About Steiner Waldorf Education

steiner waldorf education – early years

Steiner Waldorf education respects the essential nature of childhood, enabling each child to develop their inherent capacities and self-confidence in a caring, child-sensitive and structured environment. This provides a secure, unhurried setting where a wide range of vital early skills can develop. At Steiner Waldorf pre-school and primary stages, children are given a foundation for emotional and cognitive intelligence, a sense of values and responsibility, creativity and initiative. Steiner Waldorf education encourages children’s natural enthusiasm and wonder, essential qualities for life-long learning.

steiner waldorf – innovative education

The Waldorf curriculum is artistically structured to respond to the developmental needs of children. The innovative and highly adaptable international Steiner Waldorf curriculum has proven itself in many different cultures worldwide for over 80 years. Steiner Waldorf pupils develop a sensitive and caring interest in the cultural and natural worlds, identifying with fundamental issues of contemporary life. Steiner Waldorf schools aim to nurture children in becoming balanced, well-rounded individuals.

structure and freedom in steiner waldorf schools

Steiner Waldorf pupils benefit from the continuity and personal commitment of their teachers: of their Kindergarten teacher during the Early Years and, between the ages of 6 and 14, of their accompanying class teacher. From age 14-18 they are supported by the pastoral care of a class guardian and a self-chosen tutor. This longer term pupil-teacher-parent relationship, whch is fundamental to the Steiner Waldorf education philosophy, enables Steiner teachers to follow and evaluate each child’s progress and needs throughout the important stages of childhood and youth. Steiner Waldorf Teachers are free to choose and adapt material as appropriate to individual situations, and shape and present it creatively. The teachers’ professionalism and commitment enables them to experience their vocation as a process of self-development and learning.

steiner waldorf education in the world

In a fast-changing and uncertain world, individuals are increasingly called upon to respond with initiative, flexibility and responsibility. As adults, former Steiner Waldorf School students have proved themselves to be resourceful, creative and well equipped to meet the challenges that life presents. They tend to be world citizens with a strong respect for cultural diversity thanks to the international dimension of the education, which facilitates global mobility and mutual understanding.

steiner waldorf education – an inter-disciplinary approach

From the youngest classes up to school leaving age, subjects in Steiner Waldorf schools are integrated thematically within a spiral curriculum. This enhances students’ understanding of complex interrelationships between phenomena. Most Steiner Waldorf teaching takes place in a whole-class setting and in accordance with the stages of child development. Devoting the first two hours of the school day for same four weeks to themes such as the geography of North America, mechanics, literature, the Romans, money and finance, nutrition or the history of architecture is an economical teaching method which helps focus interest and strengthens memory. Steiner Waldorf teaching aims to provide a comprehensive balance of practical life skills such as technology and design, horticulture and crafts, as well as work experience in social contexts. This is complemented by a wide range of artistic activities including music, eurythmy, drama, painting, sculpture, gymnastics and sport. Students in Waldorf upper schools take GCSE and A Level examinations.

the steiner waldorf educational ethos

In a world where traditional culture, community and religious values are increasingly challenged, young people need to establish trust, compassion, and inner sense of values and the ability to discriminate between good and evil. In Steiner schools these values are consciously worked with by parents and teachers in partnership, as well as through the teaching method itself, which leads pupils to “know and love the world” and their fellow human beings. In this way, Steiner Waldorf education is profoundly ecological. All schools are fully comprehensive, non-selective and non-denominational educational charities.

steiner waldorf education & the steiner learning community

Steiner schools are self-governing learning communities and work together within the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship and international bodies such as the European Council of Steiner Waldorf Schools. Responsibility for educational matters is carried primarily by teachers working together co-operatively without a traditional hierarchy. Each Steiner Waldorf school has a school council – comprising parents, teachers and an administrator – which manages a school’s resources. This partnership is committed to a process of working together in the best interests of children and young people, and is an effective means of harnessing the gifts of all concerned for the well-being of the school.

We should not be asking; what does a person need to know or be able to do in order to fit into the existing social order? Instead we should ask what lives in each human being and how can this be developed. Only then will it be possible to direct the new qualities of each emerging generation into society. Society will then become what young people – as whole human beings – make out of existing social conditions. The new generation should not simply be made to become what present society wants it to be! Rudolf Steiner

recommended reading about steiner waldorf education

  • Waldorf Education * (C. Clouder & M Rawson)
  • Education Towards Freedom (F Carlgren)
  • Natural Childhood (ed. J Thomson)

* available from Myriad (click here for our Steiner Waldorf Education books page). Other books are available from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship.

videos about steiner waldorf education

  • Time to Learn (110 minutes)
  • Steiner Waldorf Education (30 minutes)

both by Jonathan Stedall and available from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship.

steiner waldorf education – a new generation

there are 780 Steiner Waldorf school worldwide, with 26 in the UK and Ireland

there are 1,500 Steiner Waldorf Kindergartens worldwide, with 50 in the UK and Ireland

further information about steiner waldorf education

Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship
Kidbrooke Park, Forest Row, Sussex RH18 5JA
tel – 01342-822115 (from outside the UK – +44-1342-822115)
email – postmaster@waldorf.compulink.co.uk
web – www.steinerwaldorf.org.uk

(Registered Charity number 295104)

The above information was taken from a leaflet on Steiner Waldorf Education, with permission from the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship

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