Waldorf Schooling

Topics: Waldorf education, Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner Pages: 6 (2336 words) Published: April 20, 2011
There are many types of schools around the world that have been affective for many years. One type is Waldorf education. Waldorf education views the child as whole humans who need to develop their mind, body, and spirit. This approach gives the children an opportunity to explore the world around them. Waldorf education tries to make the children who come out of this program well rounded individuals.

Waldorf education was found by an Austrian educational philosopher named Rudolf Steiner. This man was a very intellectual man who had many thoughts about spirituality. He developed his own form of spiritual science. This science was called anthroposophy. The back bone of this science was that there was a spiritual world that can only be accesses through higher intellectual thinking. Anthroposophy said it was important for the mind, body, and spirit to grow. This is where he came up with the education that addressed all three aspects. He had many beliefs of how the child develops. The educational curriculum was based around these three beliefs: “Children grow through three distinct developmental phases, the highest pursuit of education should be to develop the whole child to become a free creative thinker capable of self-actualization, and all children should have the right and access to this form of schooling.” (Follari, 2011, p. 243). When creating the Waldorf School, Steiner made sure that the schools were running under four key conditions. The four conditions were that, “the school was open to all children (race, class, ethnicity, ability level), the school was coeducational (accepting boys and girls), the K-12 curriculum was viewed as a unified, complete program, and the teacher bored the primary responsibility for control of the administration of the school, with minimal outside interference.” (Follari, 2011, p. 243). The first Waldorf School opened in Germany in 1919. This school was for the children of the workers at the Waldorf –Astoria cigarette factory. The first Waldorf School in the United States was in 1928 in New York City. Throughout the world including Europe, North & South American, Africa, Australia, and Japan, there are now over nine hundred Waldorf schools.

What is Waldorf education? Waldorf education is an approach that views the child as a whole human being, as being mind, body, and spirit. This approach is based on a great understand of the development of the growing child. Steiner believed that children grow and develop and three distinct stages: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. Americans for Waldorf Education says, “The main goal of Waldorf education is to enable students as fully as possible to choose and, in freedom, to realize their individual path through life as adults.” (What is Waldorf). The educational curriculum is broke down into these three stages but the curriculum is still unified. If someone were to walk into a Waldorf class, the first thing someone might notice is the brightly colors of the walls and that the children’s artwork are displayed all over the room. Also, someone might notice that the teachers are very enthusiastic and committed. (Why Waldorf Works). The book, Foundations and Best Practices in Early Childhood Education, says “The curriculum is developmentally appropriate and addresses the most important criteria required for learning to occur: that learning activities be meaningful and appropriate for children’s age and developmental level.” (Follari, 2011, p. 251). For Waldorf education, it is essential that the curriculum for K-12 is unified but also age appropriate. Foreign languages, literature, arts, movement, discussion, experiment, and debate are a few ways in which children explore content and topics. The curriculum encourages individual expression when they are a child all the way to when they are adults and out of the program. The education addresses subjects on three different levels. The first level is the head or intellect. This...
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