Read the latest in the NYTimes “School That Doesn’t Compute” thread. An Op-Ed piece by Greg Simon entitled “Invitation to a Dialogue: Computers in School” was written in follow-up to the October 23 article on Waldorf Education: A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute. This article describes why Silicon Valley, Google, and other high-tech parents choose to educate their children in low-tech Waldorf schools.
In his letter Mr Simon’s writes -
“From 1993 to 1997 I was the chief domestic policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore, and oversaw the Clinton administration’s program to connect classrooms to the Internet.
How did I reconcile this? I asked Waldorf teachers when they felt computer learning was appropriate. Answer: around sixth grade, the same grade that the Clinton program aimed to connect.
And here’s why. Waldorf education holds that children learn best “in through the heart, out through the mind.” Let children experience the world through their hands, hearts and bodies, not just their minds.
When overzealous parents brag that their preschoolers can use a computer or iPhone, they are elevating intellectual/technological achievement over child’s play. The irony, of course, is that success in life depends much more on children developing imagination through play than on learning a soon-to-be-obsolete technology, which is why schools are wasting money and failing our children when they spend millions on technology and cancel play time. By sixth grade children are moving out of play and into more intellectual pursuits; hence computers are more appropriate.
I wish that the parents who surround their children with technology and adult-created graphic images as early as 2 years old would realize that they are robbing their children of their greatest treasure and skill — being a child.”
The New York Times invites readers to respond to this letter for their Sunday Dialogue and plans to publish responses and Mr. Simon’s rejoinder in the Sunday Review.