Principles of Waldorf Education

Waldorf education explained in 4 minutes

Waldorf Education offers a curriculum that follows a certain line that is built up over the years, starting from Kindergarten and then from the first class to the thirteenth class. As a child passes through different development stages, each of these phases brings special development possibilities. Despite how diverse children are, their emotional and physical growth follows more or less the same overall line. The teachers determine the development phase of each child by observation and use that information to determine the needs of the child. Pedagogy is the art of recognizing achild’s hidden intentions and it is used to create an environment in which the child can developoptimally.

Development phases

During the first seven years of the child’s life, the development is concentrated around the physical body. A child teaches his body to walk, to speak, to think and to control by refining the coarse and fine motor skills. The core element of the morning in a Waldorf kindergarten is a free, unstructured and imaginative game. By the time a child reaches the age of 6 or 7, the basis is laid for the physical development process.

During the second seven-year period (primary and secondary education), social and emotional skills begin to develop. Teachers try to translate the subject into something that the children can understand with their senses. Something they can see, feel or hear. Afterwards, the basic cognitive skills of the student automatically take the hand. This concerns reading, writing, arithmetic, language, geography and history.

As the child changes in these years, he or she can express his or her emotions more clearly, but also develop thinking and show willpower. Almost every child has the ability to think creatively to solve problems. The teacher tries to protect and nurture that skill.

In the last part of this phase, the child experiences the self and the environment through emotions. Teachers try to connect through this channel. They recognize and encourage the interests and imagination of their students and it is through that connection that creativity and discipline are cultivated.

In the third development phase (from 14 to 21 years) analytical skills and abstract thinking are developed. Students learn to understand the world by thinking.

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The Complete Person

Waldorf Education challenges every child on intellectual, creative, artistic and social levels at all stages of development. For this reason we offer a wide range of subjects that each child can follow at their own level. When the teachers themselves develop lessons based on specific interests of their class, the children are more involved and enthusiastic.

Curriculum processing

Being motivated is a key and stimulating factor in learning. The teacher promotes this by encouraging students to question learning materials and express their opinions. While processing what they have learned, the children connect with what they feel and how they want to put it on their work. This requires concentration, dedication and ability to live in others.

Social Education

In Waldorf Schools teachers teach the same classroom for several years. This is also our goal at the International school. This approach creates a strong bond between teacher and student, together with a real sense of community and responsibility.

Annual Celebrations

Throughout the year we celebrate several festivals. These celebrations help us to reconnect with different aspects of life, such as rebirth, courage and generosity. We also experience the death of every season and this gives us a chance to show gratitude for what nature gives us. We celebrate these festivals together as a community, and the children and parents all look forward to them as if they were old friends who come along every year.

In a nutshell: Head, Heart & Hands

We stimulate each child to develop their Head (cognition), Heart (social & emotional endowments) and Hands (physical skills and perseverance) in a balanced and age-appropriate way.

As a consequence, our primary school curriculum is less focused on the cognitive development than many other schools.

Even so, Waldorf schools meet Dutch primary educational standards. They even try to set their own standards higher than is required by law, by wanting to offer education that supports a healthy durable development in children that will last a life time.

Want to see more? This 15 minute video from Marin Waldorf School in the USA gives a wonderful overview of the why, how and what our education.

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