Learn more about our education...
Here are some articles, blogs and links to information supporting the ideas and ideals of our school and Waldorf education. We hope that this content will give you more insight into how our education helps develop young people who can change the world!
The Brick Magazine: "When we spoke with the teachers at Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, we were pleasantly surprised to meet teachers who were deeply nourished by their work instead of burned out by overwhelming bureaucracy."
Our teachers love what they do and it shows! Students are the focus, not grades, and that gives teachers the freedom to build relationships with students that fully support academic growth as well as social/emotional health.
Forbes: Teaching social-emotional skills is critically important, both for helping students to be resilient in challenging circumstances, as well as building the empathy and emotional intelligence that students will need for their future. Developing these skills through music, movement, play, the visual and performing arts and collaborative work are a core part of our curriculum.
Social and Emotional Learning may sound soft, but it’s backed up with hard facts.
A Columbia University study found that every dollar invested in SEL programming yields $11 in long-term benefits. These benefits include reduced juvenile crime, higher lifetime earnings, and better mental and physical health.
A 2017 study uncovered the long-term impact of SEL programming, which can have a positive impact up to 18 years later on academics and behaviors.
Previous studies show that 57% more students in schools with an SEL program improved their skills compared to students in schools without an SEL program, 27% more improved their academic performance, and 24% more improved their emotional well-being and social behavior.
Social-emotional learning is a foundation of Waldorf education. Waldorf schools are known for their welcoming and inclusive environment. Teachers are trained to recognize the unique individual and encourage each student to realize their full potential. Students have the same teacher for multiple years, which fosters a strong student-teacher bond built on mutual trust and respect.
Education Week: “A lot of teachers ... have really strong abilities to engage socially with the students, but then it’s not enough,” she said. “You have to go much deeper than that and actually start to engage with students around their curiosity, their interests, their habits of mind through understanding and approaching material to really be an effective teacher.”
Strong, supportive student-teacher relationships are at the center of our educational approach. Every school day starts with the class teacher greeting each student at the door to their classroom, looking them in the eye, and shaking their hand. Our class teachers move through the grades with their class, staying with the students for multiple years. This extended time that our teachers spend with their class means that they are able to be an additional trusted and supportive figure who is invested in their students' long-term success. They come to really know each student. They know their strengths, their challenges, their unique learning styles. They are able to see the arch of each student’s academic, and social development.
Those who intrinsically motivate (achieving for internal reasons and not external rewards) are happier, smarter and better equipped for learning and life.
Waldorf educators follow many guidelines for fostering intrinsic motivation including: which are referenced in the studies and articles below.
- De-emphasizing grades
- Bringing real-life value to topics (think learning fractions by cutting delicious pizza)
- Supporting and challenging (without overwhelming) students
- Fostering / respecting individual learning styles
- Helping students experience autonomy in the classroom
Articles providing more in depth information:
- The Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching takes a thorough look at advantages and disadvantages of fostering each type of motivation and then looks at motivation’s effects on learning style and teaching strategy.
- Education Week Author and Teacher Larry Ferlazzo highlights six in-depth writings on specific motivation topics such as helping students develop self control and good learning habits.
- Business Psychology offers a research study done on the effects of motivating employees and the results ring just as true for students.
Although the future is uncertain, we're hearing that "the future belongs to generalists" (those with multi-functional experience and "general cognitive ability" over role-related knowledge). This means that kids with a wider breadth of experiences will be better poised to meet the rapidly changing needs of companies, organizations and our society.
Check out our programs to get a feel for the myriad experiences our students receive academically, artistically, musically, culturally and more!
Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that Waldorf students spend a great deal of time outdoors. While this is especially true of our nursery and kindergarten programs, all the classes at RSSAA work to spend time outdoors each day.
Waldorf teachers in early childhood and elementary grades offer both indoor and outdoor free play time. Free play is play that is not directly lead or organized by an adult or caregiver. This fosters creative imagination and observation skills.