How this forum works:

This forum is open to all Waldorf parents. You are encouraged to discuss the topics posted on this blog using "comments". If you have a question you would like to have addressed, please e-mail me, and I will put it on my schedule of topics. Contact me as well if you would like to post a topic yourself, so I can send you instructions.

Please remember, this forum is about supporting one another, our children, our teachers and our schools. By participating in this forum, you agree to keep your thoughts and ideas positive, even, and especially, when the topics are delicate. Try to avoid naming specific people or schools except when congratulating them on achievements. I reserve the right to remove any postings or comments that are not in the spirit of compassionate mutual support.

- Ms. Ilian

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Phlegmatic Child

That sweet child with the round, soft face, warm, moist, gently padded physique who sits fully absorbed in some quiet activity is very possibly phlegmatic. Does she love comfort and routine? Does she dislike surprises and changes? Does she revel in gustatory experiences and welcome rest periods? This child is almost certainly Phlegmatic!

Phlegmatic children have an especially strong metabolic system. They digest everything, from food to knowledge. They thrive on order, and are most comfortable in peaceful environments. These children are not apt to complain. They will take most things in stride, dealing with them in a systematic, orderly way. However, if roused, they can be like a volcano that, after years or decades of slowly building subterranean pressure, blows its top, scattering fire and debris around. Such an event often comes as a complete surprise to everyone, even the closest family and friends, and should be taken very seriously.

Comfort is the byword of the phlegmatic child. His clothes will often be soft and loose, and he would just as soon wear the same outfit every day - sometimes even to bed. After all, changing clothes takes more effort than it is usually worth. He will choose board games over sports, and usually loves to read or think about things. Everything to do with food appeals to the phlegmatic child, from cooking to eating. This child also enjoys sleeping, and welcomes nap periods.

Working with phlegmatic children can be both gratifying and frustrating. They thrive in an orderly environment, and will happily follow the daily routines. However, if you make a change, they may resist, especially if they are not given sufficient advance notice. Once occupied, they will continue with a project for quite a long time; but transitions are challenging, and may need a lengthy preparation. Once you know this, you can work with it effectively through a series of timed warnings alerting plegmatic children of the upcoming change or transition:

"Start looking for a stopping place. Dinner will be ready in 15 minutes."

"10 minute warning - dinner is almost ready."

"5 more minutes until dinner. Stop what you're doing and wash your hands."

"Dinner time!"

The other children may show up at once and hang about (you may take this opportunity to set them to work helping to put the dinner on the table), or ignore you until the final call. Your phlegmatic children will respond in a small way to each separate invitation, and will appreciate being helped through the transition from their previous activity to the new one. It is all a matter of overcoming inertia - first ending the current activity, then beginning the next. You may find this maddening at times, but to your phlegmatic children, this is just a matter of systematically building and maintaining routine, and thereby establishing order and comfort.On the other hand, if you can relax into your phlegmatic child's pace, you may well come to enjoy the calm that is created when one is fully engaged in a single task, rather than attempting to juggle several different activities. Except for the difficulties of overcoming inertia, most parents and teachers find their phlegmatic children easy going and easy to work with.

One of the greatest challenges facing the parents of phlegmatic children is finding ways to keep them active. One area in which you may well find success is in water sports. The phlegmatic child's element is water. Many phlegmatic children will take like fish to anything to do with water. A bath will calm them, a swimming pool will inspire them. They are attracted to rivers, lakes and oceans. Surfing and sailing are both sports that phlegmatic children are highly likely to be interested and successful in. They may even develop an active interest in marine life, or oceanic and atmospheric science.

And so we come to some rules of thumb regarding working with your phlegmatic child:

1. establish routines, and stick to them as much as possible.
2. Allow lots of time for changes in activities and schedule, and give several periodic alerts to help your child negotiate the transitions.
3. Remember, food is a great motivator! Involve your child in meal preparation. make your child's day special by offering a favorite food for a treat or reward; or have your child earn a favorite food by performing special deeds (or avoiding undesirable ones).
4. Comfort is the basis for happiness. Making sure your phlegmatic child is comfortable will help you avoid or eliminate challenging situations and  behaviors.
5. Water is your child's natural element. You can capitalize on this by giving him chores involving water, such as watering plants, or washing dishes by hand. Include a relaxing bath, perhaps with a lavender or pine scented bath oil, in your child's bed-time routine.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Sanguine Child

Sanguine children are the children of air and sunshine. They are like a fresh spring breeze. When they look at you with sparkling eyes and warm smile, you feel special, selected, included, yes, even privileged to be noticed and recognized by these special people. They are the kings and queens of the classroom, the princes and princesses of the home. Their favorite colors are all the colors of the rainbow. When they eat, it is small amounts of many flavors. They are drawn to sugar, and the quick energy it gives. More often than anything, sanguine children are compared to the butterfly that flies from flower to flower, never staying very lone with any one, but having an impact on each.

