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Would You Choose a Waldorf Education?

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 182

The tricky thing about education is that no one ever seems to get it right. Happy is the country that is satisfied with its education system and standard of learning. Many highly developed nations are still battling with their education systems, calling for educational reforms, more funding and better qualified teachers. Developing nations are doing the best they can with the resources they have and by copying the relative success (or failure) of their more developed neighbours. All of this dissatisfaction has prompted many parents to seek alternative forms of education; ones that take learning to heart.

There are several alternative education methods available, one of the most popular of which is Waldorf Education.

Waldorf education was first developed by Rudolf Steiner, who believed in teaching children how to learn so that they hunger for learning and make a conscious decision to learn more. He also aimed to make learning as child-friendly as possible, which means that Waldorf curricula follow the accepted stages of childhood development and provide learning in contexts children are most likely to understand. For example, a lot of learning activities in the early classes are tactile or sensory-based because young children learn best by doing and by directly handling their subject matter - mucking in if you will.

Artistic expression is also an important part of Waldorf education and not just because it encourages creativity but also because it aids learning. Artistic expression is taught in art and drawing, music and movement. There is no stereotyping at all, so everyone does woodwork, needlework, knitting and gardening.

According to Wikipedia, in 2011 there were over 1000 independent Waldorf schools in 60 countries around the world. That doesn't include state and private schools that incorporate Waldorf methods, charter schools or kids who are home schooled in the Waldorf way.

Over the years Waldorf education has received a lot of praise, as well as lot of criticism. Some people believe wholeheartedly in the non-prescriptive, exclusively child-centric approach (let kids be kids), while others think that the unstructured environment results in children who are unable to cope with the realities of the real world and leaves them woefully underprepared for higher education.

On the other hand, studies have shown that Waldorf educated children significantly outperform their more traditionally educated peers on university tests.

While there are lots of reasons why parents are circumspect about Waldorf education, the two main ones are: the non-traditional manner in which children are taught to read and write coupled with the fact that this learning occurs later than at traditional schools (in keeping with the system's view of childhood development); and the fact that parents are advised to keep their children away from all forms of digital entertainment. That means TVs, games, DVDs, computers, cell phones and even recorded music. Currently, computers only enter the curriculum at the adolescent stage.

Many worry that this late adoption of technology will disadvantage their children in the modern digital age. At the very least it will make them a curiosity among their traditionally educated friends.

Whether you choose traditional or alternative education for your children depends on your morals, values and definition of holistic learning.

Sandy writes on behalf of Now Learning, which promotes hospitality, finance and tourism courses in Australia.

Source: EzineArticles
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