Waldorf 100 Part 2

The first Waldorf (Steiner) school was founded in Stuttgart in 1919. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and almost 2,000 Waldorf kindergartens in some 80 countries around the globe. Paul Zehrer produced and directed this new film and it’s fantastic. You’ll see and hear students and teachers from Waldorf schools around the world talking about today’s children, the challenges and rewards of education, and how we encounter each other, engage, and include each other in relationships and in community.

It’s very moving. You’ll love watching it.

Featuring students and teachers from;
The Community School for Creative Education, Oakland, CA and principal Monique Brinson and founder Dr. Ida Oberman
Bustan Yafa Kindergarten, The Orchard of Abraham’s Children, in Jaffa, Israel, an Arab/Muslim/Israeli/Jewish kindergarten – Ora & Ihab Balha, co-founders
Parzival-Zentrum School in Karlsruhe, Germany and founding teacher Bernd Ruf. In 2016 the school enrolled 160 refugees that came to Germany as unaccompanied children from China, Iraq, Syria, North African countries and the Balkans.
Florian Osswald from Dornach, Tamrat El Zeitoun Kindergarten in Israel, Jon Mc Alice, Sue Simpson, New Zealand, Christof Wiechert, Pedagogical Section, Goetheanum,  Orland Bishop, Founder, ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation,  Amir Shlomian, founder of Ein Bustan, Israel, Daniel Anderson, San Francisco Waldorf School, Bodo von Plato, Philosopher, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, founder & chairman SEKEM, Helmy Abouleish, CEO SEKEM, Kyotanabe Steiner School, Japan, teachers and parents, Waldorf teacher Trainees, Henning Kullak-Ublick, Executive Board, German Waldorf Association and hundreds and hundreds of children from Waldorf schools all over the world. You can find it by following this link

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting

Smartphones have by now been implicated in so many crummy outcomes—car fatalities, sleep disturbances, empathy loss, relationship problems, failure to notice a clown on a unicycle—that it almost seems easier to list the things they don’t mess up than the things they do. Our society may be reaching peak criticism of digital devices.

Even so, emerging research suggests that a key problem remains underappreciated. It involves kids’ development, but it’s probably not what you think. More than screen-obsessed young children, we should be concerned about tuned-out parents.

Read the full article here

Celebrating Advent

Advent starts this year on Sunday 2nd December and is celebrated for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas until Sunday 23rd December. Advent is frequently celebrated by people of every religious background, every faith, every spiritual path as part of the festivals of the cycle of the year.

In the Southern hemisphere, Christmas falls near the Summer Solstice when the light is at its strongest and we celebrate the triumph of light at its greatest point in the yearly cycle. As the year draws to an end we increasingly spend time outside enjoying “the sun in the heavens”. With the long warm days, intense light and balmy nights we are drawn out into the elements rather than into “the sun in our hearts”.

It can be challenging to develop a sense of inwardness, patience and contemplation when the Spirit of the Earth is on its outward breath. To balance this we can consciously choose to “receive the light” and celebrate what is both universally human and universally spiritual. Celebrating Advent can provide an opportunity for some quiet ‘breathing in’ during this outwardly busy time of year and help your children to practice preparation, reverence and patience through the ritual of counting the weeks and days to the special celebratory event. The lighting of candles each week also reflects our own ‘Divine Light’ and helps to bring us a little inward contemplation.

Traditionally Steiner schools and families celebrate Advent by looking each week at the natural kingdoms on Earth: minerals the first week, plants the second week, animals the third week and humans the fourth week (see verses below).

Here are some ideas that you might like to include in your own advent celebrations:

  

An Advent verse
‘The gift of the light we thankfully take, But not shall it be alone for our sake, The more we give light, the one to the other, It shines and it spreads, growing still further; Until every spark by friends set aflame, Until every heart, the joy to proclaim; In the depths of our souls, A shining sun glows.’

Advent Wreath  – on a special table made with greenery and seasonal flowers, four advent candles to light each consecutive Sunday of Advent.

