elementary schools

elementary schools

The Waldorf Schools Reject Technology in Favor of Hands-On Teaching Methods

student writing with a pen on lined paperWhat do the chief technology officer of eBay and important employees of various other Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Yahoo have in common? The first answer would probably be that they are all technology-gurus. The second answer is that they all send their children to a school that uses pens, knitting needles, and mud as learning supplies but bans computers from school grounds.

Wait a second, doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive for these children to not be using computers in their classrooms? They live in Silicon Valley, their parents make a living by working with computers, and the world is becoming more and more reliant on computers. However, at Waldorf School of the Peninsula,  the ideology is that computers don’t mix well with schools.

There are 160 Waldorf schools in the USA that follow the philosophy that children should learn through physical activity and hands-on tasks. They also believe that computers are bad for children who are learning because the machines limit creative thinking, human interaction, movement, and attention spans.

“I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school,” said Alan Eagle, a parent of two children who attend Waldorf schools. “The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous.”

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Mentoring Program in Chicago Helps Children Succeed

For Rodzae James, an 11-year old in Chicago, life is rough. He lives in a run-down neighborhood where the kids are not expected to really do much with their lives. But James has hope for his future because he has a few good role models to look up to.

“I look up to my brother because he was the first boy on my block to go to college,” James said.

In addition to his brother, James also has a mentor, Justen Boyd, who encourages him to reach for his dreams. Boyd is a a graduate student at Aurora University; he is also family advocate at Family Focus Lawdale who mentors five students at Goldblatt Elementary School, where James goes to school. In addition, Boyd meets with students at two other elementary schools in Chicago.

“A lot of [these boys] don’t have fathers at home,” Boyd said. “So having me around gives them a positive male influence.”

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