6 resources for teachers, students, and families to support instruction in the classroom and at home. Take a the first school education of children tour of a Houghton Mifflin program.
Every day we work hand in hand with parents, teachers, educators and community members to improve Florida’s education system for students of all backgrounds and abilities. Our new site reflects this cooperative relationship and the role that so many Floridians play in ensuring student success. Find Yourself in a Book Contest. All rights reserved to Florida Dept. 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 Molt, 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. The classroom is intended to resemble a home, with tools and toys usually sourced from simple, natural materials that lend themselves to imaginative play. Pre-school and kindergarten programs generally include seasonal festivals drawn from a variety of traditions, with attention placed on the traditions brought forth from the community. Waldorf kindergarten and lower grades generally discourage pupils’ use of electronic media such as television and computers. Waldorf pedagogues consider that readiness for formal learning depends upon increased independence of character, temperament, habits, and memory, one of the markers of which is the loss of the baby teeth.
Formal instruction in reading, writing, and other academic disciplines are therefore not introduced until students enter the elementary school, when pupils are around seven years of age. In order that students can connect more deeply with the subject matter, academic instruction is presented through artistic work that includes story-telling, visual arts, drama, movement, vocal and instrumental music, and crafts. This typically begins with introductory activities that may include singing, instrumental music, and recitations of poetry, generally including a verse written by Steiner for the start of a school day. Elementary school educators’ stated task is to present a role model children will naturally want to follow, gaining authority through fostering rapport and “nurturing curiosity, imagination, and creativity”. The declared goal of this second stage is to “imbue children with a sense that the world is beautiful”. Waldorf elementary education allows for individual variations in the pace of learning, based upon the expectation that a child will grasp a concept or achieve a skill when he or she is ready.
Each class normally remains together as a cohort throughout their years, developing as a quasi-familial social group whose members know each other quite deeply. In the elementary years, a core teacher teaches the primary academic subjects. While class teachers serve a valuable role as personal mentors, establishing “lasting relationships with pupils”, especially in the early years, Ullrich documented problems when the same class teacher continues into the middle school years. Steiner considered children’s cognitive, emotional and behavioral development to be interlinked.