Library Lady's Corner
The Pedagogical Section Council of North America has produced for us another beautiful book to help in understanding the esoteric basis of Waldorf Education,
The Seven Core Principles of Waldorf Education (Waldorf Publications, 2017, 124 pages, $24).
The Pedagogical Section Council developed the seven, essential elements that make a school truly a Waldorf school. Pedagogical Section Council members then took up elaborating on each of these principles, the essays written were published in the Research Bulletin over a couple of years, and then the essays were gathered with a few additional treatises on the principles and made into this fine book explaining what makes a Waldorf school a Waldorf school.
The book is one of courage. When Rudolf Steiner collaborated back in 1919 with Emil Molt to begin the seminal Waldorf school, it was clear that the view of the human being was to be central to everything in the school. That view, one of the human being, the child, as comprising body, soul, and spirit, remains controversial to this day. It takes courage as a Waldorf teacher to remain faithful to this vision of being human. The common culture does not view spirit as real, let alone a vital and distinguishing element of being human. Once one mentions anything spiritual, the immediate assumption is one of religion. The practical aspects of spiritual components of our human beingness are dismissed as not practical. Rudolf Steiner identified this very truth of the highest in each person being not physical prowess but the aspiration behind any prowess as the distinguishing element that lifts the human being to a higher level. The contributions in this book describe the necessity of this threefold view of the developing child as the well spring from which everything else flows in Waldorf education.
The reader will find, as the Core Principles are elaborated from there, a genuine profile of Waldorf education in its essence. Every aspect of this very point of the spiritual being the most practical idea that can now save humanity from a dry, dead-ended, materialistic vision of life on earth. The seven-year phases of child development, the curriculum that is designed to perfectly meet those phases, the urgent need for teachers to be acting out of freedom from dictates beyond the classroom, the importance of the teacher-student relationship for life, and the unique methodology that proceeds from these other principles, all point to these ineffable facets of Waldorf education.
This book would warrant careful study by parents and teachers to determine what it is that each community surrounding a school really wants, and whether that is truly what is wanted — a Waldorf school.
For one principle, woven throughout all seven principles, is that of wholeness. It is not possible to take bits and pieces of the ideas that are apparent in a Waldorf school and still to claim that the entity is one. The interconnectedness of all that occurs at a school like this is paramount and must be recognized. It cannot survive discarding this or that principle, or taking the ones that we like the best and discarding the others. The first Waldorf school, and all Waldorf schools, work to sustain wholeness to reflect each child who comes to it: whole, complex, and shining.
Book Review: The Falconer June 11 2017
In Waldorf schools, history is taught largely through the medium of biography. The life stories of individual human beings, famous and not so famous, good and not so good, are told by the teacher or read in books. Each life, interesting in itself, illuminates the events and conditions of the time in which the person lived.
Can Morality be Taught? June 08 2017
Waldorf Publications Memorial Day Sale May 26 2017Get ready for your Summer Reading by shopping our Book Sale. All books published by Waldorf Publications are 30% off through Tuesday, May 30! We have something for everyone; parents, teachers, administrators, and students of all ages!
Math and Arithmetic in a Waldorf School May 24 2017
Children learn arithmetic in school. Most of what we call “math” is arithmetic — the skills of computation and calculation. When we do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, times tables, square roots, calculating area — for examples — we are doing arithmetic. Arithmetic is a division or department of mathematics. Geometry, algebra, and calculus are other branches of mathematics.
Teaching children skills in arithmetic tends to be a cause of anxiety in our culture. Comparative studies accomplished in the latter part of the last century, comparing the attitudes of Japanese parents and American parents about arithmetic skills was revealing. Read More
Today "difficult children"—children with attention deficit disorder, high levels of anxiety, restlessness, aggressiveness, and other emotional and behavioral problems — are a major challenge for parents, educators. and therapists. Once the child has been diagnosed and labeled as having ADD or autism or some other condition, the standard approach is to use psychotherapy and/or psychotropic drugs to change behavior. Millions of children today, for example, take the drug Ritalin for attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity. Continue reading...
The End of Year Report in Waldorf Schools May 12 2017
Assessment is a “hot topic” in the news and in educational debate. In Waldorf schools assessment takes many forms, none of which includes standardized testing.
During the year, concentrated “blocks” of study might include an end-of-block assessment. A block might be three or four weeks long and concentrate study on one topic. After a botany block in the fifth grade an outdoor “treasure” hunt to find, for example, a monocotyledon, a pistil, a tap root, a deciduous conifer branch, a dicotyledon, and so on, might be the "test.” After a block on physiology in grade seven, an essay entitled, “The Diary of a Sandwich,” might be the means of assessment.
Traditional Tales Retold by Kelly Morrow April 20 2017
Lazy Jack; King Thrushbeard; The Prince and the Dragon; and Sylvain and Jocosa
When class teacher Kelly Morrow’s search for first readers appropriate and challenging for her students proved fruitless, she created her own. The four little books range from 18 to 38 pages. Each book tells a folk story in a simple, clear, but interesting way, and each story is enriched by a moral truth. The cover of each is an engaging color illustration, and there are black and white drawings throughout.
