“Waldorf education is not a kind or brand of education but a quality of education, and qualities like colours, like the warmth of the heart, may expand boundlessly” — Stephen Sagarin
Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on a profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing children. Waldorf education strives to transform education into an art that educates the whole child – the heart and the hands, as well as the head.
Waldorf Kindergarten teachers do not place premature academic demands on students. Rather they allow the children’s intellectual capacities to unfold naturally so that by the time children enter the elementary grades they are ready and eager to experience new forms of learning.
The pedagogy emphasizes the role of imagination in learning; striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of children. The priority is to provide an unhurried and creative learning environment where children can find the joy in learning and experience the richness of childhood.
The curriculum is a flexible set of pedagogical guidelines, taking into account the child’s natural learning system rather than stressing on early specialization or academic hot-housing. It gives equal attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual needs of each pupil. The core subjects of the curriculum are taught in thematic blocks and all lessons include a balance of artistic, practical and intellectual content.
For the Waldorf students, music, dance and theatre, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate a lifelong love of learning.
The central focus of the Waldorf teacher is to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect in his/her pupils by instilling an appreciation for their individual background and place in the world. This self-esteem, confidence, and self-respect takes Waldorf students way ahead in their lives and allow then to live a happy and responsible life.
Teachers in Waldorf schools are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. They achieve this in a variety of ways. Even seemingly dry and academic subjects are presented in a pictorial and dynamic manner. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and behavioristic rewards to motivate learning. It allows motivation to arise from within and helps engender the capacity for joyful lifelong learning.
The first Waldorf school was opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. At present there are over a thousand independent Waldorf schools, about 2,000 kindergartens, and 646 centers for special education, located in 60 countries, constituting one of the largest independent school movements internationally (source: Wikipedia).