Waldorf Education is the fastest growing independent school movement in the world today with more than 1,000 Waldorf schools on five continents. It is an education of the future and for the future.
Waldorf schools work with an integrated balance of artistic, practical and intellectual content in the curriculum with an emphasis on social skills and ethical values. Some characteristics that distinguish a Waldorf school from other independent education movements include:
- The Class Teacher: We believe that in order for children to grow into self-confident, authoritative adults, they must experience in childhood to the loving guidance of a respected authority. Waldorf grades teachers follow a model in which they may remain with the same class as they progress through the grades. The result is a strong bond between the class and the teacher who has followed the history of each child's strengths and struggles and is well acquainted with their family. Subject teachers also offer this continuity as most teach their subject area to students in grades one through eight.
- Developmental Appropriateness: Subjects are introduced at a time and in a fashion appropriate to the child's intellectual and emotional development.
- Integrated Curriculum: As a single subject unfolds over time and between other subjects taught in any year, multiple and profound connections are made. The Waldorf curriculum is a carefully conceived whole. Moreover, Waldorf educators believe that although children have diverse talents, these talents will be greatly enhanced by the child's exposure to the full curriculum. For example, the intuitions of the artist or poet can be harnessed by the study of math. The budding engineer only profits from the sense of form and symmetry fostered by the arts.
- Focusing Attention: Waldorf education encourages children's natural ability to listen and to respond to the human voice. By listening to their teacher, children of all ages memorize songs, poems, tongue twisters, and entire plays. Children's ability to focus their attention over time is also encouraged by the structure of the main lesson and by crafts projects that may require weeks or months to complete.
- Active Learning: Academic subjects are taught on multiple fronts and appeal to several senses. In addition to being taught as special subjects, art, music, movement, and a variety of practical exercises are incorporated into academic lessons.
- Social Education: Waldorf education fosters and nurtures politeness and courtesy among the children in the classroom and on the playground. We also encourage children to stand up for themselves and for others, if and when necessary. Further, UVWS recognizes that social conflict is a normal part of human growth, which must be guided rather than avoided. UVWS strives to help children learn how to resolve and learn from conflicts, leading to a greater understanding of oneself and others.
History of Waldorf Education
Waldorf Education is based on the work of Rudolf Steiner, PhD (1861-1925), an Austrian-born philosopher, artist, scientist and teacher. Steiner offered insights into a broad spectrum of human endeavors based on a holistic vision of the human being. Steiner held that, in order for a child’s potential to fully develop, three central aspects need to be addressed: thinking, feeling, and willing. The Waldorf curriculum, initiated in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919, is rooted in a developmental approach that balances rigorous study of the sciences, humanities and artistic subjects. At each stage of the student’s development, academic cognitive skills are mastered through the artistic presentation of content by trained Waldorf teachers through unique, hands-on experiential methodology.
Learn more about Waldorf Education by visiting one of the resource links listed at right.