But please don't get the impression that the sanguine child is just superficial. He (or she) is a very imprtant part of the social mix. This can be a very organized child. He knows everyone's birthday, and makes sure it is recognized on the proper day. His love for colors is not just aesthetic; he will use it to color coordinate various aspects of his life, from his wardrobe to his schedule. He is aware and careful always of appearances, and will bring just the right addition to a room, or area of a room to transform it from the mere practical to the beautiful. During parties, it is the sanguine child that effects introductions, plans or proposes games, and generally lightens the mood and supports the social connections that might otherwise not take place.

So, you may say, what do I do then with my sanguine child?

Play to your child's strengths. When assigning chores, this is the child who will succeed beautifully at setting the table, freshening or picking flowers, organizing the shoe rack, etc. This is the child that will write letters to his granprents, and will do well as family emissary to friends and relatives. The rule with this child is, he will lighten and brighten.

What then is the down side? This child tends to have a short memory. Each day will bring a new "best" friend. the good intentions of today (or an hour ago) are forgotten as the new impulse of now takes hold. You can't just give this child a task; you must follow up on it and make sure it has come to fruition. And sometimes you need to follow your child and mend hurt feelings as he blithely goes from one best friend to the next, not realizing that yesterday's best friend feels abandoned today. Your task as a parent is to foster loyalty and consistency in your sanguine child, to help him balance his temperament and strengthen his resistance to impulse control.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Children and the Four Temperaments - What?!

Almost as soon as your child enters the first grade (and sometimes even before), teachers begin to talk about the child's temperament. The child seems to be classified into one of four categories of ancient Greek origin: phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, or melancholic. What?! I've heard parents exclaim. I thought you looked at the whole child, at each child individually. How can you generalize like that and box each child into a single category of temperament? Aren't children more complex than that?

And so the discussion starts. Yes, of course children are more complex than that. However, finding, through observation, the dominant characteristics of each child's temperament helps the teachers to work with the individual children and with the group. Waldorf teachers have a variety of ways to classify children as a result of careful observation, and these classifications change as the child passes through the different developmental stages leading to adulthood. In the early childhood years, the teachers speak of the children as being large or small headed, dreamy or awake. Once the child reaches grade school age, and until about (and often just beyond) the nine-year change, Waldorf teachers speak in terms of the four temperaments. Once the temperaments no longer seem to be a helpful way of looking at the children, Waldorf teachers find it useful to observe children in terms of the seven soul types.

Before going into descriptions and characteristics of the four temperaments, I would like to address the question: Aren't children more complex than that? Can they exhibit more than one temperament? Of course the answer is yes, and yes. Most children show dominance in just one of the temperaments, though many show a strong tendency towards a second as well. A few seem not to show any clear dominance. In addition the youngest grade schoolers often still show the sanguinity of early childhood itself, an element of temperament that can mask the child's individual temperament. Rather than trying to fit the children into one of four descriptive boxes, the teacher will consider all these variations while observing the child and try to understand from all the clues available who the child is and how best to work with him or her. And so, on to the descriptions.

Phlegmatic Children
Phlegmatic children live through their senses. This is the temperament of the first years of life, and in studying the nature of babies you can get a fairly good picture of the phlegmatic nature. Children of this temperament value safety, order and comfort. They are methodical and reliable. They take joy in rich sensory experiences, and tend to have good memories. They often appear soft, a bit round, and their skin usually feels warm and moist. Their favorite color is often green. Their element is water, and they tend to take joy in activities involving water.

Sanguine Children
Sanguine children, like sunbeams, bring light into the spaces they occupy. This is the temperament of early childhood. If you visit a nursery or kindergarten and observe the children moving quickly and easily from friend to friend, activity to activity like a butterfly among flowers, you can develop a feeling for the nature of the sanguine child. Sanguine children want to know everything and everybody, and to do everything, and in pursuit of this end may appear easily distractible and forgetful. They enjoy variety and spontaneity. They often appear slender and frequently run on their toes. Their element is air, and you may see all the colors of the rainbow expressed in whatever they do.

