What is Waldorf — A Spotlight on Waldorf Education

Waldorf is a worldwide education philosophy that feels more like a way of life, as it extends from early childhood through the teenage years.

The philosophy focuses on engaging the head, heart and mind with curriculum and practice that incorporates academics, arts and practical life skills.

The philosophy was developed by Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, who believed that social improvement and personal development had to go hand in hand. 

Waldorf schools are dedicated to providing an extremely nurturing environment that fosters the development of the whole child.

The Waldorf Philosophy

The Waldorf philosophy begins with the idea that childhood is made of three stages that are each approximately seven years.

“According to Steiner, the human being is a threefold being of spirit, soul and body, whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence.  Each stage has a specific learning style and therefore teaching method.”

Early Childhood: Birth to age seven

In this stage of childhood, the focus should be on developing the limbs through doing. Kids in this age group learn through their sense and through imitation, so providing a sensory rich environment is key.

Middle Childhood: Age seven to 14

Children in this age group are focused on developing the heart through their imagination. They learn through storytelling, drama, movement, art and music.

Adolescence: Age 14 to age 21

At this age, emphasis is developing skills such as coordination, balance, core strength, cooperation, resilience, self-regulation, personal boundaries, and relationships.

Advantages of the Waldorf Philosophy

The Waldorf philosophy looks to preserve each phase of child development. The goal is to follow the child, not to rush them ahead.

The Waldorf Classroom

The classroom is a child’s first home away from home.  It is a place of warmth, order, and beauty. It is an environment that nourishes the senses and fosters reverence for nature and the material world.

Myths about Waldorf Education

Common myth about Waldorf Education is that children are somehow “behind” since there is less focus on academics. However, this is not the case.

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