Screen time: At home and in the classroom

Many parents, myself included, struggle to balance the widespread use of electronic media devices (tablets, computers, etc) at many schools and at homes, with a desire that our children spend more time reading, playing with friends, and creating. The presence of these devices is overwhelming. For example, in 2012, 96% of 15-year-old students in OECD*…

How learning a second language improves brain development

One of the appealing aspects of the Waldorf Education curriculum is the emphasis on teaching a foreign language at elementary school, and continuing through all the school years. At Waldorf School of Baltimore, Spanish is taught as a foreign language. Señora Pasion, our Spanish teacher, begins working with our rising first grade students towards the…

Early music training can improve language skills

In a recent weblog entry I described studies that failed to demonstrate significant cognitive effects of musical training on cognitive development (except in children receiving intense musical training). There are important caveats to these findings: The number of children included in these studies is small; as a result, it is possible that small improvements in…

Reading and Waldorf Education

On February 26, at 8:30 AM Waldorf School of Baltimore will host Coffee and Conversation with reading specialist Andrea Naft and our own Donald Bufano. They will be discussing the pedagogy of reading in Waldorf Education, including a discussion of why Waldorf Education waits to teach literacy until children are developmentally ready. The Research Institute…

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…

The effects of learning handwriting on the development of a child’s brain

A new study shows that that brain activity is influenced in different, important ways by previous handwriting of letters, versus previous typing or tracing of those same letters. These findings suggest that handwriting is important for development of brain areas critical for learning to read and write. The authors conclude that handwriting may facilitate reading…