Choleric Children
Choleric children are energetic, enthusiastic and often impulsive. This is the energy one encounters in adolescence. They love working hard, especially when the task has clearly defined parameters including an easily identifiable conclusion. These children immerse themselves fully in everything they do. They accomplish a lot in a short period of time, but find sustaining activities over an indefinite period to be challenging. Their element is fire, and they frequently show a preference for fiery colors,particularly red. Choleric children often have a sturdy build and can wear out a pair of shoes at record speed because of their firm, purposeful tread.  Their handshake is firm, and often very warm. They are quick to anger, but also to laughter, and often can't remember exactly what sparked the emotion.

Melancholic children
Melancholic children are thinkers and planners. They take their responsibilities seriously. This is the temperament of adulthood. Melancholic children are typically loyal friends and careful workers. They tend to care deeply for all living things, and are drawn to healing and fixing all that is damaged or broken. Melancholic children often appear slender and pale and, unlike the sanguine children, the melancholics tread firmly on the earth, sometimes even dragging their feet a little. Their hands often feel cold to the touch. Melancholic children often show a strong interest in nurturing occupations and will work tirelessly for the benefit of others. Their element is earth, and they generally find the care of the earth satisfying. With their propensity for seriousness, they usually exhibit a strong, reliable memory, and  a talent for leadership

These are quick summaries of the temperaments. They provide an interesting tool for understanding the nature of children especially during the ages between six and ten. In the following posts I will feature each of the temperaments individually and more fully. I welcome the input and observations of this blog's readers.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preparing Your Child For the New School Year

For some of you, school has already started - for others it is about to start. Either way, there are always parents wondering: How can we get our children prepared for a new school year?

I know quite a few parents who spend the last few weeks of vacation reestablishing sleep rhythms and bed times that are more in keeping with a school schedule. That is an excellent start! Adequate sleep is one of the most necessary components of school readiness. Reestablishing regular meal times and habits, if these have migrated onto a vacation schedule, would be the second most helpful thing you can do for your child. And I would maintain, that establishing, or reestablishing, household chores and responsibilities would be the third most important factor. And finally, maintaining a space in each day for down time and free play would be the 4th component.

Giving your child a sense of responsibility balanced with free time, healthy food in a structured, warm family setting, and sufficient sleep introduced by a calming and beautiful ritual and followed, upon waking, with a bright, welcoming of the coming day, all these support your child in his or her day at school. Getting all these things started before the school year actually begins will help your child enter a healthy rhythm that can then be maintained once classes have started.

Sometimes the hardest part of this equation is deciding on appropriate chores for your child. A young child can take on smaller chores. I would, of course, expect all children that walk and talk to participate in cleaning up from their play. Having said this, sometimes the youngest children's efforts are ineffective or even counter productive; parents need to help and encourage at this age, as it is the forming of good habits that are the main goal here. One can also have quite young children help set or clear the table, and somewhat older children help "wash" the dishes. The extra work for the parent in redoing young children's chores is really worth the effort in establishing routines of participation.

Once children are 4 or 5, they can be given a task beyond (and in addition to) the immediately obvious ones of picking up after themselves and those associated with meals. The youngest can have the task of putting all the shoes to rest next to each other like good friends. Somewhat older children can begin making their beds in the morning (you may have to redo the job at first), or folding laundry (again, you may have to redo this at first). An older child can fold laundry while a younger one delivers it to the room of the person to whom each stack belongs. If you have a pet, the child can provide food and water. If you have house plants, your child may very well enjoy the responsibility of watering them.

Grade school children can continue the afore mentioned tasks, as well as others you may come up with, at a more sophisticated level. As they learn more skills, they can pick up responsibilities that utilize what has been learned. A child that has learned to write can be expected to write a letter to Grandma, or another relative each week. Older children can help keep grocery lists, can assist in food preparation, and help create seasonal decorations for the home. They can be given a time to work on crafts project, perhaps while you read to them, that will become holiday and birthday presents for relatives. They can be given a garden patch of their own, or put in charge of tasks within the family garden, if you have one.

