There are many well documented effects of TV, movies, and computers on children. Examples include hyperactivity, decreased attention span, and diminished ability to complete tasks.
Perhaps the greatest loss is the dimming effect it has on the child’s wonderful imagination. It is free imagination and clear mental picturing that provide the foundation for all growth and learning – at every age.
At Nevada Sage Waldorf School, our observations and experiences as parents and teachers has consistently revealed that all forms of “screen time” – television, movies, computer games, videos, DVDs, and other related media – are counterproductive to what we together are trying to nurture in young children. Even so-called “educational” shows and computer games have a deleterious effect.
Not only does such screen time exposure diminish the child’s free imagination, but it is also disruptive to the ambience of the school. We have repeatedly observed how even one-time exposures to such media results in an increase in aggressive and even violent play, a decrease in ability to enter into cooperative play, and an inability to engage in free imaginative play. Whether it is “Sesame Street” or “Star Wars,” the images and storylines are overpowering for the young child… they come to school with a decreased ability to do much beyond trying to “get it all out” by repeating the storylines and images over and over and over again.
We fully recognize that decisions regarding a child’s access to television, movies, computer games, and videos/DVDs falls within the domain of the family and that it is up to each parent to decide what is best for their child. However, we strongly request that Nevada Sage Waldorf School families eliminate these activities from your child’s life altogether.
We encourage you to explore alternatives to TV. Examples may be found in parent-child domestic work. Big favorites with young children are cooking, washing dishes, yard work and gardening, carpentry, and shoe polishing. A few minutes of online research, a review of virtually every issue of any parenting magazine, or paging through any early childhood parenting book will quickly provide you with an almost inexhaustible list of “screen time” alternatives.