I read another article about the Waldorf method of education since I found it very fascinating and plan on using it as a model for my presentation at the end of the semester. I read, “A state independent education for citizenship? by Bo Dahlin. I found it interesting how the students from Waldorf schools are more aware of social issues going on around the world. Because they are more aware of other people in their community and further away, they tend to have a greater capacity to empathize with others. This is what our world needs more of; people who care for other people. I think that my parents were trying to protect me from the world by not exposing me to the world’s problems. There were many events that occurred while I was growing up that I was completely unaware of. My boyfriend grew up in a family that openly discussed the problems of the world and they still do. I feel that I have a great capacity to empathize with those near me but have a disconnect from the rest of the world. I am working on making myself more aware of social issues, but wish that I had grown up with this as part of my education.
For my third and final reading response, I decided to stick with Reggio Emilia. I am really interested in this teaching method and this method is what my group is focusing on.
I read an article from the HSU Library Child & Adolescent Studies database. The article is called, “Examining the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education” by Valarie Hewett. I really enjoyed reading the article because it provided a lot of interesting information about the Reggio Emilia teaching method. The article also provided useful info to use with my group. There were some points from the article that were really significant to me. In a section of the article, the author discussed the teacher’s role as a collaborator and co-learner, “The teacher doesn’t control or dominate the child or his or her learning, but demonstrates respect for the child’s rights through mutual participation and joint action (Hewett, 2001, p.97). I think this is really significant as I believe that the teacher is teaching and learning at the same time. The teacher shouldn’t overpower over the child. Both teacher and child should work and learn together through their projects.
Another point from the article that was important to me was, “If the children had legitimate rights, then they also should have opportunities to develop their intelligence and to be made ready for the success that would not and should not escape them” (Hewett, 2001, p.96). The child is seen as unique, creative, and has the potential to do anything.
Hewett, V. (2001). Examining the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2), 95-100. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from HSU Library Child and Adolescent Studies.
This last reading I switched it up to read about Waldorf, the seeming very popular teaching philosophy in our classroom.
I read the article that looked at comparing brain development and performance of Waldorf students and non-waldorf students. It was definitely very fact based, dense and slightly difficult to read with enjoyment. Also, it was looking at just scores and results related to math and literature performance. I would of hoped to see more results related to science, arts, imagination, critical thinking, etc. It was very informative and I was impressed by the array of variety in scores at different ages.
In most cases, Waldorf student were scoring higher, especially in the long term. It supports the idea that children’s development in Waldorf may be slower to start, but the quality of information they are learning and retaining is much higher than children in other programs.
Also, after meeting with my group members and discussing the articles that they have been reading, I was able to get a more collective idea of what the Waldorf philosophy in more than just brain development and performance scores. For me, I believe that I would benefit greatly from visiting a Waldorf school and spending several full days in there to really get a larger idea of the learning processes and unique teaching and interaction skills that are so intriguing to me.
The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori was another interesting article to read and share in class group discussion. Maria Montessori talks about “Education from birth.” This was a really nice discussion for the reason that “education from birth” may become a “help to life” since it gives a direct transmission of knowledge or ideas from one mind to another. Also, Montessori says the preparation of the environment is very crucial because it provides the key to the realization of an education from birth, to a real cultivation of the human individual from its very beginning.
Three Approaches from Europe: Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emalia. I found this article very interesting to read because it focuses on the three of the best-known approaches with European origins are Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. All three are seen as strong educational alternatives to traditional education and as sources of inspiration for progressive educational reform. I like these three approaches because they want to improve human society by helping children realize their full potential as intelligent, creative, whole persons.
