What does this school ask of parents?

If you want a good learning experience for your child and a healthy network of friends, it benefits you for the private school you choose to have higher expectations of its families than you would find in public schools. As an example, if you want to raise your child without excessive influence from TV and other media, it really helps if your school asks all the parents to limit media exposure. Otherwise, your child will go to another child’s home for a play date and come back asking why he doesn’t get to watch cartoons all Saturday morning. In addition, children who watch a lot of TV will be bringing themes from TV into their play at school, and these may not be the healthiest themes.

See our FREE REPORT for more information on how electronic media exposure can hamper a child’s education, and why it’s important to limit it!

A good Waldorf school will ask parents to limit the TV and other media exposure of their young child, as well as exposure to video games, other electronic toys, and computers (until later grades). They will want parents to focus instead on exposing their young child to nature and natural activities, such as hiking, playing outdoors, creating artwork, making music, playing with natural toys, imaginative games, etc. It is easier to raise your child in this way if you are part of a network of families that upholds similar values.

Waldorf schools also ask parents to feed their children good, wholesome food and make sure they get plenty of rest. A Waldorf classroom has a daily rhythm, with activities that happen at about the same time each day, and a weekly rhythm, with activities happening on certain days of the week, to meet a child’s need for order. They encourage parents to create a similar rhythm at home. A Waldorf teacher also generally makes herself or himself available to consult with parents who are dealing with challenging behaviors at home.

Waldorf schools also ask parents to wait until at least age 11-12, ideally, before putting their children into league sports. This is primarily because in league sports, parents have no control over the coaches and the other parents. It is very common for league sports to get very competitive, and for parents or coaches to put heavy pressure on children to perform well. According to Waldorf philosophy (and common sense, in my opinion), this type of pressure is bad for young children, who would be better served doing activities just for fun. Parents like us who want to share sports with younger children can find ways to do so without league competition.

In addition, it is not beneficial for a young child to over-specialize in any one sport, because there is no sport that develops the full range of physical coordination. What single sport involves running, catching objects of various sizes and shapes, throwing, kicking, aiming, hitting with an implement, hopping on one or two feet, jumping over things, skipping, spinning around, climbing, balancing on one foot, balancing on something thin, walking backwards, rhythmical movement, moving with music, and moves that would be hard to describe? In contrast, going on a nature walk could potentially involve all of these movements, and they are all necessary for a child to fully get to know his body.

Waldorf schools generally have some clothing requirements, as well. At minimum, they will ask parents to avoid clothing for young children that have images associated with the media, like Bugs Bunny or Sponge Bob. Our school has some additional requirements along these lines.

There are other requests that are made of parents, but in my experience these are the main ones that are somewhat unique.