Waldorf education, also known as Steiner education, is based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. The first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. The first school based upon Steiner’s ideas was opened in 1919 in response to a request by Emil Preschool education notes classes, the owner and managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Stuttgart, Germany, to serve the children of employees of the factory.
This is the source of the name Waldorf, which is now trademarked in some countries in association with the method. The Stuttgart school grew rapidly and soon the majority of pupils were from families not connected directly with the company. Waldorf education became more widely known in Britain in 1922 through lectures Steiner gave on education at a conference at Oxford University. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Waldorf schools began to proliferate in Central and Eastern Europe.
Most recently, many schools have opened in Asia, especially in China. The structure of Waldorf education follows Steiner’s theory of child development, which divides childhood into three developmental stages, and describes learning strategies appropriate to each stage. Steiner’s educational ideas closely follow modern “common sense” educational theory, as this has developed since Comenius and Pestalozzi. The stated purpose of this approach is to awaken the “physical, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual” aspects of each individual, fostering creative as well as analytic thinking. A 2005 review found that Waldorf schools successfully develop “creative, social and other capabilities important in the holistic growth of the person”. Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book.
We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves. Waldorf pedagogical theory considers that during the first years of life children learn best by being immersed in an environment they can learn from through unselfconscious imitation of practical activities. The early childhood curriculum therefore centers on experiential education, allowing children to learn by example, and opportunities for imaginative play. Periods of outdoor recess are also usually included.