Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't make Me Go Waldorf on You!

We stumbled on the Seaside Playgarden only because a friend mentioned she saw this cute little school near the beach. She and her husband were garage-sale hopping in the area when the came across the school and thought it might interest me.

It was October of last year and I hadn't enrolled Turner in any of the area "church-type" schools because I was not only nervous about sending my baby out three days a week, I was terrified these people don't know my sensitive little man. He hadn't quite come out of his shell as a three year old (his birthdate is August 31st) so I was really torn about even sending him. All the other mommies were doing it, though, so I kept looking...

When the Seaside Playgarden option came around, I checked out the website and thought "Hmm, different and a fabulous price." That's it. That's all I thought. I didn't even know who or what Waldorf was. The teachers looked nice, the school was small, and it was just two days a week.
Within the next few weeks I noticed Turner becoming less and less dependent on me for everything. It was a combination of moving farther in to three and his attendance at school. He started singing songs out of the blue and even, now, tells these elaborate stories. His teacher, Ms. Julie, says Turner will now even walk in and start hamming it up with the kids and the other teacher in the school.

It wasn't until recently that I did any more research on Waldorf pedagogy. Based on our duty station choices I started to check out the local school options in Honolulu, and San Diego. I found astronomically priced Waldorf schools (5k for a 4 year old program? Ouch). Assuming if we lived in Japan Turner would attend a DOD program like the CDC (Child Development Center a.k.a. Glorified Babysitting) I started thinking back to the teeny voice that said 'homeschooling.'

Wait! Rewind. Homeschooling?

Psssh. That's for those crazy folk who drink the Cool-Aid and have tons of babies. I need my 'me' time. It's what moms do, right? Have babies and hurry them along to school so we can get back in to what interests us. Shopping, the gym, a pristine house, happy kids...perfect, perfect, perfect! That's what I want(ed). Perfection. Homeschooling does not equal perfection in my mind. Mess is all I think of. When do you clean? How do you dinner prep? When do you get to read your book/magazine?

It's been a whirlwind of reading, thinking and finally coming to this conclusion:
First let me say that I'm talking about early education. Not actually school school but more like making the most out of their time at home. This tiny flit of a moment is all we have with our kids. Turner is already copying my actions and, quite honestly, they're not all good. Not even close. I can do so much more but I was reaching for direction. I've found it. We are going to continue to learn more and follow a quasi-Waldorfian path. We're not dumping all our plastic toys and cutting off all media in the spirit of being purists. I am not going to homeschool for their lifetime, nor keep them from organized sports, or anything I consider pure joy in childhood (Ice cream man! Wait! I've got my money right heeeerrrreeeee! ). I'm not saying they need school at this very moment. I'm just saying that our home is going to be more "Waldorf inspired" and, if it's the case, I'll 'school' them in that manner for their first years. It really gives me a direction, a rhythm of my own to follow. It forces me to remember that this is my job; I am really my child's first teacher.

Our goal is this: Protect the Kingdom of Childhood. Fairies, gnomes, dirt, leaves, rocks, dough, felt and all.


Christine said...

AWESOME!! I wish we had Waldorf here that wasn't $80,000,000,000. I highly recommend getting a subscription to "Living Crafts" Magazine... they have such cute projects!

Nellie said...

thanks, christine! i haven't come across that yet so i'll check it out. i've got some books on the way...general parenting but waldorf thoughts. we need some changes. not that we do a lot of crazy stuff to begin with...but the no TV is helping the boys a lot. it's been tough, but great. :)