“Waldorf education has for seventy years been putting into effect what major brain researchers and educators are discovering about the human mind.” – Gabriel Rico, Professor, San Jose University
Waldorf Education offers a time-tested curriculum with a rich blend of academics and arts. The curriculum and methods respond to the needs of the child at each stage of development and promote creativity, critical thinking and a lifelong love for learning. Waldorf Education provides a strong foundation in literature, foreign language, history, geography, music, fine and practical arts, mathematics, and science – the subjects today’s child needs as a foundation for tomorrow’s complex and challenging civilization.
Some important aspects of Waldorf Education are:
Imitation, Imagination and Play
Imitation is the special characteristic of the young child in the first 7 years. Our Early Childhood program provides the young child with activities worthy of imitation: domestic, practical and artistic activities in a secure, home-like environment. The teacher nurtures the child’s imagination through stories and free play with natural, unformed toys. Waldorf kindergartens do not teach reading or other academics: they nourish the child through a range of activities that build confidence and skills for future academic success and for life.
The Class Teacher
The Class Teacher stays with the same class of children through eight years of elementary school (grades 1-8), teaching all the main subjects. For the teacher, this means time to really know the children and help them unfold their gifts, as well as the enormous challenge of working with a new curriculum each year. The child finds stability and continuing guidance in working with the same class teacher and being with the same students.
In Grades 1-8, the core curriculum is taught in blocks of 3-4 weeks, during Main Lesson period at the beginning of the morning. The teacher integrates movement and the arts in a cross-curricular approach to the subject matter, choosing the material, presentation and activities carefully, with attention to the variety of learning styles and individual needs of the students in the class.
The Arts are not ‘extras’ at a Waldorf School, but are an integral part of the everyday curriculum, and of each subject studied. Drama, painting, music, drawing, modeling, etc. are integrated into the academic curriculum, including mathematics and the sciences. The Waldorf method of education through the arts awakens imagination and creative powers, bringing vitality and wholeness to learning.
I think that it is not exaggerated to say that no other educational system in the world gives such a central role to the arts as the Waldorf School Movement. There is not a subject taught that does not have an artistic aspect. Even mathematics is presented in an artistic fashion and related via dance, movement or drawing to the child as a whole. Steiner’s system of education is built on the premise that art is an integral part of human endeavors. He gives it back its true role. Anything that can be done to further his revolutionary educational ideals will be of the greatest importance.
Konrad Oberhuber,Curator of Drawings, Fogg Art Museum, Professor of Fine Arts, Harvard Unversity