Book Review: Liputto ~ Stories of Gnomes and Trolls March 30 2017The first few stories in this collection recount the exploits of a disagreeable troll, who ensnares unsuspecting creatures – a goldfish, butterflies – in his net and keeps them in his dark cave; other animals help to free the captives. Then begins the story, in short chapters, of Liputto, a gnome whose job it is to bring drops of sunlight deep into the earth; after seven years of work, he is awarded a kind of sabbatical, to explore for a year.
New Release! Three Plays for Small Classes March 24 2017Three Plays for Small Classes offers class teachers an inspiring start at approaches to drama with only a few in middle school. Vivian Jones-Schmidt demonstrates her Waldorf class teaching experience in the ingenious re-telling of profound tales through the scripts she offers. Drama is a source of endless redemption for pre-teens and for students of all ages, really.
Happy Spring Equinox 2017! March 20 2017
March 20th or 21st always marks “the first day of spring.” Jokes abound in the Northeastern part of our country because it often doesn’t feel at all like spring on this inaugural day.
But the real event is a cosmic one that takes place in the stars and planets. This is why the exact day is not possible to state without stellar calculations. The day is called “The Spring (Vernal) Equinox.”
Waldorf Publications and WECAN Form a More Perfect Union February 26 2017
Here in the land of publishing it’s not always easy to tell what is happening beyond the borders of a completed book process. During the journey of publishing a book there are proposals from authors, committee decisions about those proposals, backs-and-forths with authors, decisions about the age range of the book’s usefulness, permissions from other publishers, decisions about illustrations where needed, layouts, font choices, size of the book, cover decisions, edits, proofreading, biographies of authors, sometimes translation issues, and then the actual lining up for printing of the book before going to press. Read More...
The Heart of Childhood in the Heart of Winter February 20 2017The Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) holds its annual east coast conference in Spring Valley every year during the first or second weekend of February. A while ago this coincided with the beginning of February break for many schools. Now school districts do winter and spring breaks at different times; however, the established rhythm was set and has remained. That this rhythm has withstood the test of time is fine tribute to our Waldorf Early Childhood teachers who understand better than anyone in the world how powerful rhythm is in cultivating the foundation senses and strengthening our life forces. Read More...
Annual Damaged Book Sale! February 16 2017Every so often we receive a shipment of books that have been damaged during transit. A slight ding to the cover or a creased page does not mean that the book is unreadable, only that we cannot sell it at full price. We collect these cosmetically damaged books throughout the year and hold a “Damaged Book Sale” when we have a nice assortment collected. Despite being slightly damaged these books are ready to be read and treasured! Read More...
Groundhog Day or Candlemas? February 02 2017
In the mighty Celtic calendar, the year is marked by the two solstices and the two equinoxes. At the Winter Solstice, the days are the shortest of the year; at the Summer Solstice, the days are the longest of the year. At the Autumn Equinox and the Spring Equinox the days are exactly as long as the nights.
The days that mark the halfway mark between these four celestial events are traditionally named “cross-quarter days” as they are the between the quarters markers.
There’s No Minute Like the Last Minute! December 16 2016Waldorf Publications and the Research Institute for Waldorf Education have many fine possibilities for thoughtful gifts when thoughtfulness in the hectic season becomes hard to muster.
Consider the caliber and depth of some of these gifts — remember, books and subscriptions keep giving long into the future!
This Special Time of Year December 07 2016In our western world, there is a building feeling of celebration leading up to the winter solstice, Chanukah, Christmas, and even the Lakota Winter Count. The sun’s turning toward greater and greater strength and light gives this season a feeling of “something significant happening.” Ancient stories indicate that the “windows of heaven” are open for a time in the deep winter and heaven hovers near the earth more closely than at other times of year. Read More...
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Buy Nothing Friday! November 24 2016
The Friday After Thanksgiving is celebrated at Waldorf Publications and the Research Institute for Waldorf Education, RIWE, as “Buy Nothing Day.” The sweetness of the Thanksgiving holiday is its absence of commercialism. Food, family, gratitude, gathering are all that need be pondered and enacted. Read More...
A Waldorf teacher's presentation on Martinmas & Veteran's Day! November 10 2016The feast of St. Martin coincides with Veterans’ Day. This is no accident because St. Martin of Tours started his life as a conscripted soldier in the Roman army. He was even in his youth, remarkable and he rose in rank to a leadership position quickly.
Happiness is Winning the World Series after 108 Years November 04 2016Just ask the Chicago Cubs what happiness is and they will tell you. Winning the World Series for their team and their community after 108 years of no participation in the Series or championship wins is the “sweetest thing, with no words to describe it,” one elated team member said to a journalist when the last inning was completed and the Series was won.
That word, “happy” or “happiness,” is a mysterious word, overused in the USA. Deviating from the sports arena for a moment — the word happiness is used frequently about schools and teachers and education. Recent surveys done by private schools indicate that many parents....
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day: the Christian Counterpart to Samhain or Hallowe’en October 30 2016Those who grew up going to a parochial school of any kind in the Christian streams of faith know that Hallowe’en is the contraction of Hallow’s Evening. The pagan practices of Samhain or harvest festivals that include the awareness of the thin veil that exists at this time of year between the dead and the living were deeply rooted in ancient cultures. Read More...
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