An important aspect of Steiner Waldorf pedagogy is that children are exposed to learning stimuli in an age-appropriate manner. A reflection of this in the modern world is that Steiner schools ask that families support their child’s education by restricting screen-time for children.
Excessive screen-time is now widely acknowledged as a cause of various problems relating to child health and development, as we have reported previously. This week a study in a high-profile medical journal reported on the many beneficial effects of limiting screen time and monitoring what children are exposed to.
But! It can be very difficult for families to find ways to limit screen time which work for them – not every family wishes to have no TV, computer, tablet, iPhone…. One way which has been growing year-on-year is by participating in Screen-Free Week 2014.
“Childhood’s gift to our children is exciting, wonder-filled, freely-directed discovery of the world. This opportunity comes only once and cannot be experienced in later life in this special way. Screen-Free Week and general reduced screen time allow children to be active explorers, creators,’imaginers,’ and doers in life, not passive observers. Strong, capable, innovative individuals grow into themselves by doing. Let’s ‘pull the plug’ and give them a chance.”
Nancy Blanning, Gateways Newsletter
Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (Screen Free Week Endorser)
Selected resources include:
Fully referenced summary of the latest research on the effects of screen time: Screen Time Research (pdf)
Mayo Clinic tips on how to limit screen time.
Tips from teachers in the US on alternatives to screen time.
Screen Free Week offers people the chance to make a pledge, either as individuals or families, to avoid screens for the week. Should you choose to take this up, here are some ideas of what other events are on to support your family’s choice!
Low Tide Day (May sees the lowest tides of the year)
And of course there are local events too.
However you might choose to reduce screen time for your family, we wish you the best of luck and all strength! Heaven forbid our children come to the sorry state of Mike Teavee…
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK–HE ONLY SEES!
(From Roald Dahl’s Oompa-Loompa song in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)