenienced” way general society assumes. I wrote some time ago about the joy of the first forty days after birth, and encouraged readers to slow down for an extended time after birth. Here is that original post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/17/40-days-after-birth-and-beyond/.
There are many beautiful ways to prepare for the first forty days: Continue reading
“I also did not like the word “preschool” since it implies that somehow the learning done before age 5 is not valid. In my mind, there is no such thing as “pre” school. In most European countries, there is not even such a word as preschool. The children attend daycare until age 6 and then start formal education at age 7. When I attended an international conference, the European participants thought it was quite humorous that I kept referring to our young preschoolers as students. This showed my cultural bias in that we think of even our youngest children as responsible for measurable learning.
– From “Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way” by Erin K. Kenny
If you are planning for preschool, (and you can see more about what I think about “preschool” here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/11/waldorf-101-waldorf-preschool/), focus on a strong component of rhythm to your days being present together at home. The things that preschoolers are working on – washing themselves, using the bathroom, the gentle rhythm of setting things up for a snack or lunch and then washing dishes and clearing plates – those extraordinary moments of everyday life is what the core curriculum for preschoolers should be. Continue reading
I like to have a little time over each summer to work on projects – decluttering and cleaning the house; homeschooling and planning for school in the fall; routines and habits that need to be established; or sometimes something even bigger and more life-changing. You can see the last summer parenting project that I asked readers to pick up on here in 2010: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/07/a-summer-parenting-project-for-you/
This year, I have two separate threads of projects I am hopeful that mothers will want to be a part of and participate in this summer.
One is the call for greater self-care and health. Mothers everywhere, often who have small children for very long hours with no extended family to help, need encouragement to take care of themselves. Continue reading
I am planning fourth grade for our second go-around now and have worked out a rotation for blocks. I thought it might be helpful to some of you who are planning.
I want to start the year with Continue reading
I am finishing up third grade for the second time right now. The two children that have completed third grade are very different people.
Our first child was reading and writing in three languages at this point. Very, very language oriented.
Our other child had definite talents in movement, science and the natural world, and music.
All children are individuals, and although there is a “curriculum” in Waldorf education, such as laid out in the schools and on the chart published by AWNSA, the main thing we are prescribed to do as teachers is to OBSERVE the child, UNDERSTAND child development, be interested in the world around us (keep learning) , to not go stale (in other words, what worked before may not work again!). The template of the school and the secondary pedagogical literature of Waldorf education has been helpful to me personally, but I also have read an awful lot of Steiner’s lectures and work. I steer a lot by my strong philosophical orientation of Christianity, attachment and Waldorf.
This year, I started the year with a block Continue reading