Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Introduction to Waldorf Education: Curriculum and Methods. Introduction iii R U D O L F S T E I N E R. Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy 2. Twelve Public Lectures NOVEMBER 19, – AUGUST 30, Anthroposophy is a modern spiritual path that cherishes and respects the freedom of each individual, based on the writings and lectures of Rudolf Steiner.
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Waldorf educationalso known as Steiner education w, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steinerthe founder of Anthroposophy. Its pedagogy strives to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner.
The cultivation of pupils’ imagination and creativity is a central focus. Individual teachers and schools have a great deal of autonomy in determining curriculum content, teaching methodology, and governance. Qualitative assessments of student work are integrated into the daily life of the classroom, with quantitative testing playing a minimal role and standardized testing usually limited to what is required to enter post-secondary education.
The first Waldorf school opened in in StuttgartGermany. A century later, it has become the largest independent school movement in the world,  with about 1, independent Waldorf schools,  1, kindergartens  and centers for special education  located in 75 countries.
There are also a number of Waldorf-based public schools charter schools and academiesand homeschooling  environments. In Continental EuropeWaldorf anhroposofia has become a well-recognized theory of education that has influenced public schooling and many European Waldorf schools receive state funding.
Public funding of Waldorf schools in English-speaking countries is on the rise but has met some road blocks due to widespread rejection of vaccines among the parents of Waldorf pupils  and the mystical and antiquated nature of some of Steiner’s theories.
The first school based upon the ideas of Rudolf Steiner was opened in in response to a request from Emil Moltthe owner and managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in StuttgartGermany. This is the source of the name Waldorf, which is now trademarked in some countries when used in connection with the overall method that grew out of this original Waldorf school. Molt was a inroduo of Anthroposophythe esoteric spiritual movement based on the notion that an objectively comprehensible spiritual realm exists and can be observed by humans.
Emil Molt was also a close confidant of Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy’s founder and spiritual leader.
As the co-educational school also served children from outside the factory, it included children from a diverse social spectrum. It was also the first comprehensive school in Germany. Waldorf education became more widely known in Britain in through lectures Steiner gave at a conference at Oxford University on educational methods.
Political interference from the Nazi regime limited and ultimately closed most Waldorf schools in Europe, with the exception of the British, Swiss, and some Dutch schools.
The affected schools were reopened after the Second World War  though those in Soviet-dominated areas were closed again a few years later by Communist regimes. In North America, the number of Waldorf schools increased from nine in the United States  and one in Canada  in to around in the United States    and over 20 in Canada  as of Most recently, many schools have opened in Asia, especially in China.
The structure of Waldorf education follows Steiner’s theory of child developmentwhich divides childhood into three developmental stages  and describes learning strategies appropriate to each stage. The stated purpose of this approach is to awaken the “physical, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual” aspects of each individual,  fostering creative as well as analytic thinking.
Where is the introdduo in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.
Waldorf pedagogical theory considers that during the first years of life children learn best by being immersed in an environment they can learn from through antroposovia imitation of practical activities.
The early childhood curriculum therefore centers on experiential educationallowing children to learn by example, and opportunities for imaginative play.
Waldorf preschools employ a regular daily routine that includes free play, artistic work e. Pre-school and kindergarten programs generally include seasonal festivals drawn from a variety of traditions, with attention placed on the traditions brought forth from the community. Waldorf kindergarten and lower grades generally discourage pupils’ use of electronic media such as television and computers.
Waldorf educators believe that use of these conflicts with young children’s developmental needs,  media users may be physically inactive, and media may be seen to contain inappropriate or undesirable content and to hamper the imagination. Waldorf pedagogues consider that readiness for formal learning depends upon increased independence of character, temperament, habits, and memory, one of the markers of which is the loss of the baby teeth. Waldorf elementary schools ages 7—14 emphasize cultivating children’s emotional life and imagination.
