Waldorf School Education - Learning the System
By Andrew Loh
Teachers who teach their children with Waldorf education system try hard to
generate a deep motivation or enthusiasm for dedicated learning from
within your children. Waldorf teachers use a number of methods to
achieve these goals. One of the most beneficial methods of teaching
is to make the most boring subjects lively, interesting, interactive
and dynamic. A pictorial and demonstrative type of teaching will
help reach their goals. Most traditional schools always rely on
periodical competitive testing, academic placement and behavioral
studies to make children comprehend lessons. However, Waldorf system
avoids all these perceived pitfalls and weaknesses. On the other
hand, this system allows children to enhance their motivational
levels to increase the capacity for learning.
The Waldorf curriculum is very broad, comprehensive, result
oriented, thematic and well structured to react and respond to three
main developmental phases of children. These three phases are:
6 or 7 years,
From 7 to 14 years and
From 14 to 18 years
Rudolf Steiner believed that the teachers should learn and
understand these three age levels fully and later bring "age
appropriate" curriculum content to the children that have the
ability to develop and nourish healthy mental growth.
For example, pre-class children will have a number of colorful,
fairy stories that match the dreamy or hidden state of
self-consciousness. On the other hand, growing children in a class 4
classroom will study an interesting historical event to match their
curiosity and enthusiasm of the age. Class 7 children may learn
something that helps them develop their intellect and smartness. All
these methods are age appropriate and they relate to the different
stages of mental and brain development.
Most of the subjects related to arts, craft, history, science, math
and geography would have about three to four hours of teaching every
day. Each topic will last for about four to five weeks. It looks as
if the whole system relies on a spiral model, where you will be
coming back to the previous lesson to refresh and revitalize the
learning process. However, each instance of these perceived
"re-visits" would help the children have greater depth of
understanding and enhance a keenness to study more.
A typical lower school subject pattern may look like:
Primary grade (age up to 7 years): This is the most sensitive
age for children. At this age, children tend to develop their brain
very quickly by trying to understand the subjects in a rapid manner
though at a rudimentary level. Some of the subjects are:
Pictorial and thematic introduction to more common subjects like
alphabets, writing, spelling, drama, arts and poetry.
Folk tales, historical and mythical stories narrated in a dancing
and musical form.
Basic mathematical lessons by using colorful tables, models, and
Home building, practical gardening by using different tools and
nature stories that involve trees, plants, animals, birds and soil.
Outcome: This will help your children to develop an
enthusiasm for learning their lessons at a future stage. When your
children develop an interest at an early age, they will be too keen
to attend their classes with rapt attention.
Middle grade (age from 7 to 14 years): This stage is the
formative age bracket for all children. Brain develops at a quicker
pace with a perceptible enhancement in cognitive and other sensitive
skills. They will also try to learn their lessons with a purpose.
Teaching how to write, read and spell will help the children to
streamline their learning process towards absorbing the very essence
of all lessons.
Advanced history lessons can include illustrated and graphical
images and pictures.
At this age bracket, the children will need to learn the basics of
math like fractions, percentages, and geometry.
Lessons about nature that includes elementary zoology, botany,
chemistry, and basic physics
Outcome: This is a very critical phase in the
child's young life. Most children develop their level of intellect
and smartness in a remarkable manner. Children in this age tend to
relate their lessons with the experiences they accumulate in their
Teaching methods always involve making children enhance their
motivational levels. For example, the children may develop an urge
to answer questions posed by their teachers. Learning may also
include an interactive discussion along with a session of questions
The main goals of Waldorf system of education are:
Working with children first by creating a cozy, warm, hospitable,
loving and affectionate ambience or environment that is both
protective as well as secure.
Teaching children how to imitate the various activities taught in
Enhance children's power imagination relating to the age.
Encouraging free play and dynamic activities.
Fantasy play that involves acting scenarios by imitating the action.
Using environmental or natural toys to help children understand the
essence of nature.
Learning sequencing, sensory integration, eye-hand coordination,
muscle skills and tracking natural events that occur around
In essence, Waldorf system of education plans to educate a wholesome
child by training "head, heart and hands". Many
schools in the world are trying to adapt to the dynamics of Waldorf
education system, so that they can create wonderful human beings, who are
capable of performing to the best of their abilities both in the
classroom and out of it. [Click to find Waldorf
Introduction to Steiner Education: The Waldorf School
By Francis Edmunds
Rudolf Steiner's educational system, long established and
respected on the European continent, is gradually spreading
around the world. Its radical principles, based on a view of
the human being as composed of body, soul, and spirit,
allows for a truly holistic and balanced education that
nourishes the whole child. The author explains, in a clear
and lively style, many aspects of Steiner's educational
theories, especially the three stages of child development
and how the Waldorf curriculum provides a healthy
understanding, nurturing, and support for these phases.
This is an excellent introduction to the theory and practice
of Steiner/Waldorf education, whether for teachers or anyone
who would like to know more about Steiner's ideas. It is
especially useful for parents who are looking for a holistic
education for their children.