"Consider an acorn. Its strong shell prevents it from growing until the time is right. If you break open the shell too early, you don’t stimulate the growth of a new tree. You just have a dead acorn. As with the acorn, the key to healthy child development is to do the right thing at the right time. Neufeld makes a strong case that the wrong attachment style in childhood and adolescence results in the wrong attachment style in early adulthood. Throughout childhood and adolescence, the primary attachment of a child should be to the parent. If a child has a strong primary attachment to a parent from infancy through adolescence, then when the child becomes an adult, that bond will break naturally, as an acorn breaks open naturally at the right time so that a new tree can grow. Such a child, once she becomes an adult, is ready to head out confidently into the world as an independent young adult."
This recent piece from The New York Times reminds us of the importance of letting our children have experiences that build their resilience and self-confidence.
A salient quote: "Dr. Gray links the astronomical rise in childhood depression and anxiety disorders, which are five to eight times more common than they were in the 1950s, to the decline in free play among young children. 'Young people today are less likely to have a sense of control over their own lives and more likely to feel they are the victims of circumstances, which is predictive of anxiety and depression,' he said."
Renate Hiller, a Green Meadow alumni parent and co-Director of The Fiber Craft Studio on Hungry Hollow Road, is featured in this wonderful short film on the importance of direct experience, educating our hands, interaction with nature, and natural materials for our children.
This summer, why not do some handwork with your child(ren)?
In this related article, Waldorf math teacher Lisa Babinet highlights the importance of not only preparing students academically but also "preparing the students for a life of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving". This is the gift of Waldorf® Education.
We are celebrating Screen-Free Week by staying off Facebook, Twitter, and our blog, and interacting with screens only as needed for work. Visit the Screen-Free Week website or read this article for inspiration.
April 29, 7:30pm in the Arts Building Music Room, free and open to the public:
The Gift of a Commercial-Free Childhood, with Dr. Susan Linn, a sought-after speaker, co-founder and director of The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), and an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Thank you to guest blogger & GMWS parent Beatrice Burgis for this post!
This article is an emotional first-person account by two mothers who wrestle with the effects of standardized testing on their elementary-aged children. The Common Core standards initiative, which has been adopted by 45 states, has had its share of both supporters and critics, but mounting evidence suggests that the rigors of preparing for tests, particularly among the youngest students, may have a harmful effect on learning in the long run.
In contrast, Waldorf® Education meets children where they are developmentally, rather than adopt a homogeneous approach that focuses more on memorization than in-depth comprehension and personal experience. One of the hundreds of comments following the article sums it up best: "I don't want a standardized child." At every age, Waldorf students are encouraged to explore their environment with curiosity, enthusiasm, and respect, thereby fostering a life-long love of learning.