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."
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 article from Psychology Today looks at a 2012 study documenting a continuous decline in creativity among American schoolchildren over the last two or three decades. The research suggests that play and curiosity are foundations for learning. They are also the bedrock of Waldorf Education.
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.