Waldorf Education: Is it Right for You?

by JAMIE MARTIN on APRIL 16, 2010 from Simple Homeschool

Overview:  Waldorf education began in Germany in the early 1900′s. Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, had written about three distinct phases of childhood development. He believed a healthy education should have these phases as its foundation.

Currently there are over 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide, and many homeschooling families gain inspiration from Steiner’s ideas.

Waldorf educators seek to expose children to a wide variety of subjects and interests. There’s a determined effort to avoid gender stereotypes as well as a focus on setting the child up for success by introducing effective routines and habits. The goal is to provide a well-rounded education to aid the child’s development.

Three phases of childhood development provide the foundation to the Waldorf method.

To learn more and read the full post, visit here.

Further Reading (a list by Jamie which I highly recommend as well!):

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My journey into Waldorf Education

I was first introduced to Waldorf Education when I went to graduate school at Fordham University from 2003-2005 through the Teach for America program I was a part of at the time.  We did not actually study this philosophy of education nor were there any classes offered on it, but I heard of it for the first time while pursuing a Master’s degree there and it stuck in my mind.

It wasn’t until 2005 when my husband and I moved to Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico that I learned first-hand what Waldorf was all about.  I attended a music workshop at the Colegio Yeccan Waldorf and fell in love with the method and practice of this realm of education.  I also met a parent of a Waldorf student while taking an abstract painting class at the Casa Museo Gene Byron and she was the one who first introduced me to the school in Guanajuato.  My husband and I had the privilege of attending the Colegio’s annual Elves’ Faire and ever since then, I have read about and researched the Waldorf philosophy on my own.

Upon moving to Nashville, TN in August of 2009, I discovered that the only Waldorf school in the state is right here in Nashville so by January of 2010, I had arranged to attend a “Windows on Waldorf” tour whereby I got to see classes in action, the learning community, and had the wonderful opportunity to ask many questions of the Enrollment Coordinator.

Since that tour, I have read many Waldorf resources which I would like to share here.  These are absolute must-reads for anybody interested in Waldorf Education, as well as raising children in a peaceful, nurturing environment that fosters a love for nature, art, and one another.

Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash, 2002

Waldorf Education: Schools for the Twenty-First Century by Eugene Schwartz, 2000

The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book, Lisa Hildreth

Creative Play for Your Infant / Toddler by Christopher Clouder and Janni Nicol

The Waldorf Cookbook by Kelly Sundstrom

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six by Rahima Baldwin Dancy, 2000

“The Wisdom of Waldorf” article reprinted from Mothering, Issue #123 March/April 2004

“Waldorf Education…An Introduction” by Henry Barnes

“The Case for Working with Your Hands” by Matthew B. Crawford, The New York Times, May 24, 2009

“Let the Children Play (Some More) by Stuart Brown, The New York Times “Happy Days: The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times,” September 2, 2009

American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Play

“The New Untouchables,” by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, October 21, 2009

“Pressure-cooker kindergarten” by Patti Hartigan, boston.com, August 30, 2009

Current reads I am still savoring:

Waldorf Education: A Family Guide by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen L. Rivers, 1995

Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer, 2006

Oak Meadow Waldorf Resources

A book on my “to buy” list:

Seasonal nature tables are an invaluable way of making young children aware of the changing cycle of the year. With simple materials and basic knitting and crocheting skills, a series of colorful and effective tableaux can be made at home or in school for depicting the seasons and major festivals. Illustrated, with many in full color.

The Nature Corner