Practicing responsibility in the home ultimately prepares the child for taking up responsibilities at school. And so my advice for the new school year: Set routines and expectations, and maintain them at an appropriate level for your child's age and stage of development. If you do this, everybody benefits.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Value of a Waldorf Education

This is a lecture given by Patrice Maynard of AWSNA (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) on May 18, 2010 to Green Meadow parents and prospective parents about the value and uniqueness of a Waldorf education, our role as parents, and the Waldorf movement in the US and the world.

A sought-after speaker and a parent of three Waldorf graduates, Patrice Maynard, M.Ed., is the leader for Outreach and Development of AWSNA. She was a class teacher as well as a music teacher at Hawthorne Valley School in upstate New York.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Understanding Waldorf School Structure: Part III

If you were to compare Waldorf school structure to a 3-legged chair, then in the last two posts I talked about the first two legs of that chair. The third, and equally necessary leg is the parent organization. This group goes by any of a variety of names, from PTA/PTO to Parent Council - but regardless of its name, its function is a vital part in maintaining school health.

While the faculty is the prime decision making body and pedagogical leader of the school, and the board is the keeper of responsibilities connected with finances and legal issues and requirements, the parent organization is the group that imbues the school with life. Consisting of parent representatives from each class as well as a faculty liaison (and often a board liaison as well), this group provides the man and woman power to get much of the work of the school done. The parent organization is the group that organizes the volunteers that ensure that school festivals and fundraising events are well organized and successful. The class representatives assist the teachers with class projects from preparing the building and grounds for the coming school year, to making sure that each class has a class parent - a parent who helps the class teacher organize plays, projects, trips, etc. that are class-specific. The parent organization also takes up the role of welcoming committee when there are visitors to the school, or a new family joins the school community. A strong parent organization gives the school a strong positive local presence. Through maintaining a school blog, representing the school in community events such as festivals and parades, by helping teachers organize public performances by the children at community events, or organizing a display of student work in public places, or by arranging for the school to host the visit of important lecturers and artists, and in many other ways I have not even mentioned, it is the parent organization that represents the school and Waldorf education in the community. Without the parents, most of this work would not be done, and the school would remain the best kept local secret. If one were to describe Waldorf school structure using the familiar three-fold sound bites: thinking, feeling, willing, or head, heart, hands, then the board would be represented by the head and thinking (the intellectual realm), the faculty would encompass the heart and feeling (the artistic realm), and the parents would  embody the limbs/hands and willing (the active, doing realm).

Waldorf schools therefore are faculty run, assisted and advised by the board, and powered by the parents. Dear parents, this forum is for you. I hope through it to help you to learn about and understand as much as you wish to or can about this Waldorf education that we love. Please let me know what you would like to discuss.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Understanding Waldorf School Structure: Part II

     The second primary governing body in a Waldorf school - in fact in any private school - is the advisory board. It consists of teachers, parents and, ideally, community members. All are volunteers. Usually joining the board involves an application and acceptance process, and this process is often initiated by a personal invitation from a teacher or board member. It is possible, however, to apply for board membership through personal initiative and demonstrated interest and commitment. Having certain useful skills helps too.

     What skills are useful to the board? This is best determined when one understands the board's responsibilities. These responsibilities are to oversee the legal and financial health of the school. The board has a number of important committees that include, but are not limited to, finance, development, site. The school charter and/or bylaws are drawn up by the board. So are the various contracts for employment, enrollment, and the like. For this reason, a strong, healthy board will include lawyers, accountants, business people, contractors, grant writers and the like. The presence of teachers on the board ensures that the faculty and board are able to work closely with one another where their individual responsibilities overlap. It also helps the board to educate the teachers regarding the business aspects of running a school, while the faculty is able to help the board learn more about Waldorf education and its underlying philosophy.

     Like the faculty, Waldorf school boards usually try to work by consensus. This can result in slower decision making, but usually also in well thought-out decisions that are supported by all members, leading to greater stability. The school's paid administrative staff plays a large roll in helping implement board decisions. In this way, overseen by the board and carried out by faculty, administration and committee volunteers, the policies of the school are carried out, bills are paid, tuitions and donations are collected, and legal requirements are met.

     I welcome my readers who have served on Waldorf school boards to elaborate on what I have described here, and for those who have more questions regarding the work of the board to ask them so that they can perhaps be answered.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Understanding Waldorf School Structure: Part I

What Does "A Faculty Run School" Mean?

