Kingdom of Childhood: Introductory Talks on Waldorf Education

Waldorf Education
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Meditation instructions, meditations, exercises, verses for living a spiritual year, prayers for the dead, and other practices for both beginning and experienced practitioners--Start Now! has become. The Kingdom of Childhood: Introductory Talks on Waldorf Education [Rudolf Steiner, Christopher Bamford] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying.

The growing anxiety in our society over declining reading skills is so pervasive that suddenly, all the wonders and beauty of a Waldorf education pale in the shadow of the reading issue. People generally think of reading as the ability to recognize the configuration of letters on a page and to pronounce the words and sentences represented there.

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This is the mechanical outer activity of reading that is easy to recognize. I have taught for a number of years in public and parochial schools that use this standard approach.

This process, called reading readiness, is dry and abstract, foreign to the very nature of small children. In the primary grades, children continue to work on the outer mechanical aspect of reading. Readers and textbooks contain stories and information written with restricted vocabularies and simple sentence structure.

There is little to ignite young imaginations, to evoke wonder, or to stimulate appreciation for the beauty and complexity of language. By the time such students reached my fifth and sixth grade classroom, they were all capable of decoding the words on a page, with varying degrees of fluidity.

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Some were good readers, but for many of my students, the words and sentences did not come together into a coherent whole. They had difficulty understanding or remembering what they read.

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On the surface, these children appeared to be reading, but with such limited comprehension, can it really be called reading? Clearly, there is more to reading than meets the eye! Besides the superficial process of decoding words on a page, there is a corresponding inner activity that must be cultivated for true reading to occur.

Having the ability to form mental images, to understand, gives meaning to the process of reading.

Foundations of Waldorf Education Series (Steiner)

Without this ability, a child may well be able to decode the words on a page, but he will remain functionally illiterate. Of course non-Waldorf teachers recognize the importance of the inner activity of reading too. They refer to it as reading comprehension skills. The teacher in the upper grades must address reading comprehension problems and also deal with the tremendous antipathy children with difficulties feel towards reading.

It is very difficult to teach fifth or sixth graders, who have trouble with reading comprehension, how to create mental pictures. This inner capacity seems to have never properly developed in many.

They love listening to stories and actually live in the visual realm of imagination. How tragic that, in most schools, kindergarten and primary grade students are diverted from developing and strengthening this inner capacity so essential to true reading, in favor of learning dry abstract symbols and decoding skills.

The same thing can be said for vocabulary enrichment. Everyone knows how effortlessly young children develop a sense for language and how quickly and unconsciously their vocabularies grow.

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They hear new words in stories and conversations and somehow have a sense for their meaning. How unfortunate it is that in the early grades most children are not exposed to rich complex language, simply because such language would not be compatible with their limited decoding skills. Just at the time when their minds are most open to language acquisition they are working with artificially limited vocabularies in school! Teaching, Steiner says, should be artistic, creative, and improvisational, not dogmatic.

Yet he is clear that the great battle concerns the spiritual nature of the child.

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  • The Kingdom of Childhood - Waldorf Education lectures by Rudolf Steiner!

Other themes include understanding the role of health and illness in education, as well as repeated expositions of the three major phases in child development: imitation, authority, and freedom. There are also two lectures Steiner gave in England on Shakespeare and new ideals in education. Description : These dazzling, radical lectures were given one month before the opening of the first Waldorf Sch Qty :.