What is Waldorf Education?
Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on a developmental approach that addresses the needs of the growing child and maturing adolescent. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education in to an art that educates the whole child—the heart and the hands, as well as the head.
The Curriculum in a Waldorf school
The goal of Waldorf Education and the curriculum at Kimberton Waldorf School is to give our students the opportunities and training to become independent, creative thinkers who have the ability to put their ideas into action. An education that asks students to develop the capacities for collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem solving is an education that prepares students for a future that none of us can predict. What we do know about the future is that it is requiring us to be flexible, adaptive, creative, and collaborative. At Kimberton Waldorf School, our emphasis is on giving our students a wide range of experiences in related and divergent fields through a multi-modality, interdisciplinary approach that encourages students to learn to think for themselves, work with others, and be creative, giving them the tools that they will need to navigate an unfolding future.
Preschool and Kindergarten
Preschool and Kindergarten children learn primarily through imitation and imagination. The goal of the kindergarten is to develop a sense of wonder in the young child and reverence for all living things. This creates an eagerness for the academics that follow in the grades. Preschool and Kindergarten activities include:
- storytelling, puppetry, creative play
- singing, eurythmy (movement)
- games and finger plays
- painting, drawing and beeswax modeling
- baking and cooking, nature walks, circle time for festival and seasonal celebrations
Elementary and Middle-School
Elementary and middle-school children learn through the guidance of a class teacher who stays with the class for a number of years. The curriculum includes:
- english based on world literature, mythology, and legends
- history that is chronological and inclusive of the world’s great civilizations
- science that surveys geography, astronomy, meteorology, physical and life sciences
- mathematics that develops competence in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry
- foreign languages; physical education and sports; gardening
- arts including music, painting, drawing, sculpture, drama, eurythmy,
- practical arts such as knitting, sewing and fiber arts, woodworking, and metal-smithing.
The Waldorf high school is dedicated to helping students develop their full potential as scholars, artists, athletes, and community members. The course of study includes:
- a humanities curriculum that integrates history, literature, and knowledge of world cultures
- a science curriculum that includes physics, biology, chemistry, geology, and a four-year college preparatory mathematics program
- an arts and crafts program that includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and practical arts such as woodworking, blacksmithing, and fiber arts
- a performing arts program offering orchestra, choir, eurythmy and drama
- a foreign language program and study abroad
- internships and practicums
- a sports program
Kimberton Waldorf School Philosophy
Kimberton Waldorf School offers a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to education. We integrate the arts and academics for children from preschool through twelfth grade, seeking to inspire a lifelong love of learning in all students and to enable each to fully develop his or her unique capacities.
The teachers at Kimberton Waldorf School are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and rewards to motivate learning and allows motivation to arise from within. It helps engender the capacity for joyful life-long learning. Our teachers know that the best way to give meaningful support to the child is to understand these phases fully and to provide “age-appropriate” content that nourishes healthy growth for the Waldorf student. Science, mathematics, music, dance and theater, history, writing, literature, legends, and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced.
Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational. They educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all the world cultures and religions.
For more background information about Waldorf Education, please visit the website for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
According to a recent study of Waldorf graduates:
- 94% attended college or university
- 47% chose humanities or arts as a major
- 42% chose sciences or math as a major
- 89% are highly satisfied in choice of occupation
- 91% are active in lifelong education
- 92% placed a high value on critical thinking
- 90% highly values tolerance of other viewpoints