     There is often a lot of confusion surrounding the structure of Waldorf schools, and first among the many items creating this confusion is the term "faculty run". In simplified form, this refers to the idea of the faculty being involved in all aspects of the school. It is an important concept. Rudolf Steiner wanted the teachers to involve themselves in the administration of the school as well as in the classroom work. He hoped in this way to keep the teachers grounded in the life of the world outside the sphere of pedagogy and  philosophy. He wanted the teachers to work together to create the policies as well as the curriculum of the school. Because of this, it is unusual to find a classic pyramidal structure with a superintendent, principal, etc. managing a faculty that in turn manages the children. How, then, is the structure of Waldorf schools to be understood?

     There are a number of visual diagrams representing a typical Waldorf school structure, ranging from a sort of venn diagram of interlocking circles to a three-pillared temple. In general, though, they show the same basic thing: three "governing" bodies working cooperatively and helped by professional administrative staff. Today I want to talk about the faculty's role as governing body of the school.

     The faculty's primary role is, of course, pedagogical. The teachers meet regularly to discuss the curriculum, the classes and the children. Theirs is the oversight over the learning as well as the social life of the children. They therefore also set the policies for discipline, dress code and the like for the children,  as well as for themselves. They agree to the calendar, the rhythms of the day, week and year,  and the festivals to be celebrated. They are responsible for the beauty and cleanliness of the classrooms and other school spaces, and for the presence of appropriate equipment and supplies, both indoors and out. Parent education and communication are also the responsibility of the faculty. Working with administrators and communicating with, and participating in the other committees of the school, including the two other "governing bodies" (board and parent group) is essential to the work of a Waldorf faculty. In designating a Waldorf school as "faculty run", the faculty's role as the body having oversight over the affairs of the school is affirmed.

     It is understood, however, that the faculty is not able to do all things and have all the skills essential to the successful operation of the school. They need - and seek - help from the school parents and the community at large. The primary source of help comes from the other two "governing bodies", the advisory board and the parent group. I will talk more about the role of the board in the next post, and about the parent group in the third section. I invite you to help flesh out this overview on school structure in the comments. Waldorf schools can be as varying as the people that inhabit them, and the towns in which they are located. It is precisely this variation that keeps the structure living, growing and changing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Your Class Teacher and You

     One of the distinguishing elements of a Waldorf class is the continuity of the teacher. During the nursery-kindergarten years, a child may have the same teacher for three or four years. Once the child enters the grades, the child stays in a class with the same teacher for as many as eight years. Since school occupies  nearly half of the child's waking life for most of the year, the relationship between the child and teacher, and subsequently between teacher and parents is profound. As with all important relationships, the sailing is not always smooth. The connection between the class teacher and the family requires careful nurturing on the part of all the participating adults.

     Children begin life as a kind of sense organ. They take in everything in their environment including the moods, attitudes, emotions, and so forth of the living beings around them, particularly the people that are closest to them, their parents. This quality stays with children for a long time, growing milder as their own being becomes stronger, but still present, sometimes even into adulthood. Seeing their parents and teachers strengthening and nourishing their relationship helps the children love and trust their teacher, setting the stage for effective learning in the grade school years.

     What can you do to help this process? An invaluable aid is the home visit. Teachers usually visit each child's home when they first take the class, usually in first grade. This doesn't need to be the only visit the teacher makes to your home. It can be very supportive to the relationships between teacher and child as well as teacher and parents if the home visit can become a yearly event. I have often experienced a strengthening in my relationship with one or another child following a home visit. The visit shows that the parents value the teacher, and that the teacher values and takes interest in the family.

     The parent-teacher relationship is also strengthened through regular, direct communication with one another. The more parents can share their family values and child raising experiences and challenges with the teacher, and the more the teacher can share the events, activities, challenges and successes of the individual child as well as of the class with the parents, the stronger the bond becomes. It is especially when the parents and teacher can discuss the personal, developmental and social challenges faced in the classroom and home with sympathy, honesty and trust, that the greatest advancements are made by the child. Achieving a relationship that allows this level of communication requires dedication and work, but is rewarded by setting a social example for the children, as well as by the emergence of a friendship that can last well beyond the child's years in the teacher's class.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Maintaining a Waldorf Home

     It is a sad reality that not everyone who would choose to send his/her child to a Waldorf school is able to do so. Sometimes the reason is financial. Sometimes there is no class for children your child's age (the school is too young). Sometimes there is a Waldorf school, but the class is already over-full and no more children are accepted. Sometimes your child's needs cannot be met by the school. And sometimes there simply is no Waldorf school in the area to send your child to. One way to still give your child some of the benefit of Waldorf education, when enrolling in a Waldorf school is not an option, is to keep a Waldorf home. And for those who do have children in a Waldorf school, keeping a Waldorf home supports your child's teacher, class and overall education.

