Waldorf schools arent for everyone, but they are for anyone. This means that Waldorf classes work best when they are composed of diverse personalities, learning styles, and work paces. Waldorf schools use movement, art (color, form, and music), the care and cultivation of the senses, multi-faceted approaches to learning, interdisciplinary integration, teacher and curriculum consistency, and individual pacing within a highly refined child development psychology. Importantly in addition, the central guiding principle of Waldorf education is that the every child is a unique being with eternal spiritual and moral qualities. Thus individuality and social responsibility are recognized and honored. These and many other innovative means to serve the variety of students found in the population today.
WALDORF EDUCATION AND THE INDIGO CHILD
These approaches might serve the Indigo Child well, but only in a class with other learning styles and with a strong center of students who move the lessons forward academically and artistically. The Waldorf curriculum and its successful application can help all children, but it would be a mistake for the child for parents to think that Waldorf education alone is a magic cure for learning difficulties. The teacher, working with colleagues and parents, must determine if any particular child can be well served. This is part of the art of education that is the Waldorf school
"College professors who have had Waldorf graduates as students have been impressed with their humble confidence, passion for learning, and intellectual resourcefulness. And alumni rosters are replete with professional acclaim in fields as varied as industry and the arts, medicine and the military."
Todd Oppenheimer, "Schooling the Imagination",
The Atlantic Monthly, September, 1999
Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and philosopher who founded the Anthroposophical Society in the early part of the 20th century gave the basis for Waldorf Education. The Anthroposophical view of the human being and world development is the philosophy that underlies Waldorf education.
The goal of Waldorf Education is to enable each child's potential to unfold by developing creative and imaginative capacities while building a strong academic foundation. Waldorf Education provides an arts-integrated and developmentally age appropriate curriculum to meet the needs of the growing child.
The aim of Waldorf early childhood education is to provide a nurturing, physical environment conducive to learning through exploration and play, with caring adults who are worthy models for children to imitate. The teacher leads and participates in practical and artistic activities which the children imitate baking, painting, drawing, modeling and handcrafts in a weekly rhythm coloring the work with seasonal moods and festival celebrations.
In the elementary grades, the child meets the world of people and nature that is, humanities and science all in a human-being centered way. The learning style is built around feeling and imagination. Teachers address the scholar, the artist, and the artisan alive in each student as the basic skills and capacities are learned. The scope of educational experience spans the heart of childhood. The curriculum ranges from the stories and rhythms accompanying learning to read, write and calculate into the worlds of animals, plants, minerals, and geometry and on to the complexities of the modern world and scientific phenomena. Fully integrated into all subjects are music, movement, drama, visual and sculptural arts, foreign language, and crafts.
High school students reach a developmental stage where they respond to the outer world with their individual capacities. Freedom of thought and the ability to responsibly apply those thoughts are the key goals. The questions: what? how? why? and who? characterize the four years of the Waldorf upper school. The material here and now and black and white contrasts feed the ninth graders need for concrete experiences. The tenth grader asks how? This question, guiding curriculum decisions, addresses the students search for balance, comparison, and interrelationships. The philosophical junior asks, why? The individual course of a life, the nature of existence and the world, destiny, and social responsibility mark the substance of the eleventh grade year. High school culminates in the twelfth grade with all subjects recapitulated and synthesized to greater maturity and clarity. Who is the human being in his or her wholeness is asked. The students themselves answer as they draw toward the next turning point in their development.
Donald Bufano, Chairman
Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
ASSOCIATION OF WALDORF SCHOOLS OF NORTH AMERICA
AWSNA is the Association for independent Waldorf schools and teacher-training institutes in North America. It is also part of an evolving worldwide network of over 800 Waldorf schools in 53 countries.
To nurture, encourage and further Waldorf Education and the Waldorf educational impulse in service to the needs of children from birth through high school age.
To assist our members and each member institution in improving the quality of education they offer by deepening the understanding of the principles of Waldorf Education.
To represent Waldorf Education to the general public, serving as a resource and a voice for Waldorf Education among groups and individuals concerned with issues affecting children, families and education today.
The Association serves as a voice for Waldorf Education in North America through its publications, website, speakers' bureau, advertising, and memberships and participation with other organizations interested in child development, education and social development. Memberships include: the Council of American Private Education (CAPE), the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Council of Anthroposophical Organizations (CAO), and participation in the Social Venture Network (SVN).
The Association serves as a resource for Waldorf schools by coordinating services to schools that include the areas of accreditation, curriculum consultation, teacher recruitment and education, enrollment and community outreach, funding and finance, and board and organizational development.
The Association provides conferences for teachers, parents, board members and staff and research on curriculum and healthy organizational development. The Association publishes books and pamphlets for teachers and parents on subjects ranging from aspects of the curriculum to parenting and child development.
ASSOCIATION OF WALDORF SCHOOLS OF NORTH AMERICA
3911 Bannister Road
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
TEL ( 916) 961-0927
FAX (916) 961-0715
A voice for Waldorf Education and a resource for
Waldorf schools in North America