One of the myths about the Sandpoint Waldorf School is that we have no relationship with technology. It is true that the teachers directly deliver the curriculum to the children and do not rely on computers in the classroom. In fact, the Sandpoint Waldorf School classrooms have no computers, with the exception on occasion in sixth, seventh, and grades. The school believes that enthusiasm for learning is best fostered through the human to human relationships and hands-on experiences.
Despite the fact that we provide limited exposure to computers in the classroom, the Sandpoint Waldorf School does have a relationship with technology and is actively preparing its students for the digital world. Now for a second year, the school has been teaching its sixth, seventh, and eighth graders the Cyber Civics curriculum created by Diana Graber. Cyber Civics is a digital citizenship literacy curriculum that prepares students to learn how to use technology ethically, safely, and wisely.
In sixth grade the students learn citizenship literacy—what is it to be a responsible citizen on-line, how to be aware of cyberbullying, of privacy and identity. In seventh grade the students learn information literacy: how to search the web for information while being mindful of online safety and security. In the eighth grade the students learn media literacy for positive participation: how to be more of a producer than a consumer, how to develop critical thinking skills so as to be able to detect fake news.
While some online access is necessary for the curriculum, the most important digital literacy skills are social skills that are taught the old fashioned way, person to person in the way that Waldorf schools have been teaching since they were founded 100 years ago. As they enter their second century, the motto of Waldorf school’s worldwide is Learn to Change the World. To do that students need to be prepared to be a contributing citizen of the digital world.
However, just preparing the students for our digital age is not enough. Parents and teachers alike are asking for more guidance on how to provide children with the benefits of our digital world while safe guarding them from the dangers. To provide parents and teachers with more awareness and practical advice, the Sandpoint Waldorf School is bringing Diana Graber to Sandpoint on October 16. She will be conducting a workshop with the faculty during the day and will be giving an evening talk at 6:00 pm. Kochava, at its headquarters on Church Street, is generously hosting the talk which is free and open to the public. Childcare is available for parents of SWS at the school with pre-sign up.
Diana Graber’s book, Raising Humans in a Digital World, Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology is available for sale in the office at a discounted rate.