Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Do Parent Settle?

I hear parents complain about their children's schools. Too much testing. Too much homework. Not enough recess. But they just keep sending them day after day!

It's common knowledge that parents (at least most of us) want to provide our children "the best." I can't figure out why so many of us settle for schools that don't provide what our children need at the most basic levels. I guess if your only goal is to make sure your kid knows how to read and write and digest all that other stuff they teach in school, then any ole school will do. But to me, school is so much more than that. It's where children spend most of their waking hours each week. So shouldn't it be a place where they get to work and play?

Everything I read about education today speaks to the lack of play that takes place in the classroom. From the very youngest ages, children are expected to buckle down and learn. (They teach reading at age 4 now!) And recess is considered expendable. Are none of the administrators or teachers reading the studies that say play is critical to healthy childhood development??? Play is how children learn! If I know that, then it can't be a secret. If I know it, then other parents must know it, too. So I ask again: Why do they settle?

When it comes to something as important and time consuming as school, we should demand what our children need. That's what led me to Waldorf Education. It's not perfect, but it addresses many of the things that are lacking in traditional schooling. What's so appealing about it to me is that it educates the whole child, academically, spiritually, and socially. Waldorf does what we try so diligently to do as parents: it molds and shapes the whole person instead of focusing merely on reading, writing and arithmetic. In a Waldorf school, students learn what they need to know academically, and in the process, they also enjoy recess and art and each other.