Over the weekend, the New York Times published an interesting story on the trend of more parents, in this case high-tech executives in Silicon Valley, sending their kids to schools that are free from technology.
The Waldorf School of the Peninsula is based in the heart of Silicon Valley and promotes a teaching philosophy that is centered around tech-free learning. With an emphasis on physical activity, creativity and human interaction, Waldorf Schools in general (there are 160 schools around the country) want kids to focus their learning in a more hands-on way without the help of screens or gadgets. No technology devices are present in the classroom and “the school even frowns on their use at home.”
This is an example of a classroom exercise at a Waldorf School:
In second grade, students standing in a circle learned language skills by repeating verses after the teacher, while simultaneously playing catch with bean bags. It’s an exercise aimed at synchronizing body and brain. Here, as in other classes, the day can start with a recitation or verse about God that reflects a nondenominational emphasis on the divine.
There seem to be two ends of the digital spectrum when it comes to technology integration in schools. One is following the practice of The Waldorf School and then you have the other end of the extreme like this school in Maine that has approved iPads for its incoming kindergarten class. While either end seems a bit extreme, I oftentimes ponder what is most beneficial when it comes to technology integration and kids.
If you subscribe to the Waldorf philosophy and wish to enroll your child into one of its many schools around the country, you should also know that a tech-free education is costly. According to the article, annual tuition for K-8 is $17,750 and $24,400 for high school. Although you’re subscribing to the entire teaching philosophy, it seems ironic in a way that you’re paying for an education that relies on pencils, blackboards and textbooks as its tools, when that kind of money usually affords the best, most technologically-advanced and innovative curriculums for children.
If you had the money, would you send your kids to a tech-free school?
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