Frequently Asked Questions About Waldorf Schools
What is Waldorf Education?
Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf education is based on a developmental approach that addresses the needs of the growing child and maturing adolescent. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education in to an art that educates the whole child-the heart and the hands, as well as the head. For more information, please go the Waldorf Education page.
Is Waldorf Similar to Montessori?
Are Waldorf schools religious?
Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational. They educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all the world cultures and religions. Waldorf schools are not part of any church. They espouse no particular religious doctrine but are based on a belief that there is a spiritual dimension to the human being and to all of life. Waldorf families come from a broad spectrum of religious traditions and interest.
What is the curriculum like in a Waldorf school?
Waldorf Education approaches all aspects of schooling in a unique and comprehensive way. The curriculum is designed to meet the various stages of child development. Waldorf teachers are dedicated to creating a genuine inner enthusiasm for learning, that is essential for educational success.
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children learn primarily through imitation and imagination. The goal of the kindergarten is to develop a sense of wonder in the young child and reverence for all living things. This creates an eagerness for the academics that follow in the grades.
Kindergarten activities include:
- storytelling, puppetry, creative play;
- singing, eurythmy (movement);
- games and finger plays;
- painting, drawing and beeswax modeling;
- baking and cooking, nature walks;
- foreign language and circle time for festival and seasonal celebrations
Elementary and middle-school children learn through the guidance of a class teacher who stays with the class ideally for eight years.
The curriculum includes:
- English based on world literature, myths, and legends
- history that is chronological and inclusive of the world's great civilizations
- science that surveys geography, astronomy, meteorology, physical and life sciences
- mathematics that develops competence in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry
- foreign languages; physical education; gardening
- arts including music, painting, sculpture, drama, eurythmy, sketching
- handwork such as knitting, weaving, and woodworking
The Waldorf high school is dedicated to helping students develop their full potential as scholars, artists, athletes, and community members. The course of study includes:
- a humanities curriculum that integrates history, literature, and knowledge of world cultures;
- a science curriculum that includes physics, biology, chemistry, geology, and a four-year college preparatory mathematics program;
- an arts and crafts program including calligraphy, drawing, painting, sculpture, pottery, weaving, block printing and bookbinding;
- a performing arts program offering orchestra, choir, eurythmy and drama;
- a foreign language program;
- a physical education program.
Reprinted with the permission of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
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