Waldorf education is the fastest-growing non-denominational educational movement in the world. There are Waldorf schools on every continent. Waldorf education works in the suburbs of Stockholm; the thriving cities of Brazil; the townships of South Africa; and in the ancient cities of Japan. It works here in Ann Arbor, too.
Waldorf education works because it is based on profound insight into the needs and capacities of young children, elementary pupils, and high school students. Founded in Central Europe in 1919, Waldorf schools today seem more contemporary than ever. Theme-based education, block scheduling, teaching to different learning styles, moral education, and ‘looping’ have all been part of the Waldorf curriculum since the first school was founded by Rudolf Steiner.
Our kindergartens give young children the opportunity to work joyfully and play imaginatively within a secure and beautiful environment. Our loving, experienced teachers know the importance of rich sensory experiences, walks in nature, hard work, and joyful festivals.
Lower School teachers move with their classes through at least Grade 5. They come to know their students intimately, and they are able to unify the entire academic curriculum. Special subject teachers introduce the children to a wide array of disciplines: Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, orchestra, woodworking, eurythmy, singing, physical education, and the arts. Academic concepts are presented through stories, drama, music, and movement. This kind of artistic presentation reaches children with many different learning styles.
High school students need academic rigor, opportunities for self-expression, and a community. Every student takes nearly every subject, all of which are taught by specialists. Students discover new capacities and talents within themselves; their self-confidence allows them to relate to their teachers and to each other in an open, tolerant environment.
See the future of education: visit Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor.
Schooling_the_Imagination by Todd Oppenheimer (September 1999, The Atlantic) is the first of a three part series on Waldorf Education.
Waldorf schools, which began in the esoteric mind of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, have forged a unique blend of progressive and traditional teaching methods that seem to achieve impressive results — intellectual, social, even moral.
The_Computer_Delusion by Todd Oppenheimer (July 1997, The Atlantic) discusses computers in education.
There is no good evidence that most uses of computers significantly improve teaching and learning, yet school districts are cutting programs — music, art, physical education — that enrich children’s lives to make room for this dubious nostrum, and the Clinton Administration has embraced the goal of ‘computers in every classroom’ with credulous and costly enthusiasm.
www.waldorfsemi.org – The Waldorf Institute of Southeastern Michigan, formerly the Waldorf Teacher Development Association (WTDA), founded in 1991, offers courses in anthroposophical studies, artistic work and Waldorf education courses for prospective elementary teachers. We also offer general Adult Education courses for those interested in deepening their study of the arts and Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy of creative idealism.
www.awsna.org – The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America has a wonderful web site with more Waldorf Education information.
Waldorf Education: A Family Guide edited by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen Rivers
Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven by Barbara J. Patterson and Pamela Bradley
You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy
Endangered Minds by Jane Healy
The Hurried Child by David Elkind
The Millennial Child by Eugene Schwartz
Understanding Waldorf Education by Jack Petrash