What Is Waldorf?
“When children relate what they learn to their own experience, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. Waldorf schools are designed to foster this kind of learning.”
—Henry Barnes, longtime Waldorf teacher and former President of the Board of AWSNA
Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. They integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf Education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.
Founded in the early 20th century, Waldorf Education is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education outlined by world renowned artist and scientist Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf Education evolve from an understanding of human development that address the needs of the growing child.
Music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.
Professors who have taught Waldorf students across many academic disciplines and across a wide range of campuses—from state colleges to Ivy League universities—note that Waldorf high school graduates have the ability to integrate thinking; to assimilate information as opposed to memorizing isolated facts; to be flexible, creative and willing to take intellectual risks; and are leaders with high ethical and moral standards who take initiative and are passionate to reach their goals. Waldorf graduates are highly sought after in higher education.
Teachers in Waldorf schools are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and rewards to motivate learning, and allows motivation to arise from within. It helps engender the capacity for joyful life-long learning.
The Waldorf curriculum is broad and comprehensive, structured to respond to the three developmental phases of childhood: from birth to approximately 6 or 7 years, from 7 to 14 years and from 14 to 18 years. Rudolf Steiner stressed to teachers that the best way to provide meaningful support for the child is to comprehend these phases fully and to bring age appropriate content to the children that nourishes healthy growth.
Waldorf Education is independent and inclusive. It upholds the principles of freedom in education and engages independent administration locally, continentally and internationally. It is regionally appropriate education with hundreds of schools worldwide today. Waldorf Education is truly Inspired Learning.
Re-posted from AWSNA.