A Developing Member in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
Serving Children From Early Childhood Through Eighth Grade
Waldorf education strives to produce “human beings who are capable themselves of imparting purpose and direction to their lives. By seeking to educate the head, heart, and hands of the child, the curriculum covers a broad spectrum of subjects, balancing academics, artistic expression and skill, and practical learning. Waldorf teachers are dedicated to cultivating a natural love of learning in their students, developing their intrinsic motivation and essentially teaching them how to joyfully teach themselves, a resource they will be able to draw on throughout their lives.
Waldorf schools, founded nearly 90 years ago, were created with the intent to meet society’s needs in a new way by fostering healthy, whole, truly free human beings. Teachers teach to the whole child—head, heart, and hands—using a multi-sensory approach. Instead of rote memorization of standardized information, the emphasis is on a developmental curriculum that is taught artistically, using movement, drawing, music, storytelling, and rhythm. Each child’s unique gifts are honored in a healthy safe and nurturing social environment. Nourishment of the spiritual, physical, and emotional aspects of each child is integrated with the development of intellectual capacities, allowing learning to become a lifelong passion along with developing an ability to work with others to put that learning to service in the world. Long before educational research confirmed the idea of ‘multiple intelligences,’ Rudolf Steiner understood the need to align and diversify teaching for different learning styles.
The curriculum is designed to stimulate and support the developing child. From fairy tales to sophisticated and complex concepts in modern society, all subjects are taught from historical and cultural origins. Included are works to inspire morality through the cultivation of gratitude, reverence and love for the world.
Families are encouraged to limit media exposure to maintain healthy routines at home that allow their children to fully experience childhood without the worries and care of adult life.
‘What every parent would wish as the best for his or her children, Waldorf education provides. The fullest development of intelligent, imaginative, self-confident and caring persons is the aim of Waldorf education. This aim is solidly grounded in a comprehensive view of human development, in an intellectually and culturally rich curriculum, and in the presence of knowledgeable, caring human beings at every stage of the child’s education.’ — Douglas Sloan, Professor Emeritus, Columbus University
Each Waldorf school is unique, but all share in common the developmental curriculum laid out by Rudolph Steiner. Similarly, every teacher presents the curriculum in a unique manner, highlighting his/her strengths. Teachers receive ongoing in-service training via weekly meetings, visiting mentors, bi-annual evaluations and annual conferences,
One class teacher ideally moves with the class from first through 8th grade. This allows the teacher to know each student in-depth and to attend carefully to his/her needs over time. The teacher can then modify the curriculum as the children grow and mature. By following the children through the grades, the teacher gains an inner flexibility and broader understanding of the curriculum. The contact with one teacher is supplemented by interaction with various other teachers who provide specific instruction in foreign language, music, fine arts, handwork, woodwork, and movement.
Children are encouraged to contribute their best work and express their thoughts and feelings, but no grades are assigned until middle school. Instead, teachers engage in detailed parent conferences and write extensive reports on each child’s progress. In the place of textbooks, children create beautiful main lesson books alongside their block studies. The only standardized testing is that which is required by the state on Tennessee in order. The emphasis is on handwriting and oral presentations as opposed to word processing and video aids.
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