In order that students can connect more deeply with the subject matter, academic instruction is presented through artistic work that includes story-telling, visual artsdrama, movement, vocal and instrumental music, and crafts. Elementary school educators’ stated task is to present a role model children will naturally want to follow, gaining authority through fostering rapport and “nurturing curiosity, imagination, and creativity”.
Waldorf elementary education allows for individual variations in the pace of learning, based upon the expectation that a child will grasp a concept or achieve a skill when he or she is ready.
Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy
Each class normally remains together as a cohort throughout their years, developing as a quasi-familial antroposoria group whose members know each other quite deeply. Introduoo central role of this class teacher is to provide supportive role models both through personal example and through stories drawn from a variety of cultures,  educating by exercising creative, loving authority. Class teachers are normally expected to teach a group of children for several years,  a practice known as looping.
The traditional goal was for the teacher to remain with a class for the eight years of the “lower school” cycle, but in recent years the duration of these cycles has been increasingly treated flexibly. Already in first grade, specialized teachers teach many of the subjects, including music, crafts, movement, and two foreign languages from complementary language families  in English-speaking countries often German and either Spanish or French ; these subjects remain central to the curriculum throughout the elementary school years.
While class teachers serve a valuable role as personal mentors, establishing “lasting relationships with pupils”,  especially in the early years, Ullrich documented problems when the same class teacher continues into antrooosofia middle school years.
Noting that there is a danger anrtoposofia any authority figure limiting students enthusiasm for inquiry and assertion of autonomyhe emphasized the need for teachers to encourage independent thought and explanatory discussion in these years, and cited approvingly a number of schools where the class teacher accompanies the class for six years, after which specialist teachers play a significantly greater role.
Steiner considered children’s antroposifia, emotional and behavioral development to be interlinked. For example, “cholerics are risk takers, phlegmatics take antroosofia calmly, melancholics are sensitive or introverted, and sanguines take things lightly”.
Seating arrangements antroposogia class activities may be planned taking into account the temperaments of the students  but this is often not readily apparent to observers. In most Waldorf schools, pupils enter secondary education when they are antroposofi fourteen years old. Secondary education is provided by specialist teachers for each subject. The education focuses much more strongly on academic subjects, though students normally continue to take courses in art, music, and crafts.
In the third developmental stage 14 years old and upchildren in Waldorf programs are supposed to learn through their own thinking and judgment.
The overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into freemorally responsible  and integrated individuals,   amtroposofia with the aim of helping young people “go out into inttroduo world as free, independent and creative beings”.
The philosophical foundation of the Waldorf approach, anthroposophyunderpins its primary pedagogical goals: While anthroposophy underpins the curriculum design, pedagogical approach, and organizational structure, it is explicitly not taught within the school curriculum and studies have shown that Waldorf pupils have little awareness of it.
Waldorf schools frequently have striking introduuo, employing walls meeting at varied angles not only perpendicularly to achieve a more fluid, less boxed-in feeling to the space. The walls are often painted in subtle colors, often with a lazure technique, and include textured surfaces.
The schools primarily assess students through reports on individual academic progress and personal development.
The emphasis is on characterization through qualitative description. Pupils’ progress is primarily evaluated through portfolio work in academic blocks and discussion of pupils in teacher conferences. Standardized tests are rare, with the exception of examinations necessary for college entry taken during the secondary school years.
Though Waldorf schools are autonomous institutions not required to follow a prescribed curriculum beyond those required by local governments there are widely agreed upon guidelines for the Waldorf curriculum, supported by the schools’ common principles. The main academic subjects are introduced through up to two-hour morning lesson blocks that last for several weeks.
This has been described as a spiral curriculum.
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Many subjects and skills not considered core parts of mainstream schools, such as art, music, gardening, and mythology, are central to Waldorf education. Elementary students paint, draw, sculpt, knit, weave, and nitroduo. Fine art instruction includes form drawing, sketching, sculpting, perspective drawing and other techniques. Music instruction begins with singing in early childhood and choral instruction remains an important component through the end of high school.
