Pondering Portals: Part Four- More Media

This is the portal that in so many ways is even more difficult than television screens, because phones that are everything (GPS, email, Internet, clocks) are everywhere, and many friends and family outside the immediate family of a  child who know of a family’s “no screen” wishes may still feel very comfortable sharing something off their phone or laptop or camera.

I would like to run through first what many Waldorf Schools outline as developmentally appropriate by age for children and some other areas of media, what I often see in Waldorf homeschooling communities who have both OLDER and younger children (I think if Waldorf homeschool communities have just children grades kindergarten through second grade, for example, some of these issues will not be as front and center as those who have a large proportion of children grades six and up. Things become more difficult with those older children!).  Please do take what resonates with you, know that families make decisions and do things counter to these recommendations, but that these ideas are food for thought and discussion within your own family. Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part Three- Media

Hello Dear Readers,

I am sorry I have been away from here for some time now.  I have had a difficult time which I am sure I will write about at some point, but not today.    I am back today with a continuation of our series about portals, and pondering health for our children as they grow up.

The portal of media can be one of the most difficult things for families to navigate.   This is the post that probably will upset folks and irritate them, so I would like to remind you to take just what resonates with you.  Most of us probably make a few choices that are different than what I am laying out below, but I urge you to think mindfully about all of this and decide what is right for your family.

Those of you familiar with Waldorf Education may associate this method of education with no media, no computers, etc. but to me, this is not the intent behind Waldorf Education at all.  In fact, Rudolf Steiner felt that one had to love the time in which he or she lived, and that each period in history built something of a foundation for the next one.  In other words, we may now be living in the ‘age of machines’ but we are headed into an age of complete imagination, if we do things properly as a society. So we need to embrace where we are in time, but also in a way that makes sense for the development of the child.

The other point I would like to make is not specific to Waldorf Education, but just something I would like to point out, especially for my American readers.  Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part Two–Books

We are talking today about pondering portals, and what to do when the protectiveness of the early years begins to open up.  I think, again, we must foster an attitude of health in our hearts, of acceptance and love for what happens when in our family, just the way we have a ho-hum attitude about complying with the legal age of drinking or when to drive a car.  Some things do come when, and it not like trying to hold a flood of things from the world back at all, but more about letting things unfold naturally as children grow. Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part One

There is much made in books and blogs and articles on the Internet about what I call the “pink bubble” of the Waldorf Kindergarten for the early years of 0-7.  I have always maintained that this time should be actually less about the wooden toys and silks, and more about movement, getting children into their bodies, bodily care, being outside and connected to nature – and in the home environment, living the spiritual year and the spiritual culture of that family – and not talking small children to death with explanations and verbal banter.   In other words, a rhythmic, mindful (for the parents) and activity-oriented time.  For more about what I envision for these early years, you can find back posts regarding Waldorf at home by age.

However, the pink bubble doesn’t last forever, and as the six year old hones in on developmental change and growth, there are the inevitable questions…If the world begins to “open up”, how and when?  And how can we do this with a joyous heart, with balance and with fun?  We are, after all, living together at home as a family, which is inevitably different than creating a school environment.

First of all, I think we have to get over the idea that we are somehow “closing off” the world in the early years by offering less choices and more stability.  It is a little like saying we are “closing off” the world because we don’t allow our ten year old to drink alcohol or drive a car…that comes later in development, and we all accept that.  Yet, we too often look at what is healthy for human development as this “weird choice” (or a series of weird choices) that we are making and that we really somehow depriving our children.  I think we have to carry this healthy attitude, a vibrant attitude, a respectful attitude for the dignity of the child and of development into the grades ages and beyond.  I see many parents treating their ten or eleven year old like a fifteen year old, and I think it actually is harder at these ages of 7-10 and then 10 – 14 to really reach that balance the need of the child of reaching out into the community and later the world and the inroads that must be made into family life and into themselves as a human being for health. Continue reading