There were quite a few people who read about the Waldorf curriculum, so we split up into two groups to discuss it. I read the article “Holistic Education and the Brain: A Look at Steiner-Waldorf Education” by Abigail Larrison, which researches the effectiveness of the Waldorf teaching method in comparison to a regular public school. It was noted that younger students did poorly on tests because they were not focused on academics early on, but by the time they were 13 or 15 years old they were doing just as well, if not better than, the other school studied. It was also discussed that there is potential to reduce the rate of ADHD in children who attend a Waldorf school because they are able to develop their basal ganglia more by not focusing on academcis too early on. This is the area of the brain that focuses on attention and motivation. They made it appear that children are being pushed into academics too early and it has a negative effect on their learning.
The discussion with my group found that the Waldorf approach seems to be focused around caring and story-telling. The teachers are supposed to be like another parent to the child and one group member thought that was inappropriate. You also have the same teacher for something around 8 years. This is an interesting concept. I am unsure of how I feel about that as a future teacher. It sounds nice to watch the children grow through the education you provide for them, but I’m not sure if I want to do something like that. I do like that the early years focus more on arts and story-telling before they get into math and sciences. They focus on concrete learning before going into abstract concepts. I like most aspects to the Steiner-Waldorf Education and would like to read more about it later in the semester.