Advent Garden – assembled and added to each Sunday of Advent with the four kingdoms celebrated each week try adding tiny crushed shells (collected from the beach) in a spiral pattern for the spiral on which Mary and Joseph figures walk.

Advent Crib – a nativity scene of the four kingdoms, adding a different one each of the Sundays- Crystal Kingdom, plant kingdom, animal and human kingdoms.

Advent calendars are available from Rudolf Steiner Bookstore by following this link

Verses for the 4 weeks of Advent

Week 1: Crystal Kingdom
The crystal kingdom comes first and is honoured by decorating the wreath or garden with crystals, seashells, stones or little bones you may find.

Week 2: Plant Kingdom
In the second week the plant kingdom is honoured by adding little dried flowers, seeds and pine cones and greenery.

                     

Week 3: Animal Kingdom
The animal kingdom, in the third week, is honoured by adding little wooden animals or beeswax creatures the children make.

Week 4: Humankind
The fourth week sees us honouring humankind by adding a little felted or beeswax child and figures.

      

Additional Reading:
Our library also has some handouts on making an advent wreath, nature table etc.
Possible stories include The Star Money from the Brothers Grimm, (and if you have the book “Rose Windows”, there is a lovely idea for a window transparency in there); craft ideas in The Children’s Year and Families, Festivals and Food. Other stories include the ones from “The Light In the Lantern: Stories for Advent” from Wynstones Press; Advent Sunday Stories, Collette Leenman; Mary’s Little Donkey, Gunhild Sehlin; Advent and Christmas Stories, Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol.

How Waldorf School (Steiner School) Media Policy Fosters Children’s Healthy Development

By Richard Freed. Child Psychiatrist.

My clinical practice is increasingly a forum for children and teens who suffer because their lives are spent with digital machines, and little else. These kids are often in great emotional pain, fail school despite being capable students, or are caught up in destructive addictions to video games, social media, and phones. It’s heartbreaking to see these children and teens suffer from symptoms that could be prevented if our society better understood the effects of wired lives on kids’ health and well-being.

More recently, the world is recognizing the danger of raising children with lives focused around screens, as the often tragic consequences are now highlighted in the popular press. This contrasts with the prior decade in which our mainstream culture was caught up in the supposed promise of expanding kids’ use of digital devices. During this earlier period, outside of academic journals, there was virtually no discussion of the adverse effects of children’s overuse of screens. One clear exception: Waldorf Schools and their media and tech policies.

For decades, Waldorf Schools have been prescient in naming the risks of children growing up immersed in problematic screen and phone content. Moreover, Waldorf Schools have also highlighted a non-content issue that is often overlooked: how kids’ lives spent with screens displace vital childhood developmental experiences. Interestingly, while Waldorf School media/tech policy was considered conservative years ago, it is increasingly recognized as consistent with what science says are the lives kids need.

Nonetheless, powerful tech industry and marketing forces are more determined than ever to sell parents and schools on the benefits of putting kids before screens and phones. These messages are compelling and contribute to common myths about children’s screen and tech use. In this article, I will outline a number of these digital-age myths and illustrate how science proves their undoing. We will also see how Waldorf Schools and their media policies provide a powerful antidote to these myths and point the way towards the childhoods young people need.

Download the full article here

Surgery Students “Losing Dexterity to Stitch Patients”

A professor of surgery says students have spent so much time in front of screens and so little time using their hands that they have lost the dexterity for stitching or sewing up patients.

Roger Kneebone, professor of surgical education at Imperial College, London, says young people have so little experience of craft skills that they struggle with anything practical.

“It is important and an increasingly urgent issue,” says Prof Kneebone, who warns medical students might have high academic grades but cannot cut or sew.

“It is a concern of mine and my scientific colleagues that whereas in the past you could make the assumption that students would leave school able to do certain practical things – cutting things out, making things – that is no longer the case,” says Prof Kneebone………

“Creativity is not just for artists. Subjects like design and technology, music, art and drama are vitally important for children to develop imagination and resourcefulness, resilience, problem-solving, team-working and technical skills,” says Mr Hunt.

“These are the skills which will enable young people to navigate the changing workplace of the future and stay ahead of the robots, not exam grades.”

Read the full article here