Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta -Two Testimonials

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  An Introduction article that includes links to articles in this series is here.

  •  Holiday Testimonial

These days I’ve been getting up earlier in the mornings to sit near the Christmas tree, eggnog in coffee. Adding nature to the house – red berries, frosted mini forest settings and cloved oranges strung up to reflect the ages of my boys, 5 & 7 – brings me joy. And there’s no exception to that adage in my house: when mom’s happy everyone’s better off.

One of the many values that appealed to us about the Waldorf community was pulling back from media-heavy culture. Silly, I know, but I thought it’d be easier. A little media actually seems harder in practice then none or a whole lot. So I’ve been working on making it “a little” closer to “a little, really.”

Thanks to the Fish Pond, I’ve started making things with my hands: felty critters, beaded stuff, pillowcases and snack bags. My kids see this and, simply, they seem calmer. My little guy, Jon Luka, will even join me most days. Our 7-year-old Max is in public school and Star Wars-obsessed. On the cusp of his learning to read a few weeks back, I was tempted to give in to Star Wars early reader books. But the violence made me think twice about giving him such a first impression of the lifelong reading experience. Sure enough, he has begun reading books about lemonade, toads and other things he found boring not long ago. This month we cut out a morning TV show from the daily routine. It happened overnight, without even blowing up the TV. No subsequent uprising from our children either. Perhaps most surprising is that my husband, Inan, and I survived these mornings with our own heads intact.

Another recent adventure has been cutting out the 3-year Friday film night tradition with the boys’ best pal. The point of this ritual has been to allow us to socialize with grownups without leaving home or hiring a babysitter. Afraid to bring it up with our friends for too long, I finally explained what I thought we could do differently and why… it’s working. Bonfires, family games, older kid helpers, and costumes, costumes, costumes.

The advice that has helped the most: If you explain cutting out media to kids with respect for them and, here’s the key, total conviction, they get it.

Wishing you and your family all manner of joy and love this season,

Kristen, WSA Kindergarten Mom

  • Alumna Testimonial

From the age of four I have been a Waldorf student. Throughout the years I have had my ups and downs coming to terms with my “media light” approach to life, and it wasn’t until 11th grade that I realized how lucky I was to grow up with the “media light” approach my mother took when it came to raising me.

When I was younger my friends would always talk about movies and TV shows that I had absolutely no clue about. At the time I was upset, but recently I’ve come to realize that I had the best childhood ever.

Lately when I babysit children they either want to watch TV while I’m there, or talk about what they’ve seen recently. When this happens I usually suggest that we draw, play a game, or make up a story, and the kids are easily re-directed and become very engaged and interested with what I offer them.

When I was their age I was building entire cities in my playroom with every toy I could lift off the ground. I believed in gnomes, and built more fairy houses at the bases of trees than you can imagine. I was the happiest little kid you would meet, or at least I’d like to think I was.

These days I find myself coming to different conclusions about situations than many of my peers. I’d like to think this attribute was formed through my extensive play as a child.

And now, Olivia’s words of advice: Your children can play by themselves. They do not need any type of media to distract them. Believe me. I would know.

Olivia, WSA graduate, class of 2011

 

Santa Lucia Day at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Santa Lucia at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Santa Lucia at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

At the Waldorf School of Atlanta,  Grade 2 teachers introduce stories where contrasting human qualities are portrayed. Wonder tales and legends of Saints from around the world show lofty striving and highlight noble human qualities, while animal fables and trickster tales satisfy the child’s interest in mischief.   The study of Saints is brought to life beautifully in this letter from a Grade 2 teacher to the parents of her class about Santa Lucia Day.

This season brings many beautiful events to the school, classroom and community. In addition to the Advent Spiral, enjoying a visit from Saint Nicholas, and the school assembly, the second grade is working on the yearly Santa Lucia celebration for the school.  The story of Santa Lucia dates back to the Middle Ages.  She is known for bringing food and care to the people of Sweden during a harsh time of famine.  She wore a wreath of candles on her head so that she had her hands free to offer food and lingonberries to symbolize new life in winter.  The children are practicing their Santa Lucia song as they prepare to walk through the school with their own lights and song to share with all of the classes.

