- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- U.S. drone faulted for killing 14 ‘innocent civilians’ at Yemen wedding
- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
The Waldorf method
Drawings inspired by Renaissance paintings, detailed etchings and multicolored woven wool scarves decorate the halls of the Washington Waldorf School in Bethesda. Surely, this must be an arts school.
No, but the arts play an important role in Waldorf education, the teachers say.
“We make a dedicated effort to make arts part of the mainstream education,” says Linda Sawers, a high school humanities teacher and chairman of the high school.
Mrs. Sawers goes on to say that visual art, music and dance, as well as wood and textile work, are taught not just for the sake of the arts, but as a way to teach subjects ranging from math to history at this kindergarten-through-12th-grade Waldorf school.
“The first- and second-graders learn to knit,” says handwork teacher Barbara Buchman. “It teaches eye-hand coordination, and the eye movement that it requires is a good preparation for reading.”
These children also stamp and clap their hands to learn their multiplication tables in the first grade, and in fourth grade, they learn to cross-stitch different patterns, which ultimately teaches them about geometry.
Throughout their education, Waldorf students create their own textbooks. They take notes while the teacher talks about a certain subject and later compose their own text, adding their own illustrations.
“It’s designed to get children deeply involved,” says Jack Petrash, author of “Understanding Waldorf Education — Teaching From the Inside Out.”
There are 140 Waldorf schools in the nation, all based on the education ideas of Rudolph Steiner, an early-20th-century Austrian philosopher. According to Waldorf pedagogy, education has to cater to and nurture a child physically, emotionally and mentally.
Another staple of Waldorf education is identifying “age-appropriate” education, says Cynthia Bennett, chairman of the teachers’ collegium, which replaces the principal as the school’s governing body.
It’s important not to push skills and knowledge before children are mentally and emotionally ready, Ms. Bennett says.
Greg Simon, a parent who has 11- and 13-year-old children in the school, says he likes the emphasis on age-appropriate education.
“You can teach a 4-year-old to read, but a 4-year-old’s body and nervous system [are] not ready for it,” Mr. Simon says. “You literally exhaust them. It’s like using up all the RAM on a computer.”
A 4-year-old would rather play and experience things than read, he says.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- KEENE: James Clapper should resign for lying to Congress
- Kim Jong-un consolidating power or losing grip on North Korea's military
- STEVENS: Resisting the seduction of housing speculation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow