What is Waldorf Education?

Please take 17 minutes to watch this excellent video about Waldorf schools! Very inspiring with lots of information.

What makes Waldorf schools unique?

On the surface, a Waldorf school doesn’t appear much differently than a public school. Our day to day grade school and high school operations are similar to BC public schools with an 8:30 – 3:00 daily schedule, running from September to June, five days per week. Our two days per week playschool programs are offered on Monday / Wednesday and Tuesday / Thursday; while our kindergarten operates five days per week as mandated by the BC Provincial Government.

However, the physical space may offer a unique first impression, with walls painted in an artistic way and an essence of natural simplicity, calmness and beauty in the school, which provides a sanctuary for the students to learn and be creative.

Following are a few key components that distinguish Waldorf education from other approaches:

Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum

The curriculum was designed, based on a deep understanding of child development which delivers age-appropriate subject matter and activities throughout the child’s education. Rudolph Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, proposes a philosophy of child development that suggests a human is a threefold being of spirit, soul, and body whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. The Waldorf curriculum is broad and comprehensive and designed to bring age appropriate subjects that support each of these developmental phases.

Multi-Disciplinary Approach

The teacher recognizes the multi-faceted way that each child learns, and strives to meet the needs of all types of learners, kinesthetic, visual and auditory. Through experiential learning, the teacher recognizes that in order for a child to truly “know” something they need to experience it physically, emotionally and intellectually.

The curriculum is enlivened and strengthened by incorporating fine arts (drawing, painting and sculpture) and practical arts (knitting, sewing and woodworking), music (voice, recorder and violin) and movement into daily practice. Waldorf education is richly steeped in the humanities, foreign languages (French from grade 1), sciences, and the arts, and strives to create a genuine love for learning.

At the Whistler Waldorf School, students learn from an early age to engage in their own learning process. The imaginative play and grace of the early years evolves into an experience of meeting the beauty and complexity of the world with sensitivity and hope. This foundation leads to a rich academic experience that supports young men and women in realizing their full potential as students, as people, as members of the global community.

Whistler Waldorf School offers a thoroughly balanced curriculum to meet the needs of children facing a fast paced, changing world. Students are engaged in intellectual, artistic, and experiential learning in all subject areas. All this guided by a model of child development that emphasizes the right blend at the right time.

Teachers

The role and work of the teachers in a Waldorf school also represents a unique aspect to Waldorf education. The faculty works together to establish curriculum decisions, create teaching schedules, and discuss all issues relating to the classroom and the children. Waldorf teachers are deeply committed to their students and the school.