It’s where children spend a large portion of their time every day, and the environment of a particular school can set the stage for the rest of a child’s life.
Keep reading to learn more about a Waldorf Education and why it might be a great choice for your child.
What Is Waldorf Education?
Waldorf schools are characterized by their unique approach to education.
Although there is no central body governing Waldorf schools, and they all operate independently, they all follow established structures and use shared resources.
Our Toronto Waldorf school was established more than 30 years ago, but the Waldorf educational system is nearly a hundred years old.
What Makes Waldorf Unique?
The Waldorf curriculum aims to balance academic subjects, artistic endeavors, and practical applications of activities.
The goal of this approach is to educate and develop the “head, heart, and hands”, and to “produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives.”
At a Waldorf school, your child will have a “class teacher” who stays with them throughout their years at Waldorf – many students will have a consistent teacher from grade 1 through grade 8, and at others they will have the same teacher from grade 1 through 5, and another for grades 6 through 8.
Programs that are important, yet often cut by other schools when they face funding issues are central to the program at Waldorf schools – these can include topics such as art, music, and even gardening.
What Does A Waldorf Curriculum Look Like?
The curriculum at Waldorf is designed with the development of the child in mind.
In the primary grades (1-3) focus would be on an introduction to the alphabet, reading and writing, spelling, fairy tales, fables, and legends.
At this level, basic arithmetic principles are explored, as well as skills such as house building and gardening.
In the middle-school grades (4-6) reading and writing skills are built upon with learning grammar, as well as learning about poetry and drama.
Norse mythology, and stories of ancient civilizations are introduced here, as well as more advanced math concepts such as fractions, percentages, and geometry.
Practical skills introduced at this stage include learning about geography, botany, and the basics of physics.
In upper grades (7-8) concepts learned about reading and writing, including grammar and spelling are expanded on even more.
The students learn about medieval history, Renaissance, and world history to the industrial revolution, freedom, and human rights.
Subjects covered at this level also include geography, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and physiology.
How Was Waldorf Education Started?
In 1919, Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner was asked to give a series of lectures to workers in a factory in Stuttgart, Germany.
Following this, the factory owner asked Steiner to open a school for the children of factory employees.
Steiner had four conditions for opening the school, including:
● That the school be open to all children
● The school be coeducational
● It be a unified 12-year school, and
● The teachers would take the lead in running the school.
That paved the way for the opening of the first Waldorf school in September of 1919.
How Many Waldorf Schools Are There?
There are approximately 1,000 Waldorf schools currently operating in 60 countries around the world.
Approximately 150 of those are in North America, and in some areas of the United States there are public Waldorf programs.
What Is The Waldorf Philosophy?
The Waldorf Philosophy is that the curriculum is responsive to the children’s developmental phases, and caters to the needs of children rather than what the government-of-the-day dictates.
Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf curriculum was built on a philosophical school called anthroposophy. This philosophy deeply influences what we do here at Waldorf Academy Toronto .
The philosophy is broad and complex – to read more about it, click here
Contact Waldorf Academy
Are you considering a Waldorf education for your child?
Contact us today to learn more and set up an appointment to meet us and see the facility.