     Keeping a Waldorf home is not difficult as long as you are committed to it, and it can even make parenting easier. Most important is to establish healthy family rhythms that include moments of reverence and thankfulness. These moments can easily be incorporated into the beginning and end of the day, and  into the beginning and end of meal times. The family rhythm should include appropriate chores for the children, regular meal times, outdoor play time, quiet read-aloud time, and the like. Some families include some creative time, or have special times for baths. Rituals around meals and bedtime can be very helpful to the smooth flowing of the day.

     Another way help keep a Waldorf household is to keep electronics to a minimum. If possible, don't even have a television in the house. Keep the computer in an office where the children are not to be playing. Let them know it is a tool for work. Avoid giving children pocket electronics such as cell phones and ipods. If these things are not easily available, they will not be so tempting.

     What can we replace the electronics with then? Outdoor play in the afternoons is the most healthy activity a child can engage in after school and on the weekends. Indoors, you can teach the children to bake, provide them with handwork projects, sing with them, have them play a musical instrument, have plenty of board and card and dice game for them to play, and, of course, have plenty of good quality children's books at and above the child's reading level. At first some of these activities might take more parental involvement, but as the children learn new skills, they can take up these activities more and more on their own.

     As the children get older, the pressure to introduce electronics into their lives will increase. It is not necessary to cave in to the demand - nor is it necessary to be tyrannical in your refusal. One way to approach this difficult situation is to tell the children they can have an ipod (or whatever) if they buy it themselves with money earned - not with allowance received for chores around the house. It helps to be clear exactly what you will and will not allow. For example, it is better not to let the child have a cell phone because that involves a regular bill that the child cannot pay. Or you may decide that you will accept a computer (with agreed upon rules of use), but not a television. If your children are not ready to make reasonable agreements with you, they are probably not ready for the responsibility that accompanies the privilege being sought. This rule can apply to any other privilege as well, such as overnight visits with friends, adopting a pet, attending a party, etc.

     All these suggestions, given here in a general way, are things that I have seen work. I'm sure there are other effective approaches, as well as further questions which I invite you to share.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Choosing a School

     As parents all over the country know, enrollment/re-enrollment time is upon us the the wonderful world of school. Parents have been investigating their options, trying to ascertain what the best choice is for their children and families. For each family there are a variety of influences that determine the final choice. Each situation is unique. And the questions each family is wrestling with are also case specific. Some parents are debating: Waldorf school, or something else? This question may center around what is available - or it may be a philosophical question. It may be influenced by financial considerations, or pressure from family, friends, and neighbors. It may be influenced by the child's age and level of schooling, or by the child's current school experience.

     There are those families who have already decided that their children will attend a Waldorf school. If there is only one school in the area, than the question of which school is moot. However, there are areas where Waldorf education is thriving to such an extent that there are multiple Waldorf schools, Waldorf method charter schools, and/or Waldorf home-school groups within reach. Although the decision, Waldorf or something else, has been made, choosing the right program can still be challenging. Home schooling requires a larger investment in time and energy from the parents than sending the child to school. Charter schools ease the financial burden, but are regulated by the government, and are not free from high stakes testing. Private schools are expensive. The child's personality, developmental stage and need for social outlets needs to be considered. The size of the school and class  affect the social atmosphere, as does the reality of whether the child's class is a single or combined grades class.

     These, and many other considerations go into the decision making. How to educate your child is not a light decision. And if you are drawn to Waldorf, it is a most effective decision if it is made in the spirit of the family enrolling, and with a view to a long-term relationship with and commitment to this form of education and your school.

     With these thoughts, I open the forum to comment by readers. As moderator, I am available to answer questions, but I hope the readers will be able to connect and help each other as well.

For an excellent article by Sarah Baldwin describing what a Waldorf early childhood program is like, follow this link.