Waldorf Education


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The healthy social life is only found, when in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection and when in the community the virtue of each one is living.

A leading aspect of Waldorf Education is to address the child in its entirety and to educate the thinking, feeling and the doing aspects of the human being. An artistically enriched education allows for recognition of the individual and their creative niche. Various characteristics of Waldorf School life exist to give the teacher a clear picture of each child. A detailed history of each child is sought before they enter the school. The promotion of a co-operation ethic, amongst the school community, enhances the relationship between parent, teacher and child. Many strains are placed upon families today denying children and parents enough time spent together. Children increasingly suffer influences which create unnecessary insecurities that, in turn, affect their sound growth and development. Recognition of the modern family set-up leads us to seek new ways of imparting values, crucial to the life of the growing child, that are too often absent in today’s world.
Many parents who choose Waldorf Education for their children know very little about this pedagogy. We encourage parents to read up on this subject so that their understanding can compliment the work of the teachers, as well as their own understanding of their child/ren. Attending open days, school meetings, class meetings and enrichment courses is strongly recommended, as they contribute further to parental understanding of Waldorf education.

Founding Principles

In the beginning of the 20th century, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and founder of the Anthroposophical movement, gave a course of lectures and seminars to a group of teachers which has become the foundation for Waldorf teaching. Rudolf Steiner was a doctor and educator in the fields of economics, medicine, agriculture and science. He wrote some 30 books and delivered over 6000 lectures sharing his insights into the spiritual nature of the human being, the evolution of the world and humanity, methods of personal development, art and the implementation of his ideas into practical life. His writings upon which the Waldorf Education movement bases its methodology provides insight into what is required in the teaching of children to enable them to grow up to become strong, healthy and balanced individuals.
Waldorf education is based on the deep knowledge of how the physical, the soul and the spiritual aspect of a human being are woven together. It also emphasises how thinking, feeling and the ability to act (willing) need to be addressed in a balanced way in order to give the growing child the tools for clear thinking, harmonious feeling and positive deeds. Within the teaching, this expresses itself in the fact that all children are taught academic, artistic/musical and practical subjects throughout their whole school career, regardless of their abilities.

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This is a general guideline of the teaching curriculum based on the developing child. It is common practice for some teachers to introduce certain subjects at a slightly earlier or later stage, according to the maturity and needs of the class. In South Africa the Waldorf Schools strive to embrace local mythology and history, incorporating it into the curriculum.

Suggested Reading:

Available at Gaia Waldorf School:

Standing on the Brink: An Education for the 21st Century

Essays on Waldorf Education

Childhood, A Study of the Growing Child – Caroline von Heydebrand

Waldorf Education Theory and Practice – Richard Blunt

Education Towards Freedom, Rudolf Steiner Education

A Survey of the Work of Waldorf Schools throughout the World

Waldorf The Story behind the Name – Hansjörg Hofrichter

Education as an Art – Rudolf Steiner and other writers

Waldorf Education Rudolf Steiner’s Ideas in Practice – Christopher Clauder and Martyn Rawson

Rudolf Steiner Education, The Waldorf Impulse – L Francis Edmunds

Available at the Anthroposophical Society:

(18 Firfield Road, Plumstead, Phone: 021 761 9600)

Ready to Learn (from birth to school readiness) – Martyn Rawson and Michael Roase

The Well Balanced Child – Sally Goddard Blythe

The Incarnating Child – Joan Salter

School as a Journey – Torin Finser

The Way of a Child – AC Harwood

Rudolf Steiner Education – Francis Edmunds

What is a Waldorf Kindergarten? – Sharifa Oppenheimer

The Kingdom of Childhood – Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner – F. Carlgren

Other:

The First three years of a child – Karl Koenig