Playtime vs. Screentime

The teachers and staff at Madison Waldorf know that children are exposed to some level of media or electronic experiences. The benefits of a Waldorf education are undermined by electronic exposure, as it affects their behavior in play, social situations, and in the classroom learning environment. We strongly recommend that families restrict television, radio, magazines and computer exposure, especially on school nights.

A central aim of Madison Waldorf School is to stimulate the healthy development of the child’s own imagination. We recommend restricting media exposure because we are concerned that electronic media hampers the development of the child’s imagination. We see first hand the physical effects of the medium on the developing child in their classroom behavior, as well as the effects the media programming content has on play, respect, and values. We have found that mass media works against the healthy development of sound thinking and seriously weakens a child’s ability to deal with reality. Students accustomed to passively receiving impressions have difficulty making the inner effort necessary to sustain an imaginative train of thought or to follow a complicated mathematical process. Even so-called “educational” programming has an intellectual bias that can permanently color a child’s reaction to a subject.

Media exposure is particularly detrimental in a Waldorf school because it prevents the student from fully developing the creative thinking capacities that are central to our educational goals. We would like our students to view the world through their own eyes, rather than through the lens of someone else’s camera. By delaying a child’s exposure to mass electronic media until the student’s will and feeling life have reached a certain level of maturity, we hope to encourage an enlightened, inquiry-based relationship to technology.