It’s not every day you’re quoted in an ABCNews article

Preschoolers Behaving Badly: Expulsions Rise

No, no, no. Please don’t get the wrong idea. Ava did NOT get expelled from preschool or any such thing, but I did get the opportunity to contribute my thoughts regarding a Yale University study that showed bad behavior and preschool expulsions are on the rise. Check out the top of page 3. Go ahead. I’ll wait. πŸ˜‰

While I wish the journalist would’ve used more of what I said regarding gentle discipline, I felt that I came across sounding OK. (Hopefully it doesn’t make Ava sound like a bully either because she is certainly nowhere near that. She is a 3-year-old and she does react physically and emotionally at times, as I suspect most 3-year-olds do.) I would’ve loved to talk more about the type of preschool (Waldorf-inspired) Ava attends (which is a small in-home play-based school), but that wasn’t really germane to the article. Or was it?

One of the things I love about Waldorf preschool (and the Waldorf philosophy in general) is that it encourages imagination and creativity through free play and natural toys. Things like learning letters, numbers and how to read are not a part of Waldorf preschool. In fact, they don’t believe in teaching kids to read and write until they are *gasp* 7 years old. Honestly, when I learned that, my initial thought was that it seemed kind of late. However the more I thought about it and the more I learned about Waldorf the more it made sense to me.

Kids are only kids once. Why do we have to rush them into academia? Why can’t we let them be kids? Being a child should be about exploring his/her world and learning through play and imitation. They have the rest of their lives to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. That being said, I also acknowledge that different types of schooling and education work for different kids and Waldorf is not for everyone, but it seems to fit well with Ava so far. I feel fortunate in that we each have a choice regarding what works best for our children.

While I don’t know if we will continue with Waldorf education past preschool, I do know that holding off on formally teaching reading until age 7 doesn’t seem that odd to me anymore. I don’t want to deny Ava (or Julian) the experience of being a child where they can play, explore, and imagine to their heart’s content. In the meantime it’s not like Ava isn’t learning letters, counting, numbers, etc. at home. I mean, it’s a part of life and she’s definitely exposed to it, but I am happy that for her preschool is a place where she can play and explore her creativity and imagination. It works for us. πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “It’s not every day you’re quoted in an ABCNews article”

  1. How neat you were quoted, and what 3 year old hasn’t tried to get a toy away from another child?

    I thought the article was interesting, and I just had to deal w/this last week in Ryan’s preschool.

    There is a child there, who does seem kind of like a bully to me. I have seen him a number of times push kids, take things away, and he is always screaming during pick-up time. He has been in Ryan’s class since last semester- so I have seen him act like this since August.

    Ryan told me as I was putting his shoes on, that this child hit 3 kids during the morning. Then, as I was helping Ryan put his coat on, he came charging at Ryan, out of the blue, and hit him in the knees w/ his head for no reason. If I had not been there to catch R, he would have fallen-hard on a concrete floor. It was really upsetting! This child seems like he has more of a problem than just being in a bad mood, too much stimuli, etc.

    I e-mailed the director, and she was shocked to hear this was going on- the teachers hadn’t brought it to her attention yet. Anyway, they have decided to let the child stay for now, but if he becomes disruptive, they will take him out of the class, and call his mom.

    Honestly though, I was hoping they would expell him. Ryan was very upset when this happened, and now he says he doesn’t want to go to school, b/c of this child. We pay a lot of money for this private preschool program, and now he can’t enjoy it.

    While trying to be fair to the child who has a problem, it seems to be unfair to the rest of the students who are affected by kids who constantly act up. I am upset by the whole thing. I told the director my feelings, but like the teacher said in the story, it doesn’t seem like there is much they can or want to do. I am glad that they have a plan in place for his child though- maybe it will help.

    I’m glad Ava is doing so well w/ Waldorf- there are a lot of things about it, I personally don’t think would work well for us for education- the reading is one of them. I worry if Ryan doesn’t learn to read with his age group, and then he isn’t in Waldorf, where does that leave him? I don’t want him to be a 7 or 8 year old in a kindergarten or first grade class, because he can’t read. That is my big concern- what happens if for whatever reasons- financial, location, etc. you are not able to continue with Waldorf- will your child be years behind their peers?

