Has anyone else noticed that mankind seems to be evolving backward? Most people can't navigate using a map and likely can't spell "compass". Kids use google to complete their homework and if it's not on Netflix, they've never heard of it. Music is made with computers and synthesizers and dancing is either erotic and tasteless or honkytonk. I cringe when I walk into a restaurant and not only are the walls lined with TVs and mass-produced art but there's a QR code on each table forcing you to pull your phone out and nearly every family has an Ipad out for their kids the moment they sit down rather than sit together and simply enjoy the hygge.
This is causing mushy minds, disconnected souls, and weak bodies!
Steiner saw it coming. He saw the value of hard work for little bodies as did Charlotte Mason, Fred Rogers, Dr. Garry Landreth, and others who became a voice for the generation behind them in an effort to save them and protect their future. Dr. Landreth, the founder of Child-Centered Play Therapy, and a former professor of mine said, "If a kid can do it, a kid should do it". I'll be honest, this is something I struggle with as a mom, but I believe we should all practice benign neglect; purposefully stepping back as parents to allow our children to figure things out independently.
In a Waldorf school, this rule is followed from the earliest years and continues throughout the grades. Children are responsible for themselves and work as a team to achieve big things. Children in Waldorf schools knit, bake, knead dough, felt, weave, cook over a fire, sew, sculpt, build, sketch, garden, and write their own textbooks. They fetch water from a well, wash their napkins using a washboard and basin and hang it to dry on a line. They use their bodies to create and strengthen their muscles in doing so, but also develop the WILL simultaneously. Through each challenging activity they practice planning, thinking backwards, working in steps towards a common goal, patience and effort. They're developing the head, heart and hands through rich sensory experiences each day.
Why isn't this the norm? Humans, by design, are meant to do hard things, but modern technologies have weakened us in mind, body, and spirit! As a former public school teacher I knew I didn't want my kids to sit in a cold desk under fluorescent lights filling out worksheets and regurgitating information spoon-fed to them. I believe that when humans don't have problems to solve, we create them to fulfill that innate desire to be useful, creative, and innovative.
At Epoch, if a kid can do it- a kid WILL do it and they'll find joy in achieving hard things.
Epoch: Waldorfy Forest School, Bozeman, Montana "where the wild things grow"