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Waldorf: The No-Tech Approach To Learning

By Beth Farnsworth, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Anchor, beth.farnsworth@keyt.com
Published On: Nov 20 2013 06:28:09 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 20 2013 10:18:07 PM CST

If you're a parent with a high tech kid who is constantly texting or on their laptop... take a breath, there is another option. Beth Farnsworth has this report.

GOLETA, Calif. -

If you're a parent with a high-tech kid who is constantly texting or watching videos -- even during homework -- and you're fed up, there may be another option. 

'Schooling the head, hands and heart.' Without technology. That's the philosophy behind The Waldorf School's approach to teaching.

In this über competitive, technology-driven world, is this private school's way, perhaps, the better way? You decide.

"Everything about it is brought through music, drawing, movement," said Alecia Dodge, who teaches a 4th/5th combo grade at the Goleta school.    

To some, it's a step back in time when life was slower, simpler. To others, it might just seem like a step backwards.

"With practical skills in third grade they'll shear sheep and spin that wool and they'll knit. And it'll be all about mathematics and multiplication," said parent Kristy Wylie.

It's not memorization but movement that helps the first and second graders with their numbers. They stomp and clap their way through a math lesson.

"They engage the whole body and mind in all of learning," said Wylie. "I think that's how the truest understanding is brought into the child."

It is a mindset that has no need for technology. Even in 2013.

"When children are younger, I think they need to find who they are first," said parent Cindy Macy.

"If you're using an ipad, you're not learning to sing the song with the group, not interacting with the teachers," said Dodge. "If you're learning chalkboard drawing or drawing in your book or handwriting, you're not going to learn that on an ipad or computer."

But some wonder, is teaching children without the use of technology up until eighth grade, doing them a disservice in the long run?

We asked Sam Goodman, a Waldorf graduate and now in 11th grade at San Marcos High School.

"At school, I think it was a good thing that we didn't have a lot of technology because I don't know, it doesn't help learning as much as its made out to," said Goodman.

He admits that he had an ipod by 7th grade and his father works in software, but sees how a complete lack of technology for some would be difficult once they mainstream into public school by 9th grade.

"I don't think they need to exclusively not have it, but I don't think it would be harmful if they did."

Other differences that set Waldorf apart from public schools: The average class size is 14, and students stay with their same teacher from kindergarten up through eighth grade.

There is currently a waiting list for the preschool and kindergarten classes.

You'll find admission and other information on their website at waldorfsantabarbara.org.

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