Choosing the perfect preschool for your child can be a difficult undertaking. Parents must first put aside their own ingrained and traditional biases, as well as their egos, and consider what is best for your children’s needs and growth, not your own. “How can you know what is right when there are so many different preschool philosophies?” This is a very common question that pops up. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and no perfect preschool, but there are many excellent preschools that can be “just right” for your child. There are numerous educational “styles” to choose from, just as there are numerous parenting “styles.” In today’s topic, we are going to run through Unschooling vs Waldorf.
There is some misunderstanding and even debate about what unschooling is. Unschool? Is it acceptable? Is there anything I should or shouldn’t do about it? There are so many factors to consider, and each family will approach it differently. To put it in simple words, unschooling is defined as not sending your children to school and not attempting to recreate a more traditional school environment at home. Others will define it as student-led learning, interest-based learning, or delight-directed learning that is free of the limits and structure of a prescribed curriculum. In the end, it’s a method of home education that lets the student’s interests and curiosity guide the learning process.
Unschooling is more accurately viewed as an overall philosophy and approach to how to educate a child, rather than a homeschooling technique. Unschooling is a concept established by author and educator John Holt. The mandatory schooling concept, according to John Holt, was a barrier to children’s learning. He thought that humans are born with an innate curiosity, as well as the desire and aptitude to learn, and that the traditional school system, which tries to control and manage how children learn, is detrimental to this natural process.
Instead of being the major source of education, Holt believed that schools should be used as a resource, comparable to a library. He believes that children learn best when they are with their parents, involved in daily activities, and learning from their environment and circumstances.
Unschooling families’ commitment to unschooling principles varies, as it does with any educational ideology. “Relaxed homeschoolers” are on one end of the spectrum. For the most part, they prefer to follow their students’ interests through interest-led learning, but they do teach some courses in more traditional ways.
The parent is the teacher in unschooling, but not in the traditional, formal sense, but rather in the way that parents spontaneously teach their children about topics. They work together to pursue questions and interests as they arise, only applying more “traditional” teaching approaches when the subject demands it.
Benefits of Unschooling
In an essence, unschooling is spontaneous learning centered on exploring interests, gratifying natural curiosity, and learning via hands-on experimentation and modeling.
Builds on Natural Gifts and Talents.
In a regular school system, children who are identified as difficult learners may find unschooling to be the optimal learning environment. A student with dyslexia can write without worrying about being judged on his spelling and grammar, he may turn out to be a creative, talented writer. That isn’t to say that unschooling parents overlook important skills. Instead, they encourage their children to focus on their strengths while also assisting them in identifying tools to help them overcome their shortcomings. Because kids process information differently than their peers, this change in focus allows children to attain their maximum potential based on their unique skill set without feeling inadequate.
On topics that interest them, both adults and children tend to retain more taught information. We maintain proficiency in the abilities we utilize on a daily basis. Unschooling takes advantage of this fact. An unschooled student has a genuine interest in acquiring the facts and skills that tickle their interest, rather than being compelled to retain random material long enough to pass an exam. While working on a construction job, an unschooled kid may pick up geometry abilities. While reading and writing, he improves his grammar and spelling skills. For example, while reading, he notes that discourse is separated by quote marks and decides to use the same strategy in his own writing.
Unschoolers are naturally self-motivated learners since they are self-directed. One child might learn to read so that he can follow the instructions on a video game. Another person may learn because he is weary of waiting for someone to read to her and wants to be able to pick up a book and read for herself. When unschooled children realize the value in learning something they don’t enjoy, they confront it. A student who dislikes math, for example, will plunge into studies since it is required for his chosen field, college entrance examinations, or successful completion of core coursework. Teens who had previously avoided learning algebra or geometry leapt right in and advanced quickly and successfully through the sessions once they realized the importance of mastering those skills.
Children become interested and alive when they relate what they learn to their own experiences, and what they learn becomes their own. Waldorf schools are specifically designed to encourage this type of learning.
