Waldorf education is one of the largest and fastest growing non-sectarian educational movements in the world.  Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolph Steiner founded the first Waldorf school in Europe in 1919.   There are currently over 950 Waldorf Schools and some 1600 Waldorf preschools on six continents. Waldorf education works in New York and Nairobi, in Buenos Aires and Canberra, in London and Tokyo.  And, it works here—in Nashville, Tennessee.  

 Why? Waldorf education works because the timing and introduction of academic instruction  mirrors, supports and enriches childrens’ natural, age-related needs. The curriculum provides a rich experience that prepares children to meet the challenges of our world and the future with clarity of thought, a caring heart, and the confidence to initiate change. 

We encourage you to attend a Windows on Waldorf Tour to learn how this time-tested international education offers children a solid academic foundation interwoven with unique multi-sensory experiences,  to engage students’ interest, deepen their understanding and spark their enthusiasm for learning. 

See specific information about the Waldorf curriculum.

 

History of Waldorf Education

Waldorf education has its roots in the spiritual-scientific research of the Austrian scientist and thinker, Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). According to Steiner’s philosophy, the human being is a three-fold being of spirit, soul, and body whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.

WHAT IS WALDORF?

‘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

 

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In April of 1919, after the end of World War I, the defeated German nation teetered on the brink of economic, social, and political chaos. Emil Molt, Director of the Waldorf Astoria factory in Stuttgart, Germany, asked Rudolf Steiner to speak to the factory workers about the need for social renewal and offer a new way of organizing society—its political, economic, and cultural life.

Molt then asked Steiner if he would undertake to establish and lead a school for the children of the employees of the company. Steiner agreed, but set four conditions, each of which went against common practice of the day: 

  1.  that the school be open to all children, 
  2.  that it be coeducational, 
  3.  that it be a unified twelve-year school, and 
  4.  that the teachers, those individuals actually in contact with the children, have primary control of  the school, with minimum interference from the state or from economic sources. 

 

Steiner’s conditions were radical for the day, but Molt gladly agreed to them. On September 7, 1919, the independent Waldorf School (Die Freie Waldorfschule) opened its doors in a converted restaurant building on the Uhlandshöhe hillside in Stuttgart.

The first Waldorf school in North America opened in 1928 as The Rudolf Steiner School, located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The number of schools in North America grew slowly, and in the late 1960s representatives from the existing schools met informally. The first fruit was the agreement to hold an annual teachers' conference. The Association became tax-exempt in 1979 with the beginnings of a strong structure for supporting the large number of new schools being formed.

Now, with over 1,000 Waldorf schools located in 83 countries, Waldorf education is one of the fastest growing independent educational movements in the world. In North America there are over 160 schools and 14 teacher education institutes in varying levels of development. These schools exist in large cities and small towns, suburbs and rural enclaves. No two schools are the same; each is administratively independent. Nevertheless, a visitor to any school will recognize many characteristics common to them all. 

-Adapted from Young Schools’ Guide: A Working Guide for the Development of Healthy Waldorf Schools, AWSNA, 2005.

 

 

Introducing Waldorf Education

Teaching the Whole Child

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. 

 

Teacher Training

Waldorf teachers and teaching environment

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.

Learn about Waldorf teacher training.

 

Waldorf education is one of the largest and fastest growing non-sectarian educational movements in the world.  Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolph Steiner founded the first Waldorf school in Europe in 1919.   There are currently over 950 Waldorf Schools and some 1600 Waldorf preschools on six continents. Waldorf education works in New York and Nairobi, in Buenos Aires and Canberra, in London and Tokyo.  And, it works here—in Nashville, Tennessee.  

Why? Waldorf education works because the timing and introduction of academic instruction  mirrors, supports and enriches childrens’ natural, age-related needs. The curriculum provides a rich experience that prepares children to meet the challenges of our world and the future with clarity of thought, a caring heart, and the confidence to initiate change. 

We encourage you to attend a Windows on Waldorf Tour to learn how this time-tested international education offers children a solid academic foundation interwoven with unique multi-sensory experiences,  to engage students’ interest, deepen their understanding and spark their enthusiasm for learning. 

See specific information about the Waldorf curriculum.

 

History of Waldorf Education

Waldorf education has its roots in the spiritual-scientific research of the Austrian scientist and thinker, Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). According to Steiner’s philosophy, the human being is a three-fold being of spirit, soul, and body whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.

In April of 1919, after the end of World War I, the defeated German nation teetered on the brink of economic, social, and political chaos. Emil Molt, Director of the Waldorf Astoria factory in Stuttgart, Germany, asked Rudolf Steiner to speak to the factory workers about the need for social renewal and offer a new way of organizing society—its political, economic, and cultural life.

Molt then asked Steiner if he would undertake to establish and lead a school for the children of the employees of the company. Steiner agreed, but set four conditions, each of which went against common practice of the day: 

  • that the school be open to all children, 
  • that it be coeducational, 
  • that it be a unified twelve-year school, and 
  • that the teachers, those individuals actually in contact with the children, have primary control of  the school, with minimum interference from the state or from economic sources. 

