The Waldorf education developed by Rudolph Steiner based on a unique idea that aspires to develop a child as a whole person by educating not only the head, but the hands and heart as well. Over 900 schools presently use the Waldorf method, making it the largest independent education movement within the US and some parts of Europe.
Waldorf education lies in the theory that children discover different things best during specific stages of development, at a time when the information given to them are in tune with their intellectual level, spirituality and physical capabilities. They differ from traditional kindergartens in the United States in the sense that reading is not taught to Waldorf kindergarteners. As an alternative, they are taught poetry, folk lore and stories that are the basis for acquiring reading skills based on Waldorf philosophy. Children below seven years old are not educated on the written language. As the children develop to adolescents, they are exposed to the history of Ancient Greeks and Romans since it is believed that adolescents face extreme inner struggle and turmoil. The theme of Greeks and Romans is in accordance with the changes that adolescents usually undergo.
The Waldorf education is highly responsive towards the different developmental needs of a child at specific ages. There is equal emphasis concerning the subjects of music and the arts, foreign languages and academics compared to traditional education’s primary focus on academics.
Most importantly, Waldorf education stresses on non-competition and a great respect for other people and even nature. Developing one’s creativity to its fullest and to believe in themselves is strongly encouraged among children. The Waldorf education shares a strong belief that children require adequate time to play and move around. Every morning, the children practice eurhythmy, or moving while reciting a verse.
Graduates from Waldorf schools usually excel compared to students from traditional schools when it comes to standardized tests. The reason behind this is that Waldorf students focus on one particular lesson for as long as five weeks. They study subjects not just traditionally but also touching on other critical angles like its philosophical value and social consequences.
Prominent sociologists and psychologists like Jean Piget highly respected the philosophy behind the Waldorf education in such a way that he incorporated these methods into his works on child development. Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Kenneth Chenault and Julianna Marguiles are among the renowned graduates of Waldorf schools.