Waldorf Academy is a Toronto kindergarten private school that is built upon several tenets put forward by Rudolf Steiner back in 1919 which are just as relevant today.
The first Waldorf school opened in Germany, but they are now located all over the world, and the philosophy behind the Waldorf education is shared widely amongst educators as an example of best teaching practices.
Benefits of Waldorf Education
When learning is built around a child, they embrace it and thrive – for example, a German study reports that children from Waldorf schools suffer less frequently from stomach aches, headaches, and poor sleep.
Below we have listed for you six of the key teaching principles that you can also implement at home to help your children to flourish.
1. Storytelling Is Key
Storytelling opens up the mind to processing information and reformatting it, and it encourages imagination, which is key in problem solving.
Allowing your children to make up and tell the stories themselves helps them actively engage their minds.
When it’s your turn – perhaps at bedtime – try deviating from the books to make up your own story, letting it wander and delight your child.
When you tell a story, your child learns new words, hears about your experiences through an understandable framework, and also has the chance to travel to places they’ve never been – whether real or imaginary.
2. Children Thrive In Nature
Nature is the greatest playground of all, and children who spend time outdoors exploring and playing see so many benefits that you’re reminded of the wisdom of your parents, who may have told you to go out and play and not come home until the street lights came on.
Outdoor education grounds and calms children, and also fosters creativity.
There have also been studies linking outdoor play with improved immune systems in children, and fewer allergies.
Physical activity is a necessity for kids, and building this into their day gives them the outlet they need to learn and grow.
3. Let Children Learn On Their Own Time
One of the basic principles of the Waldorf educational system is to recognize that all children develop at different rates, and that teachers should adapt to them, not children to their teacher.
Children are trying to figure out the world, and giving them the freedom to explore and understand at their own pace gives them the confidence that comes with solving a problem on your own.
Children are naturally inquisitive and insatiably curious – foster that and let them loose to learn to their heart’s content.
4. Art Is Just As Important As Science
There is a lot of attention on STEM nowadays, with our tech-aspiring world, but this is not the only important subject for children to be exposed to.
Art helps gives children context for the world they live in, and helps them find their place in it.
Creative play usually comes with art supplies and sometimes random household objects, but allowing for unstructured time doesn’t mean they’re missing out on your guidance or on learning – it just means they’re coming by that in a way that works well for them.
Waldorf is not the only place where you’ll find an emphasis on art – former Mythbusters cohost Kari Byron believes in what is now being called STEAM – that is the traditional Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, along with Art.
“In my own personal journey,” Byron told the publication Popular Science, “when I started to approach science like art, and get my hands messy, that’s when I started to love it.
When you take your creativity and you throw your energy into it, it almost works like a drop in a pond, it radiates outward, and creativity begets other creativity.”
Letting your kids get their hands messy can help them build problem-solving skills which will help them grow into more capable adults.
5. Let Children Play
Encouraging art is a perfect segue to the next tip: letting children play.
Having fewer toys, or less complicated toys, changes how kids see the world because it helps them see the value and opportunities in everything else around them.
Simple things like cardboard boxes and sticks allow them to invent, experiment and explore possibilities in a way that no video game can replicate.
6. Routines Give Children A Sense Of Security
At the Waldorf Academy, we strive to give children freedom to learn, but within a framework of routines that give them a sense of security.
When kids understand there are boundaries, it opens them up to explore safely within those limits.
Start or end their day with a ritual that they can come to expect and rely on, such as stretching or meditation time, discussion time or even clean-up-your-room time.
Similarly, Waldorf education believes it is important to provide tidy play areas for children, so children have a safe, organized space to unleash their minds.
Contact Waldorf Academy
It’s possible that some of these points resonate with you, as parents, from your own upbringing.
If you would like to know more, and how to best support your child’s education and emotional upbringing, call us at the Waldorf Academy to set up an appointment.