Our media policy is meant for pre-school and elementary-school-age children. For our purpose, we define media to include:
- Television, DVD, video, film
- Computers, internet, cellular phones, PDAs
- Recorded music, radios, iPods, MP3 and other portable music players
- Video, arcade, and computer games such as Nintendo, Play-Station, Xbox, Wii, handhelds
Our goal for students in Early Childhood through Grade 5 is no media, particularly on nights preceding and following school days. The younger the child, the more vitally important this is.
Our goal for students in Middle School, Grades 6 through 8 is that parents if you decide to introduce media usage, do it slowly and judiciously.
- Put the computer in a public place in your home and use a password for access.
- Provide rules for computer and/or internet usage, and stick to them.
- Prohibit media exposure on any evening preceding a school day, including instant messaging and e-mailing.
- Prohibit access to web sites where your child may post his or her personal information.
- Encourage regular study habits in a quiet environment, without a backdrop of recorded music and/or video.
- Limit time spent listening to iPod or other portable music players.
- Review all media content beforehand and discuss it afterwards.
- Censor anything that runs counter to your values, or may be developmentally inappropriate. Screen music for content of lyrics.
- Observe PG13 and R ratings for movies.
- Rock concerts are not appropriate.
Why is there a Media Policy in Waldorf and inspired Waldorf schools?
One of the seminal directives in Waldorf education is to nurture the child’s imagination. Why? During the school day, teachers articulate the curriculum in vibrant, lively, compelling images, leaving the child free to form her own internal pictures. But, a child who has already seen someone else’s pictures, even if these images are beautiful, has been robbed of the opportunity. These preformed images not only impact a child’s ability to use her imagination; they also have the effect of deadening the imaginative space where all of the child’s lessons and social interactions are processed, impeding her ability to draw conclusions and form concepts, to understand mathematics, to build reading skills, to work out of social challenges. Thus, the wondrous work that the inspired Waldorf curriculum continues to perform on children after they leave the classroom can be seriously compromised.
In our educational program, we recognize the spiritual nature of the human being, and therefore present an inspired Waldorf curriculum designed to cultivate the child’s unfolding and awakening capacities, based on Rudolf Steiner’s view of child development; and education children from early childhood through eighth grade so that they arrive at concepts through imaginative, artistic, and experiential activities.
Our media policy is meant to outline some principles for nurturing physically, emotionally, spiritually, healthy children while navigating the terrain of modern life. the ideals in our mission statement inform everything we do.
Challenges are the vehicles through which human beings grow emotionally and socially, develop self-worth, and discover who they really are. Any time a child is not actively engaged in the world itself, she is not busy encountering its wonder and challenge. Even the root of the word “media” connotes something coming between. Passive, “mediated” experiences cannot help us grow in the same way as direct, first-person experiences. Children need to be in the world, not observe actors or prerecorded representations of people. Even “educational” programming removes the child from the real world, preventing her from experiencing firsthand its miracles, puzzles, jubilation, and unbearable heartache.