LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WALDORF METHOD

"A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living."

 

- Rudolf Steiner

WHAT IS THE WALDORF METHOD?

Waldorf education is a unique and distinctive form of education for children, practiced worldwide at Waldorf schools. Waldorf schools now form the largest independent school chain in the world, and probably the fastest growing in recent years. There is no centralized structure that “runs” all Waldorf schools in the world. Each is administered independently. But there are associations that provide resources, publish materials, sponsor conferences and promote movement. We are a family owned and operated business. There are currently more than 700 Waldorf Schools, spread across 32 countries. But the network of Waldorf Schools is one of the fastest growing today.

WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF THE WALDORF METHOD?

In 1919, in Stuttgart, Germany, Rudolf Steiner - Austrian philosopher, scientist and artist - was invited by Emil Molt, the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory, to a series of lectures for his factory workers. As a result, workers asked Steiner to found and run a school for his children. Emil Molt, supported and financed the implementation of the idea. Steiner agreed, but - to that end - placed 4 conditions: the first was that the school would be open, without distinction, for all children; the second that the school was co-educational; it should also be a school with a unified 12-year curriculum and, finally, that the school's teachers were also the school's directors and administrators.

HOW IS THE WALDORF METHOD DIFFERENT?

If it were possible to summarize in one sentence, we would say that "our highest commitment must be to develop human beings capable of, by themselves, give meaning and direction to their lives". The main goal of a Waldorf school is to develop the child's “head, heart and hands” through a curriculum that balances school activities. This curriculum includes music (recorder, contralto, orchestra and choir); arts (watercolor, carpentry, modeling and sculpture in clay, black and white drawing and perspective, photography, batik, stamping, mosaic, knitting, crochet, weaving and tapestry) in addition to materials such as: gardening, agricultural techniques and horticulture. Of this methodology, teachers seek to awaken the taste for learning, making it a non-competitive activity.

WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE WALDORF METHOD?

According to his philosophy, called Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner drew up a curriculum that had as a backdrop the phases of child development. He thought that the role of the School was to provide for the needs of children, and not to meet the needs imposed by a government or economic forces.

DOES IT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION?

Not in the way that a “religious” school is commonly understood. Although it has Christian foundations, no particular religious doctrine is defended or taught. Throughout the year, parties such as Easter, São João, São Micael, Christmas and Spring Week are celebrated. They mainly aim to awaken in the child values ​​and feelings of understanding, admiration and reverence for the beauty of life and nature. These and other parties, according to the thinking of Waldorf Education, serve to reconnect or connect humanity with the rhythms of nature and the cosmos. These festivals have origins in the oldest cultures, and are an art form, filled with the joy and enthusiasm of children, both in preparation and in celebration.

HOW DOES THE WALDORF METHOD DEAL WITH CHILDREN THAT HAVE LEARNING DIFFICULTIES?

Not in the way that a “religious” school is commonly understood. Although it has Christian foundations, no particular religious doctrine is defended or taught. Throughout the year, parties such as Easter, São João, São Micael, Christmas and Spring Week are celebrated. They mainly aim to awaken in the child values ​​and feelings of understanding, admiration and reverence for the beauty of life and nature. These and other parties, according to the thinking of Waldorf Education, serve to reconnect or connect humanity with the rhythms of nature and the cosmos. These festivals have origins in the oldest cultures, and are an art form, filled with the joy and enthusiasm of children, both in preparation and in celebration.

WHY DO THE WALDORF METHOD SCHOOLS RECOMMEND THAT CHILDREN WATCH LESS TV?

The reason for this has as much to do with the physical effects that TV can have on a developing child, as well as the content of most programs - including children's - presented on television. Waldorf education believes that TV can seriously hinder or impede the development of the child's imagination - and imagination, within the Waldorf view, is the primary faculty for healthy individual development. Likewise, the use of computers, especially video games, is not recommended for young children. It is important to say that Waldorf teachers are not alone in this questioning and stance. A series of articles, books and studies on the harmful effects of TV and the use of computers by children has been published in recent years.

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