In September 2014, parents at the Waldorf School of Atlanta began a Media-Lite Living initiative. The WSA Family Handbook holds recommendations about limiting media. This initiative is designed to support parents on this road. We are archiving the articles, stories and testimonials from this initiative on the WSA blog. An Introduction article that includes links to articles in this series is here.
Media-Lite Living Column
Student Testimonial: Jillian Eugene, WSA Alumna
At The Waldorf School of Atlanta media usage is discouraged for young students. Growing up I never knew about the latest TV shows or funny cartoons, but I did have a big imagination. Unlike many schools where technology is the base for learning, at The Waldorf School of Atlanta I was encouraged to invent my own stories, read books, play games, and enjoy the outdoors. Main lesson books were the foundation of much of what I learned in school, where I wrote by hand and drew pictures of what I learned in class. I truly had a great childhood, which I know not everyone can say.
Many of my friends, when I tell them that I really didn’t watch much TV or play video games when I was younger, ask me questions like, “Well what did you do then?” They think I missed out on some great times, but I think it’s really the other way around. So what did I do? At home I played outside, got utterly dirty while digging for “treasures” or trying to create a living area underneath the earth’s surface. I experimented in the kitchen, built forts, and played sports outside with my brother and neighbors. I painted, enjoyed sewing projects, put on puppet shows for my parents, and always used what some call “boredom” to delve into a new world of imagination.
I realize now how fortunate I was to really have time to be a child, without the stress of knowing all of the realities of the world. Innocence and a bit of ignorance when very young are not detrimental, and with my lack of connection to the media, I developed a happy disposition and love of learning. From babysitting children from various backgrounds, I have also realized how lucky I was that the media was nearly absent from my childhood. There was a set of siblings I used to babysit that would always tell me about games they could play on the Wii, but had never done in real life. They had their video games, gadgets, and favorite TV shows, but they always seemed so irritated and stressed, especially if something in a video game they were playing went wrong. When I suggested a break to play outside, my suggestion was usually not very thrilling, but it was not long before they were more relaxed and happy.
All of this is to say that the lack of media use that Waldorf schools promote is truly beneficial to the child, as well as to the adult they eventually become. I was encouraged as a child to be imaginative and had plenty of free play, which has led me to be an innovative adult full of ideas. Instead of having television define my ideas, I learned to think for myself, which I believe is a true key to success.
~Jillian Eugene, WSA class of 2008
The above article was taken from The Garden Breeze, our WSA in-house newsletter. For more information about our school, please visit us at the Waldorf School of Atlanta.