I decided to read the article The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori. This was an interesting article to read because it discusses the two major developments that a child needs at school. For example, “the need for freedom with limits and a carefully prepared environment which guarantees exposure to materials and experiences”. Through these developmental needs, the child develops intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities. The Montessori method also is designed to take full advantage of the children desire to learn and their unique ability to develop their own capabilities. Overall, this was a great class group discussion
For my third reading reflection I read “Working in the Reggio Way” by Julianne P. Wurm. The chapter I focused on was about the space and environment. Some points that were specifically significant to me was that it was important for the Reggio Emilio classroom to have ample light and fresh air. When I was a kid, I know I tended to get more anxious in closed spaces, so I thought this idea would accommodate children who felt the same. It was also mentioned in this chapter that bathrooms were to be regarded as meeting places instead of a place to be associated with awkwardness and uncomfortableness.The idea in this chapter was to cultivate relationships in the restroom. I thought this was a little strange, but realize this is my culture and experience talking. It would be awesome to be able to feel comfortable where children spend a good portion of their time.
I talked with my group about the idea of rotating spaces of dramatic play such as kitchen, dress up, mailroom, etc to spark new interests in children. My group thought this was kind of like “feng shui”. We also agreed that it was helpful that everything be child-sized since this is an environment for children. Reggio Emilio schools seem to be big on caring for their classroom, as the chapter explains they do deep cleaning of the school to keep it looking nice. I thought it was an interesting idea for the teachers to help children discover and respect dangers in their environments. Instead of just screaming “no!”, to let some accidents happen because there is no way to completely prevent accident. My group discussed this topic and agreed that this was a good point.
We had a really nice discussion about the importance of allowing children to have a choice in what they are learning. We talked about how projects are so much more meaningful when children learn about things that they want to learn about. We shared personal experiences of projects we have done in the past that we felt we were able to do whatever we wanted for. We all had similar experiences of spending a lot more time and effort on those projects than others because they were things we cared about and wanted to know more about. We also talked about how this method requires a lot more work out of the teacher. It’s not really possible to recycle old curriculums when you receive a new group of children with a new set of interests. However we agreed that this was a good thing. This way the activities are always designed around the specific group of children they will be conducted with. I really enjoyed learning more about the project approach.
For my second reading reflection, I chose to read the article, “Waldorf, Montessori and Reggio Emilia” by Carolyn Pope Edwards.I enjoyed reading the whole article and seeing how the three different methods were different from each other. It still amazes me that the Reggio Emilia method was named after a city in Italy. Initially, when I heard about the Reggio Emilia method, I thought that it was named after a man but it turns out it was named after a city in Italy.
The article is organized into different sections such as theory and curriculum, history, role of the teacher, etc. Under each section, the author compared the three methods (Waldorf, Montessori, & Reggio Emilia). It was really interesting to see how the three methods differentiated from one another yet were somewhat similar to each other. I really liked the quote in the article, “All three approaches view children as active authors of their own development, strongly influenced by natural, dynamic, self-righting forces within themselves, opening the way toward growth and learning” (Edwards, n.d.). I agree with this as I believe that children construct their own understandings throughout their development as they interact with his or her environment.
This week I decided to read about the Reggio Emilia curriculum model. I really enjoyed all of the themes that were discussed in the article “Reflections and Impressions from Reggio Emilia: Its not about the art!” I especially liked the idea that children and adults are not hurried to complete projects in the classroom because teachers are not trying to initiate different activities. The article talked about the stark contrast between the Italian culture and American culture. Nancy Hertzog the author described the U.S culture as constantly hurried and the Italian culture as more relaxed. This concept of being relaxed in the classroom sounds wonderful. It allows teachers to have more to time to be able to record children and write about what they are doing in their small groups. For example, Reggio Emilia teachers have a daily journal of what the children are doing during the day. They are able to do this because of the extra time given to complete projects. In my group discussion we also talked about how we enjoyed learning about the inclusion they have in the classroom. For example, a child with autism is able to be engaged in everyday activities in the classroom, including drawing and social interaction. Our group talked about how important that is for the child in the classroom and how much that will benefit that child. We also talked about the observational drawing that is done in the classroom, and how we thought that was a neat idea. Teachers display dead insects under a magnifying glass and project it to the classroom, so that the children are able to an observational drawing.I thought that was a very interesting way to teach children! I personally enjoy the group work, group studies that are apart of the Reggio Emilia model. Overall, I enjoyed learning a little bit more about this curriculum model!