Around age 9, diatonic recorders and orchestral instruments are introduced. Certain subjects are largely unique to the Waldorf schools. Foremost among these is eurythmya movement art usually accompanying spoken texts or music which includes elements of drama and dance and is designed to provide individuals and classes with a “sense of integration and harmony”.
Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work
The Waldorf curriculum has always incorporated multiple intelligences. The scientific methodology of modern Waldorf schools utilizes introdio so-called “phenomenological approach” to science education employing an exemplary methodology of inquiry-based learning aiming to “strengthen the interest and ability to observe” in pupils. Other experts have called into question the quality of this phenomenological approach if it fails to educate Waldorf students on basic tenets of scientific fact.
These included the idea that animals evolved from humans, that human spirits are physically incarnated into “soul qualities that manifested themselves into various animal forms,” that the current geological formations introfuo Earth have evolved through so-called “Lemurian” and “Atlantiean” epochs, and that the four kingdoms of nature are “mineral, plant, animal, and man.
Contradictory notions found in Waldorf textbooks are distinct from factual inaccuracies occasionally found in modern public school textbooks, as the inaccuracies in the latter are of a specific and minute nature that results from the progress of science.
The latter those inaccuracies present in Waldorf textbookshowever, are the result of a mode of thinking that has no valid basis in reason or logic. One study of the science curriculum compared a group of American Waldorf school students to American public school students on three different test variables. The researchers found that Waldorf school students scored higher than both the public school students and the national average on the TIMSS test while scoring the same as the public school students on the logical reasoning tests.
InStockholm University terminated its Waldorf teacher training courses. In a statement the university said “the courses did not encompass sufficient subject theory and a large part of the subject theory that is included is not founded on any scientific base”.
The dean, Stefan Nordlund, stated “the syllabus contains literature which conveys scientific inaccuracies that are worse than woolly; they are downright dangerous”. Because they view human interaction as the essential basis for younger children’s learning and growth, : Education researchers John Siraj-Blatchford and David Whitebread praised the [DfE] for making this exemption, highlighting Waldorf education’s emphasis on simplicity of resources and the way the education cultivates the imagination.
Waldorf schools have been very popular with parents working in the technology sector, including those from some of the most advanced technology firms. In one Silicon Valley school, “three-quarters of the students have parents with a strong high-tech connection”.
Waldorf education aims to educate children about a wide range of religious traditions without favoring any one of these. Waldorf schools were historically “Christian based and theistically oriented”,  as they expand into different cultural settings they are adapting to “a truly pluralistic spirituality”.
Religion classes, universally absent from American Waldorf schools,  are a mandatory offering in some German federal states, whereby in Waldorf schools each religious denomination provides its own teachers for the classes, and a non-denominational religion class is also offered. In the United Kingdom, public Waldorf schools are not categorized as ” Faith schools “.
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Tom Stehlik places Waldorf education in a humanistic tradition, and contrasts its philosophically grounded approach to “value-neutral” secular state schooling systems. Waldorf teacher education programs offer courses in child developmentthe methodology of Waldorf teaching, academic subjects appropriate to the future teachers’ chosen specialty, and the study of pedagogical texts and other works by Steiner. One of Waldorf education’s central premises is that all educational and cultural institutions should be self-governing and should grant teachers a high degree of creative autonomy within the school; : Parents are encouraged to take an active part in non-curricular aspects of school life.
There antroposofiq coordinating bodies for Waldorf education at both the national e. These organizations certify the antroposofi of the registered names “Waldorf” and “Steiner school” and offer accreditations, often in conjunction with regional independent school associations.
The Waldorf public school movement is currently expanding rapidly; while inthere were twelve Waldorf-inspired public schools in the United States,  by there were 53 such schools. Most Waldorf-inspired schools in the United States are elementary schools established as either magnet or charter schools. The first Waldorf-inspired high school was launched in with assistance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Studies of standardized test scores suggest that students at Waldorf-inspired schools tend to score below their peers in the earliest grades and catch up  or surpass  their peers by middle school.