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), an Austrian scientist and thinker, founded Waldorf education based on his spiritual-scientific studies. Soul, spirit and body are man’s threefold, according to Steiner’s philosophy, and whose capacity are in three developmental stages on the way to adulthood which are birth to age seven (early childhood), seven to fourteen (middle childhood), and fourteen to twenty-one (adolescence).
Involvement in the arts has been linked to increases in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and linguistic competence, hence Waldorf education incorporates the arts in all academic disciplines at all ages. Music, dance, and theater, as well as writing, literature, stories, and myths, are not just things to learn about and put to the test. They have a lot of experience.
Waldorf education aims to develop each student’s unique abilities, thinking that these abilities will help them complete their lives in a future whose contours we can only sketch. Curricula and teaching methods, according to Waldorf educators, should be adequately matched to these developmental phases, which each evolve as childhood progresses.
Early Childhood – Strengthen your limbs by doing.
From birth to seven years old, children live primarily through their senses and learn best through imitation. Waldorf early childhood educators nurture each child’s flowering by providing gentle, yet sensory rich environments and play-based activities that encourage the young child to investigate the natural world, explore social relationships, and expand imaginative capacities, all while striving to be figures worthy of imitation. These activities create the groundwork for a child’s intellectual, emotional, and physical growth.
Middle Childhood – Strengthen your heart by imagination.
Between the ages of seven and fourteen, children learn best when they are exposed to lessons that appeal to their emotions and excite their creative faculties. Fairy tales and fables, mythological sagas, and inspiring biographies of historical characters abound in the Waldorf lower school curriculum. Waldorf elementary or class teachers weave a tapestry of experience that brings each subject to life in the child’s thinking, feeling, and willingness through storytelling, theatre, rhythmic movement, visual arts, and music. Waldorf grades 1-8 teachers are entrusted with the critical responsibility of accompanying their students on a multi-year journey, directing the children’s formal academic learning while also awakening their moral growth and improving their understanding of their place in the world.
Adolescence –Strengthen your mind by discernment of the world.
The development of the independent intellect, as well as the ability to study the world abstractly and exercise discernment, judgment, and critical thinking, occurs between the ages of 14 and 21. Under the guidance of professors who are experts in their disciplines, students in Waldorf high schools gain increased authority over their studies.
Benefits of Waldorf
Waldorf schools are distinctive for a variety of reasons, and if you’ve never seen a Waldorf classroom, you’ll be amazed at how they look; daily activities include cooking, knitting, and sewing.
Learning opportunities through in-depth research.
In Waldorf education, the benefits of block learning have long been acknowledged. Waldorf students in first through twelfth grades spend up to two hours each morning (or “major”) class focusing on one subject that alternates every 3-4 weeks among the academic disciplines. Students have the opportunity to study each subject in depth and from a variety of perspectives, which adds to their appreciation of and knowledge of the subject matter.
Active participants in their own education.
Waldorf students participate in the learning process by making their own textbooks beautifully designed journals comprising stories, essays, poems, maps, pictures, lab descriptions, and arithmetic equations from the first grade through the eighth grade, and all the way through their high school studies. Rather than depending on pre-digested content presented in traditional textbooks, children can absorb the lessons their teachers bring them and make learning their own by producing their own “primary lesson” books.
Produce well-rounded individuals.
Waldorf educators seek to bring out the best in each student, but they take care not to favor one trait or skill over another. All students study math, science, and foreign languages; they all sing in the chorus and play an instrument; they all learn handwork and participate in movement classes, and they all act in the class play. The purpose of Waldorf Education is to expose children to a diverse variety of experiences while also cultivating a wide range of interests and abilities in them. As a result, well-balanced young individuals with high levels of confidence in their capacity to transfer abilities learned in one field to another, as well as the belief that they can master anything, emerge.
Quoting Albert Einstein, “Education is not the learning of facts; it’s the training of the mind to think”. So it’s important how it’s planned; this phase of a child’s life. The goal here should be to optimize this period in the child’s development to provide them with the most stimulating and safe environment possible. gain all the knowledge, choose the right preschool, because it’s a priceless investment in the future of your child.