Children of America’s top tech executives from companies such as Google, Apple, Yahoo, and HP, are attending a private school in Silicon Valley that has no computers in the classrooms.
The Waldorf School of the Peninsula, located in Los Altos, California, is one of 160 Waldorf schools in the country where students are encouraged to focus on physical activity and creative tasks rather than engaging in a virtual world through computers. Students use old-fashioned pen and paper, pencils, and knitting needles.
Google executive Alan Eagle, whose children attend the school in Los Altos, told The New York Times: “I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school.”
Over 75 percent of students attending the school have parents in the tech industry.
“The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that's ridiculous,” he said.
He goes on to say that his fifth grader daughter cannot use Google and his eighth grader son is just learning to use it.
“If I worked at Miramax and made good, artsy, rated R movies, I wouldn't want my kids to see them until they were 17,” he said.
The classrooms consist of blackboards and bookshelves with encyclopedias. Students practice knitting socks to help their math and problem-solving skills. Teachers use cakes and apples to teach students fractions.
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America insists that their method works. Ninety-four percent of students graduating from the Waldorf high schools between 1994 and 2004 attended college. Their annual tuition at Silicon Valley is $17,750 for kindergarten through to eighth grade and $24,400 for high school.
Eagle says there is no rush for his children to start using their keyboard.
“It's supereasy. It's like learning to use toothpaste,” he said. “At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There's no reason why kids can't figure it out when they get older.”