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No Homework?!

At the Waldorf School of Baltimore, students are assigned homework beginning only in the middle of third grade. Even then, the work is designed so that it usually requires only minutes to complete. As our students progress through the grades, the workload gradually increases. This reflects one of the important tenants of Waldorf Education – that…

Fun & Games

Fun and Games was the topic of the final two days of our Faculty Work Week. Playworks, a national non-profit organization, supports our endeavors to incorporate healthy, inclusive play for every student into every school day. Our trainer, Sean, enthusiastically shared some of his techniques for building rapport, using signals and attention getters, implementing transitions,…

Musical Training enhances language skills

We have written previously (here, here and here) about the benefits of music education, and pointed out the rich music education program at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. As in other blog posts here, when discussing potential benefits of Waldorf Education we have strived to limit our description to studies that are well controlled, scientifically…

Does sucking your thumb prevent allergies?

Many books on parenting and child psychology include extensive discussions of the perils of thumb sucking and nail biting, and offer an array of (sometimes bizarre) suggestions to “conquer” these behaviors. Among the many ills attributed to these behaviors are a perceived risk of developing addictive disorders, malformation of developing teeth, speech abnormalities and infections….

The case for free play: TimberNook

An important pillar of Waldorf Education is the emphasis on active play. Starting at parent-child classes, and continuing through the school years, students are encouraged to spend time outdoors—in all weather conditions—to explore and to challenge their mind and bodies. Recess period is no less important than classroom periods. The benefits of free play and…

Minecraft and Waldorf Education?!

Yes, we let our boys adventure with Minecraft, the award winning, addictive video game used by over 100 million people worldwide. Including many of our children’s classmates. And they savor the limited time they are allowed to explore this creative platform. In a recent article in the New York Times, Clive Thompson explores the history…

The benefits of a fountain pen

Josh Giesbrecht, a public school teacher and writer from Canada, in a recent article in The Atlantic, rekindled the discussion on the importance of handwriting (see our posts here, here and here). But, with a twist. Giesbrecht suggests that perhaps it is not digital technology that hinders handwriting and its important benefits to learning and…

Recreating the Sistine Chapel

I led a tour of my daughter’s 7th grade classroom at the Waldorf School of Baltimore yesterday and found the class laying under their desks, in the dark, in silence. Two of the students explained to the group that they were studying Michelangelo, and that he had to lay on his back on scaffolding, working…

More on the importance of handwriting

I previously wrote (and here) and spoke about the importance to learning of taking handwritten notes, and of summarizing concepts with drawings and schematics. A recent article in Psychological Science provides further support for this notion. Researchers at Princeton report that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who…

More on neuroscience and education

I recently wrote about the relatively new advances in education that are informed by parallel advances in neuroscience, and in particularly in brain development. I also pointed out the risks of misinterpreting or selectively choosing (‘cherry picking’) certain neuroscience research findings to support certain educational initiatives. In a recent article The Guardian further explores this…

The use and abuse of neuroscience

As a neuroscientist, and and a proponent of Waldorf Education, I seek evidence-based support for the principles of this education system, and I am particularly intrigued by evidence from brain research, the academic field I chose. Ed Meade (our Director of Education) and I recently had the opportunity to speak with our community about How…