For a more complete guide to Waldorf education, including a detailed discussion of the Waldorf philosophy and curriculum, read our Waldorf school guide.
There are many private Waldorf schools in Canada, including in Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Most of these are schools are at the preschool or elementary (or lower school) level. There are also Waldorf middle and high schools, though. All of these schools have an individualized curriculum. They also focus on more than just academics. They aim to educate the whole child: the intellectual, practical, and artistic sides of students.
Toronto Waldorf School (est. 1968)
Toronto Waldorf School offers a curriculum that integrates academics,arts & movement, and addresses the intellectual, physical, emotional & social aspects of child development. Preschool to gr. 12. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,000 to $21,000|
School Expo Exhibitor - Toronto
Waldorf Academy (est. 1987)
Waldorf Academy offers programs from childcare to grade eight in downtown Toronto. Its average class size is 18 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$5,040 to $19,950|
Dewey Institute (est. 2)
We uphold and pursue a pragmatic, balanced education with an emphasis on art, sports and music to cultivate talents to lead the new century. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,000 to $36,950|
Halton Waldorf School (est. 1984)
Halton Waldorf School in Burlington, Ontario offers a licensed preschool, kindergarten and grades 1 to 12. It’s average class size is 15 to 21 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$8,800 to $14,620|
School Expo Exhibitor - Halton-Peel
Private school expos are a great way to research and learn about a school. The Toronto private school expo is our biggest one: it allows you to speak with many schools, all in the same place. Our Ottawa private school expo is also well-attended and lively. Find a Waldorf school near you.
Another resource to help you in your school search is the Our Kids parent discussion forum. The forum is a great place to discuss private Waldorf schools with a community of parents, educators, and education experts.
Open houses are great venues for learning about schools and getting a feel for their environment. For general advice on open house visits, check out our guide on school visits. You can also read our guide to questions to ask private schools and private school interview questions.
The cost of Waldorf schools in Ontario is, on average, lower than the cost of other private schools in Ontario. It’s also on the lower side of private school tuition in general.
Keep in mind, many Ontario Waldorf schools offer needs-based financial aid, such as bursaries or tuition relief. Other schools offer scholarships, which are given based on merit. Learn more about needs- and merit-based financial aid in our guide to financial aid.
Below, you’ll find the range of costs for private Waldorf schools in Ontario (including schools in Toronto and Burlington):
|Tuition (day school)||Students receiving financial aid||Grade eligibility for financial aid||Avg. aid package size (annual)|
|$17,900 to $20,900||Preschool - 12|
|$17,700 to $19,150||20%||JK - 8||$9,000|
|$12,000 to $14,620||K - 12|
Average class size
Special needs support
|Waldorf||Standard-enriched||Supportive||12 to 25||Indirect Support||Light integration|
|Waldorf||Standard-enriched||Supportive||12 to 20||Resource Assistance||Light integration|
|Traditional||Waldorf||Standard-enriched||Supportive||12 to 17||Special needs school||Heavy integration|
|Waldorf||Standard-enriched||Supportive||15||No support||Light integration|
Waldorf education, introduced by Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th century, continues to grow in popularity. There are over 1,000 Waldorf schools in the world, including about 30 in Canada, and 10 in Ontario. These are sometimes referred to as "Steiner schools."
Below, we discuss some of the main features of a Waldorf education. Keep in mind, though, that schools vary in the way they implement the Waldorf approach, in Ontario and across Canada.
Waldorf schools have a student-centred approach. Teachers rarely give long lectures to students or try to impart knowledge to them through tests or assignments (at least before grade 6).
Instead, students, with the help of teachers, co-construct the Waldorf curriculum. This means students have plenty of flexibility to pursue their own projects and interests. That said, teachers follow a broad curriculum, and students must meet benchmarks (though benchmarks can be met in different ways by different students).
On the Waldorf approach, in Ontario and elsewhere, there's a huge focus on creativity. Students take many subjects focusing on creativity and the imagination. And we’re not just talking about art and music.
Waldorf students take poetry, drama, and creative writing. They also sometimes learn folk and fairy tales.
Students also are taught a number of fine and practical arts. These include painting, drawing, sculpting, knitting, and weaving. They also learn to play different musical instruments, including the recorder and pentatonic flute.
Moreover, music and the arts aren’t just taught on their own. They’re integrated throughout the curriculum. Lessons often start with a story, a song, music, drama, visual arts, or poetry. This is thought to engage students more in the material. It’s also thought to excite their passions and enliven their imaginations. And these aims are hallmarks of the Waldorf philosophy.
Learning is non-competitive. At least in Waldorf preschool and elementary school, students aren’t graded on tests or assignments. Letter grades are sometimes given in middle school and high school.
It’s believed that grades can be harmful to education. They can impede a student’s motivation and natural curiosity. They also can interfere with a student’s love of learning.
Instead, progress is assessed in other ways. Teachers review students’ portfolios of work developed over the school year. They discuss these portfolios with students and sometimes with parents at parent-teacher conferences. They also gauge academic progress and personal growth in other ways. For instance, they observe and reflect on how students focus, work, and interact in the Waldorf classroom.
Typically, teachers don’t use textbooks, even in the latter parts of elementary school. Instead, in some classes, each student has their own lesson book. These are books students use to write down their thoughts and experiences. In some Waldorf schools, more conventional textbooks may be used occasionally for some subjects, such as math or grammar.