This New York Times article, published on May 16, 2015, details how the increasing push towards early academics is well-intentioned, but misguided. Children's potential might actually be hampered in the long run by academic instruction that doesn't match the child's development.
Per the experts, play based learning is the best approach for children under the age of 7 or 8. “Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,” says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. “But it’s essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.”
Green Meadow students play an instrument from third through twelfth grades. This article highlights some of the neurological benefits. We know there are many other benefits as well, both tangible and intangible.
The Green Meadow Waldorf School robotics club, aptly named the PolyGnomes, won the FIRST Tech Challenge Mid-Hudson Tournament on Saturday, January 10 at Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, NY. In this year's game, Cascade Effect, students designed and operated a robot that placed plastic balls in various goals on a playing field in a complex game. This season, the PolyGnomes were the only team to go undefeated with a 9-0 record. They also achieved the honors of #1 seed, Captain of the Winning Alliance, and won 3rd place for outstanding robotic design out of 22 teams.
The Green Meadow PolyGnomes were led to victory by students Danny Chang, Brian Frei, Chester Lee, Takama Saeki, and James Yang. The team is coached by Physics and Math teacher James Madsen and Math teacher Lisa Krogh. According to Mr. Madsen, "Even though our robot was only about 80% healthy on Saturday with some control issues, the team compensated with brilliant strategy, outstanding driving, and a versatile engineering design that was able to do secondary tasks in addition to its primary goals. This group, especially the seniors, is highly motivated and tirelessly dedicated. The design is exceedingly innovative and versatile."
The team's next tournament will be on January 25 in Yonkers, then they will move on to play in the Empire Division Regional Tournament at Pace University on February 8.
This wonderful piece by Michael S. Roth, from last Spring in The New York Times, reminds us of the importance of an open mind, curiosity, and engagement: all traits that are cultivated in Waldorf Education.
This Thursday night, November 6, at 7:30pm in the Arts Building Music Room, we are pleased to have Paula Moraine offering a talk for parents. The event is free and open to the public. Paula Moraine, M.Ed., will be speaking on attention issues and offering techniques to strengthen our children's executive function, time management, and more.
Paula has been a Waldorf class teacher and administrator; a tutor for elementary, high school, and college students; and a university adjunct, mentor, coach, and adult educator in teacher training programs in the US, Germany, and Scotland. Paula’s book Helping Students Take Control of Everyday Executive Functions – The Attention Fix has been translated into Dutch, Spanish, and Finnish. She is currently in private practice in Maryland.