Sophia Szombathy, Grade 2 teacher

st lucia in grade 2 IMG_4651

Through silent winter gloom
thy song comes winging to
Waken the earth anew.
Glad carols bringing.
Come thou O Queen of
Night wearing thy crown so
bright.  Santa Lucia. Santa Lucia.
st lucia on the way to kindergarten IMG_4659

Foundation Studies at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts

fdn studies year one

Waldorf School of Atlanta – Foundation Studies Group

We are a group of 12 Waldorf School of Atlanta parents, faculty and staff, local community members and homeschooling parents who have come together to study the work of Rudolf Steiner and experience interconnectedness through the arts. We have all enrolled in a two-year program that is organized through the Center for Anthroposophy and hosted by WSA. We typically meet two Saturday mornings a month for seminars, group work, artistic activities, and sometimes longer workshops. Our interests address the broad themes of human development and personal growth through three distinct but interrelated elements:

  • study of the basic books of Rudolf Steiner, including How to Know Higher Worlds, Theosophy, An Outline of Esoteric Science, and Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom
  • cultivation of artistic activities that are transformative in nature, such as speech, drama, music, eurythmy, painting, drawing, woodwork, sculpture, and more
  • some experience of life in a Waldorf school as well as other cultural initiatives arising from the work of Rudolf Steiner.

We are currently mid-way through the second year. If you would like more info or are interested in starting with a new Year One group, email Angela Foster: afoster@thirdbody.net

More information about Foundation Studies can also be found at the Center for Anthroposophy.  And more information about our Atlanta Cluster can be found here.

fdn studies year one work

Waldorf School of Atlanta – Foundation Studies work, year one

Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – another Alumnus Testimonial

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  An Introduction article that includes links to articles in this series is here.

Alumnus Testimonial:

Growing up, living in a media-lite, if not media-free household, shaped me in ways I was not able to appreciate until recently. I didn’t know it at the time, but not being immersed in outside influences from a television screen allowed me to form ideas about the world and myself solely from the nurturing environment I lived in. I also credit my love of drawing, painting and reading to the fact that those were the things I occupied my time with instead of TV, movies, or smartphones. One of my favorite pastimes as a child was to pretend I had a cooking show. I would sit in the small garden in front of my house and explain to my “audience” (my dog, Summer, and the occasional stuffed animal) the techniques and ingredients needed to make the perfect mud pie, or grass and violet salad. I had zero interest in the TV we kept in the hall closet, or the laptop my father sometimes brought home from work, and the only movies I had ever seen were The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz.  As a 7th grader, not having all the newest gadgets was disappointing and maddening to say the least, but if I were to go back and re-live my life, my years at Waldorf being a media-lite student is not something I would ever change. I know I have the capability and tools to go into the world and look at things with an entirely unique perspective, and for that I will always be thankful to my Waldorf upbringing.

~Annabelle, Grade 12 student at Academe Of the Oaks

The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter.  For more information about our school, please visit us at the Waldorf School of Atlanta.

Waldorf School of Atlanta - student work

Waldorf School of Atlanta – student work

Shepherd’s Play at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Many years, the Waldorf School of Atlanta offers the Shepherd’s Play as a gift to our community.  Teachers, Parents and Friends of the school organize, rehearse and perform this play.

shepherds play image

 The Shepherd’s Play was found and written down in the middle of the 19th century from the small island of Oberufer on the Danube, close to the borders of Austria and Hungary. Some time in the early 16th or 17th century, a group of German people had migrated there from the neighborhood of Lake Constance. They had taken with them the cycle of religious plays which they had received by tradition from their ancestors. When the plays were collected the parts were still hereditary in certain families. No complete copy existed but each family treasured a manuscript of the words of one particular part. Surrounded as they were by people of a different nation, and speaking a different language, the peasants of Oberufer preserved unaltered both the text itself and the tradition of acting.

