Waldorf education offers a curriculum that follows a certain line that builds up over the years, from kindergarten, and afterwards from class one until class thirteen. As a child goes through different developmental stages, each one of these stages bring special developmental possibilities. Despite how diverse children are, their emotional and physical growth follows more or less the same general line.The teachers determine the stage of development of each child through observation and use that information to determine the child’s needs. Pedagogy is the art of recognition of a child’s hidden intentions and it is used to create an environment in which the child can develop optimally.
During the first seven years of the child’s life, development is concentrated around the physical body. A child learns to walk, speak, think, and control its body by refining the gross and fine motor skills. In the morning in a Waldorf kindergarten, the core element is free, unstructured imaginative play. The core element of the morning in a Waldorf kindergarten is free, unstructured imaginative play. By the time a child reaches the age of 6 or 7, the foundation of the physical development process has been laid.
During the second seven-year period (the primary and middle school years), social and emotional skills are starting to emerge. Teachers try to translate subject matter into something the children can grasp with their senses. Something they can see, feel, or hear. After that, the student’s basic cognitive skills automatically take over. This concerns reading, writing, arithmetic, language, geography and history.
As the child changes in these years, he or she will be able to express his or her emotions more clearly but also develop thinking and show will-power. Almost every child has the ability to think creatively in order to solve problems. The teacher tries to protect and nurture that ability.
In the final part of this phase, the child experiences the self and the environment through emotions. Teachers attempt to connect through this channel. They recognize and encourage their student’s interests and imagination and it is through that connection that creativity and discipline are cultivated.
In the third developmental phase (from the age of 14 until 21), analytical skills and abstract thinking are developed. Students learn to understand the world through thinking.
The Complete Person
At a Waldorf school each child is challenged on an intellectual, creative, artistic and social level at all stages of development. For this reason, we offer a wide range of subjects which every child can follow at their own individual level. When the teachers themselves develop lessons based on specific interests of their class, the children are more engaged and enthusiastic.
Processing of The Curriculum
Being motivated is an important and stimulating factor in learning. The teacher promotes this by encouraging students to question learning material and express their opinions. While processing what they have learned, the children connect with what they feel and how they want to put that into work. This requires concentration, dedication and the ability to empathise with others.
In Waldorf Schools teachers teach the same class for several years. This is also our aim at the International School. With this approach, a strong teacher-student bond is created, along with a true sense of community and responsibility.
Throughout the year we celebrate several festivals. These celebrations help us to reconnect with several aspects of life such as rebirth, courage and generosity. We also experience the passing of each season and this gives us a chance to show gratitude to what nature gives us. We celebrate these festivals together as a community and the children and parents all look forward to them like they are old friends that come by each 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.