The heart of Waldorf
1. Image of the human being
2. Phases of child development
3. Developmental curriculum
4. Freedom in teaching
5. Methodology of teaching
7. Spiritual orientation
(Dig deeper into the 7 core principles in the Resources below.)
A creative education for all
“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility - these are the three forces which are the very nerve of education.” - Rudolf Steiner
Waldorf education is based on the principles of anthroposophy, by Rudolf Steiner. Founded in 1919 in Germany, it focused on educating all children regardless of social status with the goal of developing responsible, moral, socially competent, and creative individuals. Rote knowledge held less importance against storytelling and experimentation. Core subjects were taught and learned through hands-on arts and experience. Dance, music, and language, as well as gardening and natural cultivation were high priorities. Through a project-based approach to academia, children learned how to learn, how to gain knowledge organically and intrinsically - rather than just being told something, or reading it in a text book. Their ability to seek knowledge was developed, and their creative abilities greatly expanded.
Waldorf in practice
One of the main ways of teaching in Waldorf education is through storytelling. Telling stories by heart to small children is a great way to help them recognize the rhythms and cadences of their native language. Through verbal storytelling, children become aware of historical figures, mythological characters, and different times or settings.
Another main tenant of Waldorf education is to play outside. Frequent exposure to nature and the surrounding environment builds connections between who we are as people and the world in which we live. Creating a bond with the natural world fosters a respect for the self while also encouraging environmental awareness.
The arts are woven into all learning opportunities in Waldorf Education. Students are invited to learn about the body and its moving parts through dance - either watching someone dance or holding a dance party. They learn about an artist (Jackson Pollock is a fun one) and then try out the methods their own way. Art is incorporated by listening to music, singing songs, playing instruments, making instruments, putting on a recital, or putting on a play.
When our children have unstructured time to themselves, they get to explore, imagine, and navigate their own learning paths. This is a skill that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
It’s common in families and schools that use Waldorf education to use the seasons to inspire their learning. This further incorporates nature and her rhythms into the daily rhythms of school and family life, creating a more organic and connected relationship with our environment.