Melinda Messenger on her choice to enroll her kids in Steiner Waldorf schools and more
British model Melinda Messenger, 37, recently found herself under fire in the UK when she mentioned in an interview that her 7-year-old son, Morgan, cannot yet read. Also mom to Flynn, 6, and Evie, 4, Melinda defends her decision, explaining that she has chosen to enroll her children in a Steiner Waldorf school, in which interdisciplinary learning is coordinated with the "natural rhythms of everyday life."
I moved my children from a mainstream school to Steiner Waldorf school where the emphasis is less on academic education and more on personal development.
I think kids are put under too much pressure at school to perform in tests and reach certain standards at Maths and English. To me, kids should be out climbing trees, having fun, developing themselves and their interests instead of being forced to sit at desks and write.
Yes they should [learn to read]. But the fact that my kids can’t read yet doesn’t make me a bad mum. My views are based on research done in schools in Europe, which show that children’s brains aren’t developed enough to start learning in an academic way until they’re eight or nine. Morgan will learn to read in time and when he’s ready — there’s no rush.
For more from the interview, including Melinda’s discussion of her PPD experience with her youngest and advice for new moms, click below.
On finding motherhood fulfilling:
After everything I’ve done, being a mum is the best. I always wanted tohave a baby before the age of thirty because Wayne and I are veryfamily people. Once you’ve got kids, you realize that parties anddresses and money aren’t important. Your kids are everything.
Advice for new moms:
Don’t worry. I worriedtoo much when I first had kids and it’s such a misery. Try and relaxand enjoy having a new baby. Take the time to sit with your baby andcuddle it and talk to it, because those times when they’re little areso precious. Don’t panic about buying clothes and toys — all your babyneeds at first is you.
On her postpartum depression with Evie:
[It was] terrible.Your life turns upside down once you have kids and being a new mum isso overwhelming. You’re living in this weird bubble, where everythingrevolves around feeding, changing and bathing and it’s like nothingyou’ve ever experienced before. No one prepares you for it, you’retotally sleep deprived and constantly worried that you’re doingeverything right.
Source: Take 5 magazine, March 2nd issue, p. 16-17
Thanks to CBB reader Carlie.
If you are Waldorf educated, or have chosen it for your child, please feel free to share your experience in the comments.