We all know that Waldorf schools are not at all like other schools. Many of the schools are located on farms, deep in the heart of nature. Students there don’t just get used to the daily grind of poring over textbooks and stressing over exams. This is, in fact, true. But a Waldorf school is so much more than that. This type of education was pioneered by Rudolf Steiner in the early 20th century. Steiner was many things. Apart from being an educator, he was an artist, philosopher, scientist, and researcher. He believed in expanding students’ horizons to give them a more holistic education. Thus, he developed the educational philosophy of a Waldorf school.
In a Waldorf school, students gain more than just skills in literacy, arithmetic, memorization, and exam-taking. They take part in programs that specialize in wellness, lifestyle, caring for the natural world, and creativity. Even if distance learning has become the norm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Waldorf school is still rooted in the philosophy developed by Steiner.
An education from a Waldorf school is among the best decisions you and your kids can take before they go to college and enter the real world as young adults. These are the subjects that they will learn. All we’ll just need to do is fulfill the requirements for online senior high, and let the Waldorf teachers do their part.
Arts and Crafts
Every Waldorf school values many things. Among them is the arts. In regular schools, students can take part in art classes to explore their talents. But in a Waldorf school, students can devote more time and energy to their passion for the arts. They can work with the most experienced teachers to explore their talents in painting, sketching, or others and gain new skills to improve their craft.
More than that, though, a Waldorf school would also encourage students to explore other forms of art. They can practice modeling and sculpting using clay or other material. They can also try out other craft activities such as knitting, crocheting, and doing embroidery. These are activities that they can learn at home. But Waldorf schools encourage students to learn these activities to explore other avenues of art while also doing something practical such as creating their clothing.
In regular schools, students interested in drama, dance, or music can definitely pursue it. But they usually only can do so through clubs and other after-school activities. But in a Waldorf school, students can focus on their passions for performance art. And they can do so under the guidance of experienced teachers.
Performing as a form of self-expression has always been encouraged to students regardless of what grade they are in. But for the older students, especially those in high school, they can learn early on about great works such as the plays of William Shakespeare, the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, and the choreography of Martha Graham.
What truly sets Waldorf schools apart from regular schools is that they take practical activities very seriously. These practical activities include cleaning, cooking, farming, and tending to animals. Many parents find this odd and are even against it. After all, their children may already be learning these at home, or that they have hired help to do such things for them. But in a Waldorf school, such activities are part of the learning process. This is because the teachers believe that such activities would instill humility, discipline, and empathy in students.
More than that, students learn about farming and cooking to promote the value of health and wellness. Students in regular schools learn about health and nutrition inside classrooms, studying how to understand food labels. But in a Waldorf school, students will have a deeper understanding of their food when they prepare it themselves.
Science and Philosophy
Yes, the arts are at the heart of Waldorf education. But this doesn’t mean that students don’t learn about science anymore. After all, Steiner himself was also known as a scientist. Students learn the basics of biology, chemistry, physics, etc. But their approach to it is so much more than just memorizing terms and concepts, and getting used to problem-solving.
Instead, students gain a deeper understanding of science by looking at it through a philosophical and cultural lens. They try to understand the context and impact of scientific discoveries on societies.
When students get to college, they delve deeper into the academic field that they have chosen. They will be able to apply their skills in more practical activities such as performance arts and science experiments. But, in a Waldorf school, they can start early — thus, better preparing them for when they grow up.