News from AWSNA                 August 2017
The official e-news of the Association of independent Waldorf schools

How do you respond when someone asks you a question? There is much to be gained from giving the question back to a child instead of giving them an answer, as Kim Allsup, author of the blog  Growing Children and the book  A Gift of Wonder and teacher at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod suggests. For example:
  • You want your child to be a creative thinker and a problem solver.
  • You want your child to develop independence.
  • You want your child to learn the art of conversation.
I was thinking that our interactions with adults would also benefit from this way of responding to questions. What happens when you answer someone by saying, "What do you think?" instead of jumping in with an opinion?

Practicing the art of conversation, so that we are listening, and interested, as much as we are trying to respond and inform, seems a healthy, healing way of interacting for all of us.

Warmly, 

Beverly Amico
for the AWSNA Executive Team  
bamico@awsna.org

P.S. You can read the whole article--and many others--on Waldorf Education.

A recent article in Erziehungskunst discusses the truth that we cannot have everything, much less everything at all times. "This simple fact is ignored by our society ... Greater leisure in the life of our children is not achieved through the optimisation of space and time but through the decision to make do with less. Goethe called it renunciation. That is difficult. The super excellent pupil who plays one or two instruments to a very high standard, excels at sport, trains daily in the paddock and does ballet on alternate days - that is the model. And when all those things don't work out then a social safety net has to kick in which deals with the deficits from the bottom up with extra tuition, provision to keep the children occupied and learning support for social behaviour. And this in the children's leisure time."

Read   more on Waldorf Education.
Photo: Escuela Waldorf de Cuernavaca  
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

An article in The Atlantic explores the correlations between depression and the smartphone in children and teens. "The correlations between depression and smartphone use are strong enough to suggest that more parents should be telling their kids to put down their phone. As the technology writer Nick Bilton has reported, it's a policy some Silicon Valley executives follow. Even Steve Jobs limited his kids' use of the devices he brought into the world. What's at stake isn't just how kids experience adolescence. The constant presence of smartphones is likely to affect them well into adulthood. Among people who suffer an episode of depression, at least half become depressed again later in life. Adolescence is a key time for developing social skills; as teens spend less time with their friends face-to-face, they have fewer opportunities to practice them."

Read more on Waldorf Education .

Why There's No Such Thing  as 
a Gifted Child

What makes someone succeed? An article in The Guardian brings up an interesting point: "Einstein, the epitome of a genius, clearly had curiosity, character, and determination. He struggled against rejection in early life but was undeterred. Did he think he was a genius or even gifted? No. He once wrote: 'It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.'"

Read more on Waldorf Education
Photo: DaVinci Waldorf School

Donna De La Cruz, the "Well" blogger for The New York Times, decries the shifting emphasis away from physical activity in school. "In 1961, President Kennedy said school kids needed physical activity to thrive, but in the past 20 years, the pendulum has totally shifted the opposite way because schools are feeling the pressure to have students do well on standardized tests," Ms. DiStefano said. "We are not thinking about the child as an entire person, how physical activity helps them cope with the stresses of school and actually benefits them in the classroom."

Read more on Waldorf Education

At Fast Company, as at many tech companies, developers make up less than a quarter of the workforce. "While tech businesses are booming, many of the jobs waiting to be filled require broader skill sets than just great engineering chops. And in my experience anyway, the truly irreplaceable jobs--not just of the future but of the present--are the roles that intermingle arts and science. My employees with humanities backgrounds regularly show they're willing to learn new skills and try new things. Think about the other roles that deal with developing and marketing tech products and services: Sales teams need to understand human relationships. Marketing teams have to understand what gets people excited and why. Internally, our HR teams need to know how to build a community and culture so the company can continue to thrive. The nuts and bolts of software development are just one small part of any successful tech company. It would actually be foolish to limit my hiring only to people with tech backgrounds."

Read more on Waldorf Education 
 
Wait Until 8th

The Waldorf School at Moraine Farm has recently partnered with Wait Until 8th, a national movement that empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children smartphones until at least 8th grade. "There is a growing awareness in our society that media, in all its forms, produces harmful effects in children, perhaps the greatest loss being the dimming effect it has on the imagination and the ability to think creatively. While we, as adults, have the capacity to absorb and process the experiences we have online, children are not yet capable of doing so. Childhood is a time to learn through activity, nature, playing creatively, and integrating socially. We wanted to support this movement so that every child can experience more of what our community experiences but on a national level. By banding together and showing our support, this will help to decrease the pressure felt by kids and parents alike over kids having a smartphone. Childhood is too short to waste on a smartphone."

Read more on Waldorf Education .

It is getting harder and harder to disconnect in a time when connection is constantly demanded by bosses, peers, and friends. Seppälä makes some suggestions, for example:

1. Make a long walk-without your phone-a part of your daily routine.
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
3.  Alternate between doing focused work and activities that are less intellectually demanding.

Read more on Waldorf Education .
Photo: Rudolf Steiner College

AWSNA's blog explores topics that matter to educators,
researchers, policy experts, and thought leaders
from a  Waldorf Education perspective.

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AWSNA provides leadership to schools by facilitating resources, networks and research as they strive towards excellence and build healthy school communities. The Association performs functions that its member schools and institutes could not do alone, including:
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Questions please contact webeditor@awsna.org or an AWSNA executive director:  

Executive Director, Finance & Operations: Stephanie Rynas
srynas@awsna.org
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Executive Director, Advancement: Beverly Amico
515 Kimbark, Suite 106Longmont, CO 80501
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Executive Director, Membership: Melanie Reiser
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