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October 24, 2008

Comments

sajalu

I'm halfway between weeping and cheering after I read this. One of your best yet, Donna. I, too, worked in early childhood preschool/daycare for years before I had children and came away with the firm resolve that my future children would never attend.

My youngest, 4, is now attending a Waldorf parent/child program that is really only meant for 1-2 year olds. We registered with another friend, whose daughter is 3, and now because we are in it two other 3 year olds have registered as well. The teacher, who approved us registering our "older" children, has said in passing, "before long we'll have a parent/child kindergarten." I think there are lots of parents out there who would love the option of having something structured like a parent/child program that would be available to children past the age of 2.

I believe that at this Waldorf school, even two year olds can attend a "kindergarten" class! I heard a mother comment something along the lines of how rough it is to be in the class, because there are always one or two who cry the whole time! What is this worth?

kimg

It is a comfort in amidst the storm of pressure to send your tiny kiddies off into the world, to be reminded that I am not over protective, or severely stunting my child's development, but giving them the best start possible. This is an especially helpful reminder on the days when I don't really WANT to be at home all day! I look forward to seeing what kind of resources you can come up with to help to stay at home parent.
Thank you for all that you do!

Kyrie

Thanks, Donna, for letting me feel as though I really am doing the right thing! Betrayed is exactly what I felt. There was all this information available to us about how to create rhythm and peace in our homes...but then as we came to the end of the session, there was a definite favoring towards the mothers (and children) who had decided to go on to preschool (at barely three years of age!). I felt like all the handouts and songs and rhymes meant nothing at that point. Why tell us how to create a wonderful home life for our children when they never meant for our children to be at home??? I was heartbroken and nearly decided to give up Waldorf education for good.

I used to feel that staying at home with my children was a gift- now I feel that it's a choice, just like any other choice that I make for the health and well-being of my littles (although I still cherish it as a privilege). My children are a true delight to be with, but more importantly, I know that I am helping them develop in the best way I can.

I, too, taught preschool before I became a mama. I found it exhausting and overwhelming to be a mother to so many little people who needed their own mothers. I remember crying at drop-off time to be standard!

I wanted to mention, however, that enthusiasm does not imply readiness!!! When Maya and I were going to the parent-tot program, she was very, very excited to go, every time. Thrilled to be there and seemed to really love it in every way. But...it also meant that she would spend the entire weekend (it was held on Fridays) striking out, crying for no discernible reason, extra tired, exhibiting other nervous behaviors. Clearly she was not ready (her first group experience ever). She now often mentions school, plays that she is going to school, etc. Whenever we pass the Waldorf school, she says, "There's my school!" I think she believes at some point she will be going back, and I'd say that she misses it, but I wonder how much of it is just playing out an experience that was too much for her to handle at the time.

I also wanted to mention how difficult I think it is to stand up for what I believe in when it comes to others. It's one thing to make the choice to stay home with small children for yourself, and quite another (sticky!) situation when you are...passing judgement on another mother. I have an old friend who tried to get pregnant for five years and was finally successful- but then went back to work full time six weeks after the baby was born, even though there was no financial need. I was stunned and dismayed and told her in a way that I perceived to be gentle, but I lost a friend over it anyway. How hard it is to stand up for children in a world that pushes them away!

Mary

Excellent article. I am a single mom of a homeschooled 7 year old and a 2 and a half year old. I am lucky because when I work my mother watches my kids. I work part time and I think that the financial struggle is totally worth it. From my understanding, Steiner devised an educational plan for the industrialized new forming society where both parents had to work. It was designed to mimic what the child was learning in the ideal, that is the home, environment. The home was as central to the child's education, as engaging the heart was central to his or her learning. When any philosophy or pedagogy becomes dogmatic it loses the freedom and the beauty with which it was designed.
I find it amazing that anyone can profess loving Waldorf education, then want to drop off their young ones for any long length of time. Its like embracing beauty, then buying a man made rose, over a real one...or finding high quality books then leaving the kids to watch the latest DVD, because "there are no commercials"...its like letting the children on the computer because the neighbor's kids are carrying cell phones...or teaching the kids to cook microwave dinners..its simply a COP OUT. We can be gentle with our friends, but a true friend holds similar beliefs and are supportive of our beliefs. Can one choose a comfortable standard of living knowing that their toddlers/childs heart is being crushed, that their spirit is being dismantled and highjacked by all the current forces which are at work? Its seems pretty simple for me. Protect your kids.

raquel

I agree. there is a work on communication to be done, to safeguard the memory of what it is to be a normal childhood.

when a mom gave me her kid to take care for six hours a day I told her at the end of the day how sad she has been with us, and i do not blame it into the adaptation process so much...so the mom decides to cut back on three hours, and by seeing us there is a bridge established, and perhaps next time she will decide to change her train of thought and to stay at home with her kid.

if i do not take care of the kid in the first place there is no place for this communication, and the mom may find a suitable childcare situation.

i think little things like these can help change things one kid, one mom, one family at a time. and it feels honest to me to work this way.
raquel

Susan

Cheers to Donna, and all who speak out for those too young to voice their needs (although I would say littles do voice their needs, it is just that too many people don't listen).

I hold an image of a simple, peaceful, orderly homelife as we parent and homeschool our 7 year old. It is not easy to be a SAHM, going against society, family, experts. I have not found much support for a quiet life, even at homeschooling groups-so much frantic activity seems to be going on. At times I feel akin to the pioneers, as I am so out of step with the rest of the world. But I press on, knowing that for my daughter, this is the best choice.

Meredith Carrington

THANK YOU!!! My husband and I have been in a terrible struggle for the past two weeks (me for the past 3+ months) over whether or not our 3 1/2 year old is ready to start school. We participated in a parent/child class at a local Waldorf school last year and while I loved it, she stood firmly at the door each time we went, not wanting to go in. I thought I was doing the right thing by pushing her to go in and engage with the other children but time and again she told me how much she didn't like it. I thought she was just being difficult. So, we enrolled her in a 3 day Waldorf kindergarten that started 2 weeks ago. All summer she told me that she didn't want to go to school. I thought maybe she'd change her mind and I thought (because EVERYONE told me so) it would be "good" for her - "she needs the separation. . . she NEEDS the socialization. . .etc." Well after 2 weeks she still tells me that she doesn't like school and doesn't ever want to go back. I know that the teacher and the environment is the most like home that I could ever find but still she just wants to stay home. She IS NOT ready!!! And why should she be forced at 3 1/2 to leave home? I AM blessed to be a Stay-at-home mom and I don't feel, like so many other moms I meet, like I can't wait to get my kids out of the house so I can have some time to do what I want to do. My work is my kids right now and I LOVE it!!! Sorry, to rant myself but it has been a very stressful past two weeks and reading this post has solidified my decision to bring my daughter back home. Thank you!

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