Will attending a Waldorf School improve our children’s health?

As a parent of children at the Waldorf School of Baltimore I can attest to the value of Waldorf Education, based on my experience with my own children and their classmates. Clearly, however, this judgement is based on anecdotal, subjective observations. As a scientist who gravitates towards claims supported by hard data I always seek…

Movement, play and brain development

We explored, in previous posts (for example, here and here) , the importance of motor activity, and particularly play for brain development, and the importance of movement and play in improving learning. A lovely short article, from our sister school in Philadelphia, described the incorporation in that school of the “moveable classroom” (sic). Well worth…

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…

A World Through the Hands

Renate Hiller is a fiber artist and educator whose work is inspired by the work of Rudolph Steiner. In this video interview Ms. Hiller talks about her work, and about the importance of handcrafts in education in general, and in Waldorf Education in particular. “The use of the hands is vital for the human being,…

What Learning Cursive Does for Your Brain

Waldorf Education makes use of form drawings–freehand drawing of non-representational forms–throughout elementary school. It serves many purposes (discussed in the article linked above). One of these is to help develop writing skills, including cursive. Learning cursive, in turn, turns out to be critical for brain development. An interesting weblog post in Psychology Today explains why….

Play, Active Learning and the Common Core

In a recent Washington Post article, Dr. Deborah Kenny, founder and chief executive of Harlem Village Academies, explores the perceived conflict between achieving the curricular standards specified in the controversial Common Core, and the active learning approach promoted by Waldorf Education and other educational approaches. Her conclusion is that the two goals do not at…

Benefits of early music education

A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience examines the long-term benefits of music lessons early in life. The researchers, from Northwestern University, studied age-related declines in hearing that cause older adults to experience difficulty understanding speech, especially in challenging listening environments. The found that even moderate music training—as little as 4 years—early in life…

Reading readiness

An important tenet of Waldorf Education is that the curriculum must be informed by knowledge of brain development, so that relevant skills are introduced at appropriate developmental stages. For example, whereas in other education systems reading skills are introduced as early as preschool, in Waldorf Education they are usually not introduced formally until the first…