Friday, December 11, 2009

Waldorf

I am sitting in the waiting room at the university while Samuel is being tested. The woman who is doing the testing is a doctoral student, working under a psychologist. She seems like a very thourough likable lady who interacts well with children. Samuel is a little trooper. He woke up and we were out the door before the sun came up. He is excited about missing two whole days of school.

George and I visited the Waldorf school on Wednesday. It was indeed an interesting experience. The first classroom we visited was the 1st grade. The teacher is a man around thirty. The classroom is extremely simple in decor, no overload of color. The desks are old fashioned wood. There is a chalk board with beautiful drawings that the teacher makes daily that go along with the main lesson. When we walked in he was telling them a story of an eagle. He was very animated in his story telling. The kids were engaged, answering and asking questions. Everything was very orderly. The kids all raised their hands before talking. Then they all got into the middle of the class for some circle singing and dancing. All of them knew the words and the movements. Again, they were all engaged laughing and smiling.

Both George and I noticed that the kids seemed content. They were not rushed. The schedule on the board was clear. I liked seeing a big recess block of time. They also had games, German, handwork and music in the daily schedule. They bring their lunches in woven baskets. Everything was very simple and natural.

I am not without my reservations. I'm not sure how Samuel would do with so much oral teaching. In the younger grades they do a lot of hands on activities to reinforce the skills. If we commit to this school, we will have to commit for the long haul. It's not something you do for a year or two and put them back in a regular school. If you do this, they will be behind. Waldorf starts off slow. This is one of the things that appeals to me. Another thing is that it is the teacher that accepts the child. Samuel would have to go in for a three day trial. The teacher could observe him to see if they fit each other. Because the teacher moves up for at least three years with these kids, he needs to make sure it's going to be a match.

So, that's where we are. I am hoping that this testing will help us in our decision making. If there are some significant learning disabilities, I'm not sure if Waldorf would be the best fit. We'll just continue on our journey knowing that God is with us every step.

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