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School bucks tech trend with unplugged approach


While a growing number of teachers use netbooks and iPads to teach students, a new school in Edmonton, Alberta, keeps technology out of the classroom, reports the Edmonton Journal. The Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton, which opened this fall, stocks its shelves with knitting needles and wool, wooden toys, and silk scarves. Natural materials dominate the small school’s numerous educational programs, including kindergarten and a Grade 1-2 combined class. There are no televisions, no computer screens, and no electronic gadgets for tiny fingers. “You can see, the way it’s set up, that we’re really encouraging creative play,” said Netta Johnson, the vice-president of the Waldorf Education Society of Edmonton. Her husband works with computers for a living. “It’s not that we’re anti-technology for people, but for children, yes,” Johnson said. “I think, increasingly, research is showing that there is a benefit to early play-based education and to the kind of education that Waldorf provides.” A New York Times story published last month revealed that the chief technology officer of eBay, along with employees of Silicon Valley giants such as Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard, opt to send their own kids to a Waldorf school. May Louise Moskuwich teaches Grades 3 and 4 at Avonmore’s Waldorf program. She tells stories and uses rhythm, movement, art, drama, and music in her lessons. “What Waldorf education really likes to do is nurture and strengthen the development of children’s own imaginations,” she said, “and we’re concerned that electronic media can hamper children’s imaginations.”

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