I am absolutely confident that our daughter will be well prepared for her school years beyond Waldorf when the time comes. Waldorf tries to meet the child where they're at and build from there. It's a very nurturing approach to learning. The math program is very progressive and goes deeply into the subject matters before moving on vs. a typical approach of seeing a broad range of math topics with no depth or broader context. And the math program is meant to go hand in hand with a child's development and concepts that are emerging in a particular year. They inspire a love of reading by enchanting children with beautiful stories during main lessons in the morning. Each grade has a special theme. It ignites their passion for stories and the imagination. And the academics are well balanced with children's needs to play, move and recharge in nature.
The Waldorf/Steiner educational philosophy focuses on building inner capacities and nurturing curiosity and creativity, which is so important in the modern world. The academics approach is centred on the value of enquiry. Subjects such as mathematics, French and language arts are taught in an accessible way; emphasis is placed on ensuring children remain engaged and connected with the material they are learning. Our daughter has really thrived with this approach – she loves going to school every day and then coming home to share what she has learned!
The academic program is holistic. It aims to develop the whole child and, in doing so, goes well beyond traditional academics to include the creative, social, physical, and spiritual aspects of the children as well. To be clear, the academics is very strong and children go on to very successful careers in a wide array of disciplines. But they also learn how to develop as people, not just students. The kids in Grade 6, 7, and 8 can have a conversation with you as if you were talking to another adult. They are mature, self-confident but humble, and outward-focused. Children make their own textbooks, reinforcing their learning and allowing them to be creative in how to present the information. They build things, they use song and drama to bring concepts to life.
The academic program at Waldorf Academy is rooted in a deep understanding of child development and is enriched in music, theatre, and the arts. The latter subjects are not just taught separately by specialist teachers, they are also woven into all the core subjects including math, science, English, and French. This vitalizes the teaching of these subjects with imagination and creative energy. Before joining the school, I knew that Waldorf education was strong in the arts. Now that my son is traveling through grade school, I am pleased to see how rigorous the math and science curriculum is. Its both challenging and stimulating of deep thought. The academic culture that the school cultivates is a balanced one: math, music, theatre, language arts, visual art, outdoor education, handwork (including knitting, sewing, and woodworking), and emotional/interpersonal development are each given their place and importance. Teachers have a deep understanding of students and work with each one where they are in each subject. I know of several Waldorf Academy graduates that have gone on to excel in high school and university. I think the school well prepares its students for both their academic and professional careers. It also helps shape them into caring, responsible individuals with a life-long love of learning, and of the world.
Following the Waldorf philosophy, the curriculum is geared toward whole child development and follows the child's physical, emotional, and mental development. Though this can sound odd to those coming from a more traditional form of education, we can attest to the success of this in developing happy, healthy, and balanced children. At the same time, all educational requirements are met and surpassed by the end of grade 8. The students move on to a variety of high schools. The main lesson is an essential part of the curriculum. It is in this extended class that kids get to deeply explore a single topic, daily, over a month's period. The topics are varied from Geometry to Roman History. Children produce beautiful books of art, facts, and original works to solidify what they have learned. They produce a book rather than learning from one. My son is exceptionally proud of the main lesson books he has produced. Children also get to learn quality handwork, woodwork, outdoor education, physical and health education, math, and English studies. The grade 8 year has some very unique and valuable special projects. The first is a hero project. It culminates in a group presentation with each student highlighting their hero. The second is a year-long study of a topic of their choosing. It culminates in a presentation in front of a large portion of the student body, parent body, and Alumni. This intensive study sets them up well for what lies ahead in their educational journey.