This thoughtful film, produced by the Marin Waldorf School in California, is a beautiful description of the Waldorf approach to media.
The Waldorf School is designed to nourish the feeling life of children and to strengthen the imagination so critical to the development of critical thinking. The mood of sympathetic concentration cultivated in a Waldorf classroom demands not only the full art of a teacher but the united effort of a class. When achieved, education deepens and lessons touch the hearts as well as the minds of students. Teachers have found that students whose life includes media exposure have trouble entering into the level of focus being asked for in the classroom experience.
Additionally, the cultivation of the imaginative power of each individual child is paramount as a foundation for the healthy development of creative and critical thinking in adolescence. A reliance on ready-made pictures reduces a child’s ability to visualize both the written word (when reading) and the spoken word (when imaginative pictures are given, stories are told, etc.)
Students accustomed to passively receiving impressions have difficulty making the inner effort necessary to sustain imaginative thought. There is growing body of research on the negative impacts of media regarding neurological development, vision tracking, and the ability to focus in school in children exposed to television, videos and computer games, particularly below the age of 9.
We encourage parents to be informed about ongoing research on the effects of media on the child.
Media Mindfulness is being conscious of how much time we spend in front of screens: television, computer, iPads, video games, etc.
Why do we need to be conscious of screen-time? According to the Center for Screen-time Awareness, sponsors of National Screen-Free Week, screen time is eating up more and more of our days and limiting our time with family and friends. We must be conscious of what we use these tools for, and how much of what we do (in viewing screens) is just increasing our stress levels. Too much screen-time has been linked to the following:
Too much screen-time is now also being linked to many childhood learning disorders, including ADD and ADHD. Waldorf schools around the world have recognized for years the impact that screen-time has on children – difficulty in developing gross and fine motor skills, visual disorders and social/behaviorial problems, just to name a few.
The Denver Waldorf School is committed to raising awareness about the impact of screen-time and educating our community about alternatives that will support the healthy development of our children and foster joy and peace within our families.
With thanks to the Summerfield Waldorf School.