Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Article: A Video on Media and the Young Child

Dear Community Members,

As we move fully into our year together and start to look with fresh eyes at the growth and capacities of the children we continue to meet the challenges that media can have on our young children.

Please join us this Wednesday Oct. 17th  at the Parent Study to discuss more the effects, alternatives and power of media.


Lisa Bono

Faculty Chair

Another Note from faculty member Meaghan Witri:

For our community here at New Amsterdam, it can be helpful to look at how other Waldorf schools approach the topic of media in their schools and communities. At the Marin Waldorf School they created a video that expresses their perspectives on media exposure during the childhood years. Perhaps it will provide useful context for our ongoing conversation around media and the effects it has on children.

Here is their description: "Learn more about Marin Waldorf School's approach to media through this short film. Our experience, as a school and as a movement, is that popular culture, especially as expressed through various forms of media, overwhelms children's thinking and imagination. We make a conscious effort to quiet pop culture and media awareness in order to make room for the development of intellectual curiosity and a healthy and authentic sense of self. Waldorf education strives to awaken a children's excitement and enthusiasm for learning through a curriculum rich in academic and artistic expression."


New Amsterdam Media Statement

Children and Media

Some parents have concerns about the “media policy” of Waldorf schools and find limiting media exposure to be difficult.  This is particularly so if their child otherwise wants their attention while the parent is attempting to do something else, like respond to emails or cook dinner.  This is a common issue among parents with very young children. 

Children are remarkably flexible creatures and can easily become as used to having the TV, iPad or computer off as they may have become to having it on.  They are excited by their own capabilities, which they can only discover through their own active play, and not by watching a video that often renders them “numb” and “glued” to the device.  Television, videos and computer games are a barrier to creative play because they present the young child with fully manifested “shows” that leave no room for the young mind to contribute.  If we seek to support the development of our children’s own initiative and creativity, we need to limit anything that dampens the discovery of their own abilities, imaginative powers, and enjoyment.

For purposes of this statement, “Electronic Media” includes television, movies, computers and all other video and audio devices, including cell-phones, personal digital assistants, video games and music/mp3 players. The scope of this definition may well change as media technology and its applications evolve.   Care and judgment also should be applied to permitting exposure to other forms of media, including print media (newspapers, magazines and catalogs) and radio (news and recorded music).

At the New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center we seek to support parents in striving towards these ideals of encouraging children’s play and freedom.  We recognize that our world is media-rich and parents may find it hard to be 100% “compliant” with this approach.  Working together we support each other within the classroom and at home.  Feel free to talk to your teacher, the school admissions director or the school faculty chair if you want help with free play and weaning your child from media.