In the autumn, after harvest, the peasants who were to take part met together and rehearsals began. All parts were played by men, as in the Elizabethan theatre, and during the time of rehearsal, all members of the cast had to lead (as far as they could) a moral and respectable life, abstaining alike from visits to alehouses and from the singing of bawdy songs. Before the actual performance the whole company went in procession through the village.

The form of the play is such that the actors sing a song in procession, after which the characters concerned come forward and act what has just been sung, while the rest of the company seat themselves at the back or side of the stage.

The Shepherds Play is a beloved tradition in most Waldorf Schools, a gift from the adult community to the children. We are happy to share this play with you and wish you a joyous and blessed Christmas season.

 

In my heart a shepherd

In my head a king

Before the child together

They offer what they bring.

The heart will fire the head

The head will light the heart

The Spirit Child within

Will know Love’s healing art.

–From Notes by A.C. Harwood

Waldorf School of Atlanta - shepherds play  cast & crew

Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Alumnus Testimonial

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  An Introduction article that includes links to articles in this series is here.

Alumnus Testimonial:

I never realized how lucky I was to have had a media-free childhood until a couple of years ago. When I graduated 8th grade at WSA in 2008, a media-free/media-light way of life was all I had ever known. I had taken for granted the opportunities for creativity and independent thought Waldorf provided me with until I entered public high school, a world full of media and lost innocence, with less emphasis on creativity. Growing up without the intruding, often negative, influence of movies and TV shows opened new worlds of adventure for me. I was allowed to draw, play, sing, and dream as I liked, never held down by the perimeter of a screen or the limits of a computer program. Now, times have changed and media permeates every aspect of modern life. However I still do, and always will, hold close to my heart my memories of a free childhood, full of imagination and happiness, spontaneity and adventure, exploration and creation; all this thanks to the Waldorf philosophy.

E H, WSA Class of 2008

Currently a junior at the College of William & Mary

 

The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter.  For more information about our school, please visit us at the Waldorf School of Atlanta.

100_0822

Waldorf School of Atlanta – student artwork

 

Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – article

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  Introduction article is here.    The Second Article is here.  The Third Article is here. The Fourth Article is here.

Media-Lite Living
 
Upcoming Parent Workshop: Living Media Lite Throughout the Holidays
Monday, December 1, 8:30-10:00am, Hospitality Room
This informative, conversational-based workshop for WSA parents and friends will offer practical suggestions for confronting common holiday challenges such as:
  • media and extended family – at their house and at yours
  • living media lite while traveling
  • alternatives to media during holiday family time 
  • gift giving alternatives
  • conversations with extended family about living media lite 
  • and more!
 
Interested but cannot attend this date and time?  Still email and let us know!
 
Offerings: Research Article: The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child
 

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together……open the following link for the full article:

The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter.  For more information about our school, please visit us at Waldorf School of Atlanta.

Advent at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Advent at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – another parent testimonial

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  Introduction article is here.    The Second Article is here.  The Third Article is here.

 Media-Lite Living

Offerings: Parent Testimonial

When our daughter began kindergarten at WSA in 1996, we were already on board with restricting media. A few months into the school year, however, her teacher encouraged us to eliminate television entirely. We were amazed at the difference it made. It seemed to allow E~~ to be herself — almost as if a weight was lifted from her. She was more joyful and would happily go around singing to herself. We continued in this vein, mostly, for several years. When we took her to a G-rated movie at age 5, she was terrified. That inspired us to keep her shielded from the sarcasm and meanness found in many Hollywood films.

By third or fourth grade, the children were more vocal about wanting to watch TV. E~~’s teacher had a policy about not watching television on a day when they had been in school or would be in school the next day. That left Saturdays as the only possible day to watch TV. I really appreciated this “rule” being established for the class as a whole because it made it easier to say “no.” The rare Saturday evening when we watched something together was truly special.

