While I’m very far from a Luddite, one of the reasons that we specifically chose a Waldorf education for our three children was the limitations on technology and media exposure at a young age, which allows them to develop a better sense of ‘self’ so that when they interact with media and technology they are coming from a position of strength and not one of being manipulated by the media/technology. I agree that kids should have an understanding of the perils of online technology and critical thinking skills when dealing with media, but not at the expense of the character of the Waldorf Education. Waldorf offers something special and unique. Our WSB kids are far more developed than their peers in reading, writing, history and more, and they aren’t as swayed by the latest big movie release, or pop songs over-sexualizing them when they still need to be children.
I work with kids in 4th and 5th grade in the city public schools, with 8th graders in Roland Park, Francis Scott Key, Kennedy-Kreiger and Calvert schools, and I see the results of the over-exposure all the time. I run children’s writing programs for 6–12 year olds at Loyola, in-school audio recording/production programs and summer radio programs. I see and hear the results of their educational path constantly and I’m deeply grateful for what WSB offers as an alternative.
There is an expanding pushback from pediatric groups against media and technology for young children. Perhaps instead of running towards technology WSB might do well to use the scientific studies to reinforce its stand to not introduce things too early? This article, by the American Academy of Pediatrics, explores this issue.
As parents, we have the ability to teach technologies that we want at home, in addition to the curriculum, whether it’s coding, mobile app development, particle physics, audio production, etc… There may be other parents that don’t necessarily want these topics taught in their WSB classroom. I’m only suggesting that we tread lightly lest we put at risk the very character that led many of us choose WSB over the vast array of generic private schools in the city.
John Devecka (WSB parent)