The Bulletin

Community Discussion: Toddlers and Teens: Our Children & Screens

Tuesday, November 2013


Periodically we feature school news and perspective pieces from parents in the CWS community
ranging on topics from parenting issues to personal growth and the Waldorf experience.


All School Meeting Focuses on Children and Media

by Karen Anderson, parent & PTO member

The All School Meeting on Wednesday, October 23rd provided our community with a rare opportunity to explore together the questions we face as parents trying to guide our children’s media use. In addition to the signature school news updates traditionally offered at All School Meetings, this program featurde psychotherapist and trainer Kelli Underwood, LCSW, who delivered a presentation and moderated a discussion on the theme, “Toddlers to Teens: Our Children and Screens.

The reach of media in children’s lives is powerful. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates the average child is spending seven hours a day on entertainment media including television, computers, phones and other electronic devices. And while I’m sure many families in the Waldorf school are well below that average, we are part of a society transformed by screens.

In her presentation, Ms. Underwood offered parents some practical tips on helping children to develop healthy media use habits. The community discussion part of the program provided a platform for the parents to exchange ideas and explore guidelines about screen use, including social media. The virtual social world is where many children run into problems, so a discussion with peers’ parents is priceless. Additionally, Ms. Underwood, a former adjunct faculty member at the University of Chicago’s Master’s in Social Work Program, explored topics such as games, apps and the effects of screen time exposure on young people.

The meeting program also featured its cornerstone agenda items, including all the latest breaking school news. Speakers delivered updates on our quest for a long-term permanent campus for the school, the progress of the Capital Campaign and the initiatives of the Development Committee, among other topics, including the new lunch program. ---

Parents who would like to submit ideas for short reflections to Voice of the Parents should contact Karen Anderson at  Imagery Sources: Top Image and Bottom Image


Continuing the Dialogue: sharing Parent Resources:

As a follow-up to the discussion on media and screen exposure at the All School Meeting in October, we'd like to share these perspectives on parenting strategies around the issue:

• From the Desk of Kim John Payne: Screens and Social Media- Kim John Payne published a short piece in his October e-Newsletter. Sign up for “Simplicity Parenting” to get these monthly updates.

• Why I Don't Want to Get a Cell Phone for my Kids- CLICK HERE for an interview on Conan O'Brien, where comedian, Louis CK offers--in his typically brash and honest manner--a parent's insight into the experience of his young daughters wanting to use cell phones. (Alert: the video uses some profane language ) Thanks to parent Andy Nebel for the submission.

• Waldorf Schools: Blackboards, Not Laptops- In this highly profiled and controversial New York Times article, "A Silicon Valley School that Doesn't Compute," the Waldorf approach to screens is spelled out. This article led to a profusion of media profiles on Waldorf education that interviewed some of its most unexpected champions; international tech company executives and digital CEOs.