 

Steiner’s conditions were radical for the day, but Molt gladly agreed to them. On September 7, 1919, the independent Waldorf School (Die Freie Waldorfschule) opened its doors in a converted restaurant building on the Uhlandshöhe hillside in Stuttgart.

 

The first Waldorf school in North America opened in 1928 as The Rudolf Steiner School, located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The number of schools in North America grew slowly, and in the late 1960s representatives from the existing schools met informally. The first fruit was the agreement to hold an annual teachers' conference. The Association became tax-exempt in 1979 with the beginnings of a strong structure for supporting the large number of new schools being formed.

Now, with over 1,000 Waldorf schools located in 83 countries, Waldorf education is one of the fastest growing independent educational movements in the world. In North America there are over 160 schools and 14 teacher education institutes in varying levels of development. These schools exist in large cities and small towns, suburbs and rural enclaves. No two schools are the same; each is administratively independent. Nevertheless, a visitor to any school will recognize many characteristics common to them all. 

-Adapted from Young Schools’ Guide: A Working Guide for the Development of Healthy Waldorf Schools, AWSNA, 2005.

 

 

Introducing Waldorf Education

Teaching the Whole Child

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. 

 

Teacher Training

Waldorf teachers and teaching environment

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.

Learn about Waldorf teacher training.

 

HISTORY OF WALDORF EDUCATION

Waldorf education has its roots in the spiritual-scientific research of the Austrian scientist and thinker, Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). According to Steiner’s philosophy, the human being is a three-fold being of spirit, soul, and body whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.

In April of 1919, after the end of World War I, the defeated German nation teetered on the brink of economic, social, and political chaos. Emil Molt, Director of the Waldorf Astoria factory in Stuttgart, Germany, asked Rudolf Steiner to speak to the factory workers about the need for social renewal and offer a new way of organizing society—its political, economic, and cultural life.

Molt then asked Steiner if he would undertake to establish and lead a school for the children of the employees of the company. Steiner agreed, but set four conditions, each of which went against common practice of the day: 

  • that the school be open to all children, 
  • that it be coeducational, 
  • that it be a unified twelve-year school, and 
  • that the teachers, those individuals actually in contact with the children, have primary control of  the school, with minimum interference from the state or from economic sources. 

Steiner’s conditions were radical for the day, but Molt gladly agreed to them. On September 7, 1919, the independent Waldorf School (Die Freie Waldorfschule) opened its doors in a converted restaurant building on the Uhlandshöhe hillside in Stuttgart.

The first Waldorf school in North America opened in 1928 as The Rudolf Steiner School, located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The number of schools in North America grew slowly, and in the late 1960s representatives from the existing schools met informally. The first fruit was the agreement to hold an annual teachers' conference. The Association became tax-exempt in 1979 with the beginnings of a strong structure for supporting the large number of new schools being formed.

Now, with over 1,000 Waldorf schools located in 83 countries, Waldorf education is one of the fastest growing independent educational movements in the world. In North America there are over 160 schools and 14 teacher education institutes in varying levels of development. These schools exist in large cities and small towns, suburbs and rural enclaves. No two schools are the same; each is administratively independent. Nevertheless, a visitor to any school will recognize many characteristics common to them all. 

-Adapted from Young Schools’ Guide: A Working Guide for the Development of Healthy Waldorf Schools, AWSNA, 2005.

 

Introducing Waldorf Education

Teaching the Whole Child

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. 

 

Teacher Training

Waldorf teachers and teaching environment

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.

Learn about Waldorf teacher training.

 

Waldorf education is one of the largest and fastest growing non-sectarian educational movements in the world.  Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolph Steiner founded the first Waldorf school in Europe in 1919.   There are currently over 950 Waldorf Schools and some 1600 Waldorf preschools on six continents. Waldorf education works in New York and Nairobi, in Buenos Aires and Canberra, in London and Tokyo.  And, it works here—in Nashville, Tennessee.  

Why? Waldorf education works because the timing and introduction of academic instruction  mirrors, supports and enriches childrens’ natural, age-related needs. The curriculum provides a rich experience that prepares children to meet the challenges of our world and the future with clarity of thought, a caring heart, and the confidence to initiate change. 

We encourage you to attend a Windows on Waldorf Tour to learn how this time-tested international education offers children a solid academic foundation interwoven with unique multi-sensory experiences,  to engage students’ interest, deepen their understanding and spark their enthusiasm for learning. 

See specific information about the Waldorf curriculum.

Act locally,
affect globally:

Steiner/Waldorf schools
change the world 

The first Waldorf school was founded in Stuttgart in 1919. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and 1,700 Waldorf kindergartens in 80 countries around the globe. And more all the time. We are making our Centennial an occasion to further develop Waldorf education for contemporary times, and focus more consciously on its global dimensions. With many exciting projects on all continents. Keep your ears and eyes open, and be part of the movement: 100 years are just the beginning!

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