After WSA, E~~ attended a public high school. As she neared graduation, she would comment on how glad she was that she was able to enjoy her childhood at Waldorf. Her high school classmates were exposed to things in elementary and middle school that E~~ didn’t have to deal with until ninth grade. Although her public school classmates were sure she hadn’t learned anything at Waldorf because she was having way too much fun, she graduated at the top of her class, so apparently she learned a few things along the way!

~Mother of WSA alumna, class of 2008

   The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter.  For more information about our school, please visit us at Waldorf School of Atlanta.

 

Childhood First.

Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – screen free restaurants

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  Introduction article is here.    The Second Article is here.

Media-Lite Living

Updates:  WSA parents have continued to meet and exchange stories and support for struggles and successes with living a media-lite lifestyle.  The next scheduled gathering will focus on exchanging concrete ideas and successful stories for creating alternatives to media at home and in the community.  This meeting will be held:

Friday, November 14, 8:30 to 10am, Hospitality Room

Who are the resources for this exchange?  You – fellow WSA Parents! If you have a story or idea about living with alternatives to media, please come to this meet-up.  Can’t come but have ideas and stories to share?   Send them to us!

Offerings: Screen Free Restaurants

Have you ever gone to a restaurant with your family in hopes of enjoying warm conversation over a delicious meal only to be thwarted by the large and loud television screen above your table?  Listed below are the names of some local restaurants that do not have televisions in their dining areas, to help you avoid this frustration and try again!

Community BBQ – Decatur, on Clairmont Avenue near Athens Pizza
Radial Café – Atlanta, Dekalb Avenue
Flying Biscuit – Candler Park
Farm Burger – Decatur
Ammazza – Atlanta, Edgewood Avenue
Good Karma Coffee Shop – Avondale Estates
Cakes and Ale Bakery – Decatur
Chai Pani – Decatur
Java Jive – Virginia Highlands
Homegrown – Atlanta, Memorial Drive
Octane – Atlanta, Marietta Street
Ria’s Bluebird- Grant Park
Matthew’s Cafeteria – Tucker
Pancake House – Memorial Drive, Clarkston

If you visit one of these or any other restaurants without screens, be sure to let the manager know that you appreciate eating your meal without the added distraction of a television screen.  If the screen status has changed, or you know of other restaurants without screens, let us know!  Happy dining!

  The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter.  For more information about our school, please visit us at Waldorf School of Atlanta

Kindergarten Classroom at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Kindergarten Classroom at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Soup Day

Media-Lite Living Initiative at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – parent testimonial

In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative.  The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media.  This initiative is designed to support parents on this road.  We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog.  Introduction article is here.

 Media-Lite Living

1. Updates

Several introductory meetings for the Parent Initiative for Media-Lite Living have been held recently. The atmosphere is open and comfortable; many thought-provoking conversations have ensued about media-lite living.

2a. Offerings: Research

Please use the following link for the Steve Jobs article on being a low tech parent, in case the recently printed article was hard to open.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/fashion/steve-jobs-apple-was-a-low-tech-parent.html

2b. Offerings: Parent Testimonial

Part of what attracted me to Waldorf for my girls (now 13 and 16) was the media-lite policy. I wanted my girls to be able to fully grow into their best selves, and it seemed like the way for them to do that was to do “real” things, not sit in front of the TV. I wanted them to play with friends that came over so that they would learn good social skills and also have the benefit of real play. We have by no means been a media-free family, but we did have two rules: no media on play dates, and no TV Monday through Thursday.

With the media flooding the general culture, it has been difficult to stand my ground on this issue! It has been very helpful to have the support of other parents at Waldorf. It also helped that the kids were with peers that had similar rules at home. I’m grateful that the Waldorf community helped my husband and me to limit media exposure. It has helped us to teach our own values to our kids, rather than having them bombarded by whatever the television show creators chose to say.

~WSA 8th grade parent

   The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter.  For more information about our school, please visit us at Waldorf School of Atlanta

Grade Seven chalkboard August

Waldorf School of Atlanta grade 7 classroom chalkboard drawing