On March 25th 2021, the European Parliament adopted with an overwhelming majority the ‘Shaping digital education policy’ report. In it, the joint lobbying work of Alliance ELIANT and our member European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) is largely reflected, with many of our proposals being taken on board. Amongst else, we were able to defend an age appropriate approach to digital education, which we see as a step towards securing a better future for children.
The report is the EP response to the European Commissions’ Digital Education Action Plan, which outlines their vision for ‘high-quality, inclusive and accessible digital education in Europe’ for 2021-2027. As a stakeholder in the field, ELIANT further strengthened the proposal for the age appropriate approach to be respected by providing evidence of support for our demands. Our petition for healthy media education has been signed until March 20th by 100 425 people from all throughout Europe.
ELIANT, together with ECSWE, will continue to follow the process in Brussels with regard to the implementation of the Action Plan and its mid-term review in 2024.
About the petition:
100 425 people from all over Europe have signed up to the campaign organised by Alliance ELIANT and the Alliance for Humane Education (Bündnis für humane Bildung) demanding:
- The right to choose and have continued access to screen-free kindergartens and primary schools.
- Teachers and educators should be able to decide for themselves whether and for what purpose digital aids are used in their work.
“This particularly applies to the first twelve years when sensory-motor skills and the first steps towards social and emotional maturity are developing”, explained Prof. Ralf Lankau from the Alliance for Humane Education and paediatrician Dr. med. Michaela Glöckler, President of the European Alliance for Applied Anthroposophy (ELIANT). The two organisations are jointly responsible for this petition.
The EU Commission has adopted a “Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027)”. At its core is the “Promotion of a high-performing digital education ecosystem” and the “Enhancement of digital skills and competences for digital transformation”. In this context Lankau und Glöckler emphasise that: “With regard to digitalisation it is vital that the human and real-world educational needs of children are taken into account”.
The Alliance and ELIANT recognise that schools need to teach digital skills but, as Lankau says “Everything has its right time.” Children have a right to develop at their own pace, master their real-world environment through movement and creative play and use all their senses. That is why kindergartens, nursery and primary schools should remain screen-free. A one-sided digital focus should be avoided. According to Dr. Glöckler: “It is only through the interplay of sensory and motor experiences that children can be healthy and feel secure in their temporal and spatial surroundings”. This is what makes age-appropriate, physical and spiritual development possible. It is precisely this right to have time for development, that this petition is calling for.