River Song is a Waldorf community that practices mindful media use, and many of our families opt out of media use entirely. Because our approach fosters the growth of the whole child through emphasis on their imaginative and imitative abilities — which form the foundation for creative thinking and academic learning — it is imperative that the influences children imitate and powerfully express are pure of heart, mind and body.
Under the influence of our technocentric, media-saturated world, if children encounter these things at such a young age, their imaginations are stunted, and their imitative play often reflects extreme attitudes and behavior far removed from what parents and others who love them offer them to imitate. Consistently, parents and guardians who reduce (or nearly eliminate) media influences in their personal and family lives find that family members develop a livelier interest in one another, deepen their communication, and foster a more profound connection to the world around them.
Because Waldorf schools are increasingly rare oases as media-free communities, River Song expects that each parent understands and supports our media policy for the good of their own children and the children’s peers. Per our request, “media” includes television, movies, computers, and other AV devices, including smart phones, video game systems, and iPods/mp3 players. Even if the content seems benign, child-friendly or educational, the two-dimensional, hypnotic aspect of a screen and intrusions on the child’s ears through streaming music or radio, affects the child’s active engagement with their lives. The impact of media exposure is passed on to the other children, reverberating throughout the community and showing up in other children’s play, attitudes, language, and inner life.
All members of the River Song community depend on the parents to help create in their homes an environment that supports and reinforces Waldorf education, and respect for our media policy has a positive effect on everyone’s school experience.
For more information, please speak with your child’s teachers and the Administrative Director. To learn more, you can begin with several books that address the growing cultural concern with the effect of television on young children. See, for instance, Endangered Minds and Your Child’s Growing Mind by Jane Healy, Remotely Controlled by Aric Sigman, The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, and The Shelter of Each Other by Mary Pipher, PhD (author of the international bestseller Reviving Ophelia).