Alternative Schooling On Your Mind?
The moment we think about getting our child admitted to a school, there are way too many options these days. Many schools today are based on conventional education methodologies but there are few options of alternative education philosophies too like Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio, to name a few.
Let me share with you some principles of Waldorf education, its pros and cons & then you can perhaps decide whether Waldorf education is a choice you want to make for your child and as a family.
Rudolf Steiner created Waldorf education in 1919 after the First World War with the intention of educating students for peace. He believed all human beings had the ability for spiritual growth and self-improvement.
Waldorf education has a consistent philosophy of child development underlying the curriculum. All subjects are introduced in an age-appropriate fashion. Waldorf schools are based on the philosophy that imaginative and practical, hands-on work is the best way to promote learning.
What you would typically see in a Waldorf environment
- A slow-paced environment, plenty of arts and crafts, almost an absence of technology/media, lots of outdoor education, and hands-on learning.
- There are no academics in a typical Waldorf kindergarten. But most children are reading independently by the middle or end of second grade and they are at par with their conventional school peers.
- Formally, alphabets are introduced in the first grade. Children explore how our alphabet came about, discovering, as the ancients did, how each letter's form evolved out of a pictograph. Writing thus evolves out of the children's art.
- Students learn basic arithmetical skills of counting, geometry, and fractions through creative arts, such as knitting, woodworking etc.
Source: Princeton waldorf
- Storytelling, cooking, and gardening are greatly incorporated in the younger grades.
- There are no "textbooks" in the early grades. All children have something known as "main lesson books", which are like drawing sheets books which they fill in during the course of the year. So eventually children produce their own "textbooks" which record their experiences and what they've learned in a very artistic way.
Source: Sophia institute
- Much emphasis is given on festivals & ceremonies. Seasonal festivals serve to connect humanity with the rhythms of nature. Celebration is an art. There is joy in the anticipation, the preparation, the celebration itself.
- By engaging children’s head, heart & hands (minds, emotions and bodies), they take in more, and they take it in much deeper.
Positives of Waldorf Education
- Waldorf education is about allowing children to develop at their natural pace.
- The aim of Waldorf schooling is to educate the whole child, "head, heart and hands". The curriculum balances academics with artistic and practical activities.
- Learning in a Waldorf school is non-competitive.
- Children are treated as individuals and curriculum is tailored to their unique style of learning.
- Students are happy, healthy, interested and motivated to create things.
- They are not only prepared for university, but for life as well.
Situations When Waldorf May Not Work For You
Because Waldorf education is so different than traditional schooling, it’s worth asking whether a Waldorf school is right not just for your child, but for your entire family.
It is NOT for you in the following situations:
- If you are looking for a technology-intensive classroom that prepares children for a fast-paced world
- If you are more comfortable with a traditional approach to reading, writing, and maths
- If you worry that your child will lag behind if she doesn’t learn the letters, numbers & maths in early years
- If your child loves competition, she may not get it here
The main reason I personally love Waldorf is that it honours and protects the wonder of childhood.
Did this post make your decision about the school easy or difficult? Do share!
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Explore the entire collection of articles: Early Learning & Brain Development
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