    But, having said all that, I do think there is too much pressure on young kids to learn too much, too fast. They should just be children as long as they can, and I’m happy that you have found something that works so well for Ava. πŸ™‚

  2. I have just learned that children go througha major development when they lose their milk teeth at around 6-7. And only then they are really ready for reading and writing. But in this modern day today, everything is rushed!

  3. Amy – that is awesome!! How cool to be quoted!

    My daughter is also in a home-based Waldorf preschool, and she thoroughly enjoys it (as do I). I love the gentle discipline, and I really think it helps her act more appropriately. She is also the youngest child by a year or more, so the other children model mature behaviors for her, as well. I love the multi-age classroom, too! Of course she learns things we could do without, but it is totally balanced by the creativity and play she is learning there.

    I could go on and on and on about dd’s school πŸ™‚

  4. Enjoy the fame. It is nice to have a little of the limelight.

    In September, a little guy in my daughter’s class was pulling her braids and causing her other trouble. He was new to the daycare and I felt bad speaking to the teachers about him but it was making Reid cry on daycare days. The teachers moved the little boy from Reid’s table and then put an extra focus on mannerly behaviour for all of the kids and the problem ceased. Reid is in a daycare with subsidized spaces and so expelling the little guy (if he was in a subsidized space) would have been quite difficult. I’m glad that they found a solution that involved everyone getting along.

  5. Hey – congrats!!!

    I am SO, so with you with this enormous rush to have kids grow up. It starts when they’re born and are expected to sleep through the night and otherwise not be babies and it just gets worse πŸ™ As you may have surmised, we’re dealing with this kind of issue right now where there is this huge push to have kids grow up for K-garten…and we’re not ready here, thanks!

    Anyway – cool quote πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for talking about Waldorf – I’ve been trying to find out what Waldorf is about, and for my side of the family waiting until 7 to read is a bad idea – that is the age when kids usually start reading novels (“The Hobbit” and “Nancy Drew”, for example) in my family. Social skills, however, tend to be delayed – not agression, etc.; but more not being good at handling teasing, or a tendancy to avoid playing cooperative games. I think my DH’s family has similar tendancies. This sound like the reverse of Waldorf, so probably not a good mesh.

    I’m really glad to hear that a school that takes this approach exists, though. I hate the idea of making preschool about getting ready for college. Pushing a child in any skill set that they aren’t ready to grow in – be it emotional, social, or academic – usually backfires, IME.

    This is definitely food for thought for me. I wonder if it might be a good idea to try and avoid the social environments that were hard on my family until my children reach an older age? DH and I have talked about homeschooling before . . . maybe keeping their social and emotional development less structured early on than it would be in most classroom settings (but still active) would be a good idea.

  7. Oooh, you’re famous! I thought you sounded great in the article.

    The Waldorf thing sounds interesting, and I definitely am all for not making Gabe grow up too fast. I wonder, though, what about the old saying that kids’ brains are like little sponges until they’re 7 and then they start to close up? I keep thinking that I need to stuff Gabe’s brain full of information while I still can! ; )

  8. There is a phrase that goes around my homeschool community…”there is such a thing as starting too soon.” It is pretty common in the HS community for kids to read around age 7. They learn so much through play. Some kids are naturally ready a bit earlier but they will learn to read through play and being read to. My daughter is almost 5 and does read a bit but I have not taught her. She picks it up through play…amazing what we all learn from just being in a safe, natural surronding.
    Great post1

  9. I’m a Montessori mom, myself. I like Montessori because, like Waldorf, the materials are all natural and the child’s rhythm is respected. Lots of kids in Montessori end up learning to read all by themselves, just through using the Montessori materials, at around age 4. I’m not convinced that there should be a uniform rule for all kids on when to learn to read. Some are ready at 4, some at 8. I just wish most public school systems realized that.

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