What is Waldorf Education?

What is Waldorf Education?

Waldorf education is a vital, living approach to learning, rooted in a long tradition of honoring the stages of childhood.

Founded in 1919 by the Austrian philosopher, scientist and artist, Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf education has grown into a worldwide movement with over 1,000 independent schools in 87 countries.  The faculty of any Waldorf school holds ultimate responsibility for the curriculum and school governance.  As a result, every Waldorf school is uniquely shaped by the particular needs of its children, community and teachers.

Fundamental to all Waldorf schools, however, is the recognition that each human being is a unique individual who passes through distinct life stages and it is the responsibility of education to address the physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each developmental stage. The curriculum is designed to naturally complement these stages. In kindergarten, learning is experiential, with a focus on storytelling, songs, outdoor play, and free play with natural toys. As students enter the lower grades and begin to learn traditional subjects such as language arts and mathematics, the teaching methods rely on the concrete, hands-on techniques appropriate for younger children. In the upper grades, as students begin to develop individuality and critical thinking skills, the curriculum shifts again while building on the skills laid down in the early years.

Waldorf teachers receive specialized training in Waldorf philosophy and methodology at a number of training institutes and typically follow the same class through all eight years of school.  The relationship of the teacher with his or her class becomes so deeply founded that the teacher, through development of powers of observation, knows in any given moment what is needed for any particular child and the class as a whole.

Learning at Suncoast Waldorf School is an imaginative, enlivening and creative process.  By creating an environment that balances the academic, artistic and practical disciplines the school fosters a life-long love of learning, enables students to develop self-confidence, creative and critical thinking skills.  Our graduates have a sense of moral purpose and a sympathetic interest in the world and the lives of others.