Basically we use elements of this school for the recovery and rehabilitation of the existing traditional teaching approaches and techniques. We are interested, first of all, in the basic principles of Waldorf education, aimed at developing a holistic worldview of the child. It should be noted that the natural, organic development of a child is one of the first tasks of Waldorf education. According to Waldorf education the upbringing in kindergarten is made so as to avoid interference with the freedom of the natural development of the child and not to lose the balance of his still immersed in the dream consciousness.
On the other hand, Waldorf education doesn’t leave the child to himself, but takes the leadership with the right tools of example and imitation. Example and imitatio are the basis of the educational impact on the children of the age of seven. Children in their first seven years of life have an intuitive ability to penetrate into the essence of action and expressive gestures of those people around them. Even the native language is absorbed in this way. A child learns through the subtle, direct and natural imitation.
The way the child interacts with the environment, is the direct opposite of the way adults do. A child goes through a sequence of steps:
1. The empathy for an action, directly in what the will is involved;
2. The reproduction of an action in the game, in the result of what the child makes himself emotionally bound to the deed;
3. Awakening of an interest to the deed, rising of any questions relating to this deed, the transfer of observing to the consciousness leads ultimately to the formation of ideas and concepts. If we are going to interfere as little as possible, writes Elizabeth M. Gryunelius , we will see that the child is standing on the fertile soil of imitation and grows in life naturally and successfully.
According to his nature and interests a child is good. Not good and complicated the child becomes when he ripped out, first of all, pushing him for early intellectualization. This “pushing” is performed by adults if education is conduct in the form of rules and concepts belonging to the intellectual world, which is alien to a child up to 7 years.
As a result, except for emotional disorders a child produces a defensive reaction in the form of early intellectualization. This intelligence, according to the authors of the approach, will be used in the future mainly to criticize others, to find fault with them, to present their demands to adults, demonstrating the behavior which is not peculiar of a child. The alternative to such pseudo intelligence in Waldorf education is a natural development of the child.
A small child has the slants fully connected with his thirst for action and having a strong-willed nature. During education in the elementary school they move into inner world of images and fantasies, and only later turn into judgments and concepts. Through education, which is considered to be the natural sequence of stages in the development of the future adult, a very different quality of the intellectual life is achieved in comparison to what is achieved by the transfer of the ready-made concepts.
Concepts must organically grow in a man, like all the rest. Then they get depth, persuading power and originality. Concepts percepted only by the memory, often become a heavy load to drag through life. Waldorf education in a kindergarten is never designed in such a way so as to get early fruits of studying, whatever the approval in society it could meet. In Waldorf kindergarten any memory load is strictly avoided, especially learning to read and to write before the first form. Thus forces of Proceedings of the childhood and “childishness” in their peculiar value are saved for future life.
These aspects, as well as the methodological approaches of their realization are believed to be extremely valuable primarily for their consistency with the psychological laws of the formation of the child. Preservation of the “childishness” and raising the spiritual potential of the child is carried out in Waldorf kindergarten by making a child closer to the rich world of human culture. In course of time the joint sessions on modeling, painting, singing not only develop appropriate skills in children, but also create an evaluative approach to the achievements of human culture. We should also stop at work with fairy tales and myths in Waldorf kindergarten.
This educative approach is paid a considerable attention here. Tales, as Elizabeth M. Gryunelius writes, in any way cannot be regarded only as an interesting time spending, as a pleasant and affordable for a child activity, on the contrary, they should be regarded as the most significant things in education associated with the most intimate inner subtleties of human life. Even the apparent improbability of the characters of the tales in our materialistic time does not leave the true tales of the deepest knowledge of the man.
A form that gives an adult the notions of good and evil is conceptual (every adult has his own “concept” of good and evil). The thoughts in this form cannot exist in a child; they must be formed by means of imagery. If to try and do this, as a result we will get the same images, which are reflected in the tales. The stories that have come to us in the folk tradition show how different human qualities appear in everyday life.
These ones may be referred again and again in the process of education, using them as a means of the correcting metaphor in order to help even the older children in particular situations, without addressing the child personally. For example, if a teacher notices that some children have a tendency to wish for themselves more and more but are not satisfied with anything, one can tell a story about a woman who had a heart’s desire, which was then executed. But as soon as her wish was fulfilled, she had a new desire, which was also carried out, and so on, but her desires started to become more and more senseless. In choosing a story the teacher should be guided by his experience.
Another valuable methodological technique in Waldorf School is to observe the active labor of adults. The children who love to observe the work can once again accept and experience a little part of this world. The experiences that allow children to see the firsthand how the manual labor provides a different process and does the work necessary to sustain life are of special value. Except that, in addition to the professionalism and skills human qualities and values manifest themselves.
Then the child will be able not only to reproduce in his games some actions characteristic of the adults, but also through the active imitation get the joy of work and creativity Thus, the value of Waldorf School within the studied problem appears to us as follows: a child up to the age of seven years is not vied as “a little knowledgeable adult” and the peculiarities of this stage of development are taken into account, which primarily includes image information processing.
This places special demands on the teaching methods: instead of the scientifically structured material loading the memory of the child game techniques, metaphors (metaphors are the most fairy tales and myths) are widely used. As a motivation for learning the natural striving of the child for imitating the actions of adults is activated. In general the teacher faces the task of integrating the information the child receives in the structure of the child’s personality, which favorably differs from the traditional form of academic skills requirements.
The following table 1 contains a comparative overview of the described educational technologies. Table 1 – Comparative overview of educational technologies Traditional models of education in preschool institutions Block System of education The program «Basic Component of preschool education» 1 2 3 1.
The principles of educational material organization Knowledge is divided into different areas, corresponding to the existing sciences, in every area the child must acquire a certain minimum of information. The process of learning on each area is provided separately, the connections between the areas are not installed. The traditional division of spheres of human knowledge is retained. A purely mechanical link exists between some areas, the presentation of material in various areas is synchronized.
The totality of human knowledge is divided into fewer areas (4) and is projected onto a sphere of life of the child. Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference 116 1 2 3 2. The basis of the educational material integration In the outer form of integration lies the traditional division of the sphere of knowledge into sciences. The basis for the integration of knowledge according to the child’s view serves a reflection of the phenomena of nature in human culture.
The integration of knowledge is based on a child’s living function (daily experiences based on the studied phenomena). 3. Methodological aspects of teaching The presentation of knowledge is basically provided by a lecture with the elements of game. The presentation of knowledge is produced mainly by game activity with the elements of the talk. Not specified.. 4. The results’ fixation Results are recorded quantitatively (tests), the presence of a minimum level of knowledge is presupposed.
Results are recorded quantitatively (tests), the presence of a minimum level of knowledge is presupposed. Results are recorded quantitatively (tests), the presence of a minimum level of knowledge is presupposed. 5. Ethic and aesthetic components. Are not practically touched. The emphasis is on the development of the cognitive component. Are formed by the rational methods which are not interconnected. The emphasis is on the development of the cognitive component. The necessity of their formation is marked, but the methodology is not developed.
1. Arkin Ye. The child in preschool years.-, 1968. – 445 p.
2. Age and pedagogical psychology / Under the editorship of A.V.Petrovskyi. M., 1979.
3. El. М.Grunelius. Waldorf kindergarten. The upbringing of preschool age children. М., 1992. 4. Yakimenko S.I. Formation of the junior schoolchildren world outlook by the ways of integrated knowledge : The materials of International scientific and practical conference. – Rivne, 1998. – P. 124-125.
Created by Yakimenko S.I.