Waldorf schools, like any other school - private or public - educate and socialize children while they are in their formative years to become an individual healthily functioning within society. Unfortunately, many typical educational institutions focus solely on academic improvement and disregard the development of other aspects of a child's makeup. Waldorf schools take an alternative view of children's development.
Waldorf schools have produced many grads out to change the world, like Charlotte Jacklein.
With over 800 Waldorf schools throughout the world, thousands of children have benefited from Waldorf education since the first school opened its doors in 1919. Based on teaching principles put forth by scientist Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf schools focus on the development of the child as a whole. Learning is through a series of unique activities that target the advancement of mind, body, and soul in whatever academic and non-academic subject taught.
Waldorf schools are unlike any other private or independent school for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school levels. In each grade, teachers instill a sense of enthusiasm for learning, allowing students to initiate and achieve greater success in their education. To facilitate the learning process, teachers use the most suitable techniques in their repertoire that consider the age of their students' physical and mental being. For example, elementary students at Waldorf Schools aged 7 to approximately 14 years old learn through artistic mediums such as drawing. Once they reach high school, the focus shifts to more direct intellectual stimulation.
A Waldorf Schools Q & A with Ryan Lindsay
Waldorf schools embrace a holistic approach to education that immerses students in practical, hands-on, multi-dimensional learning activities that engage their bodies, brains and emotions.
Q: What are the unique features of a Waldorf school?
A: We work in more subtle ways than other schools with more hands-on activity. A lot of time is spent away from desks, with children using their hands and bodies in learning activities. We see children as multi-faceted, and the more engaged the body is in hands-on activity, the more engaged the brain is. It also helps build their self-confidence, because rather than just learning off a blackboard or writing tests, they are constantly accomplishing tasks, which is more tangible and rewarding. We also have integrated academics, so that students use what they learn from a variety of different subject areas to complete practical projects.
Q: What are the unique benefits of a Waldorf school
A: At Waldorf Schools, 95 per cent of our graduates go to university, and 50 per cent get a master's degree or PhD, so the first thing I tell parents is that it works. Also, the No. 1 factor in the successful education of a child is parental involvement, and our schools heavily emphasize a strong involvement by a child's family, which makes all the difference.
Q: Is Waldorf school a good fit for my child?
A: Parents need to see for themselves what Waldorf is all about and how it promotes the development and self-esteem of children. Children are fully immersed in learning in a holistic way, and we don't have to give them a gold star or tell them they've done a good job when they achieve something, because they experience that satisfaction directly through learning that is fun, engaging and practical.
- Ryan Lindsay is
President of the Waldorf School Association of Ontario
Click on each of the Waldorf schools below to learn much more.