Technology & Media
While computers are essential tools in our modern era and we recognize their importance, the Waldorf approach holds that premature exposure to computers, video games, television, and other screen time contributes to many of the attention, learning, and behavioral issues afflicting so many children of our modern era.
While we expect our students to fully engage with computers later in their academic careers and lives, Waldorf School of Pittsburgh strives to establish a deeper and stronger foundation for critical thinking through emphasis on person-to-person oral teaching, writing, and reading in the lower elementary school.
Students' introduction to technology begins in Grade 4 with Zoology studies and the completion of research papers. Students in Grade 5 begin Cyber Civics — a course continuing through the middle school years. Grade 6 students often use technology for research studies in Geography, and as needed for Science Fair experiments and presentations.
Technology and Distance Learning
Waldorf Education uses technology as a tool, not as something to be taught to children at a young age. However, WSP recognizes the need to use technology to facilitate distance learning.
In keeping with other Waldorf school in North America, Waldorf School of Pittsburgh seeks to balance the developmental needs of the child with appropriate use of screens during the Covid-19 Pandemic. For children in Early Childhood, our distance learning program consists of up to 30 minutes of screen time per day. Grades 1–2 experience up to 1 hour per day, while Grades 3–5 experience up to two hours per day. Grades 6–8 can expect up to 3 hours per day.
We are very proud of our faculty and staff for meeting the challenge of adapting to the technological demands required to facilitate distance learning. The flexibility of our teachers allowed our school to begin remote learning within three days of the state-mandated shutdown in the spring of 2020.
Throughout that spring and over the summer, faculty continued learning and improving their technology know-how, while staff worked tirelessly to improve WSP's technological infrastructure. By fall of 2020, we invested upwards of $10,000 to upgrade WiFi to support multiple learning scenarios. We also provided devices to students who needed them for distance learning via Google platforms and Zoom.
To learn more about distance learning at WSP, visit Our Approach to Distance Learning.
Waldorf Education and Television
Television and other screen time are discouraged because their hypnotic influence leaves children sitting passively when they would otherwise be moving and actively creating their own play, closing down the creative pathways and processes within the child that Waldorf Education nurtures.
There is research that indicates that electronic media can have detrimental effects on a young child’s healthy growth and development. We encourage families to incorporate our progressive practice into their children’s daily lives, especially during nursery and kindergarten. To that end, we ask that our families significantly reduce the use of electronic media for their youngest children, progressively introducing media and technology as they advance through the grades.
We ask families to refrain from television, video watching, and computer activities in general, and from listening to the radio during the car ride to and from school.
Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?
Juana Summers for NPR
W.H.O. Says Limited or No Screen Time for Children Under 5
Emily S. Rueb for The New York Times