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School as a Journey: The Eight-Year Odyssey of a Waldorf Teacher and His Class.

Parents who are looking for insights into child development from ages 7 to 14 or who want to learn more about Waldorf education will be delighted by Torin Finser's account of taking a class from first through eighth grade in a Waldorf school. School as a Journey fills the need for a current American book on Waldorf indications for elementary-aged children. It will be appreciated by both parents and educators and is especially valuable to parents doing home schooling or wanting to enrich their child's educational experience. It provides a comprehensive introduction for parents who are considering Waldorf education for their child, and it is especially suited for giving to extended-family members who wonder what makes the Waldorf approach unique.

Finser's descriptive and lively style, one of the key elements of Waldorf teaching, engages the reader's interest and makes the students and the subjects come alive as he devotes a chapter to each grade. He also provides fascinating insights into history, mathematics and the temperaments as well as showing how various subjects such as language arts, chemistry and physics are presented by the class teacher in a Waldorf school (special subject teachers bring foreign languages, orchestra, woodworking and other classes to the children each day).

The personal and dramatic elements make the odyssey come alive, and the extensive footnotes make the book an excellent resource for parents who are home schooling and those who want to go deeper into the works of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner, the Austrian founder of Waldorf education, was particularly insightful about child development and ways of meeting the needs of the whole child -- mind, body, emotions and spirit.

School as a Journey admirably fills the gap between my book You Are Your Child's First Teacher on Rudolf Steiner's indications for early childhood and Betty Staley's book Between Form and Freedom on the teenage years. One of the main aims of a Waldorf teacher is to be a person who is worthy of standing before the children as a role model and who brings the world to them in a lively way on their journey from first to eighth grade. Torin Finser writes with a warmth and openness which make it clear that he has fulfilled that aim in his own teaching. He is currently director of the Waldorf Teacher Training Program at Antioch New England.
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Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Dancy, Rahima Baldwin
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1995
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