Waldorf Education is a worldwide independent school movement developed in Europe nearly 100 years ago by Austrian philosopher, social reformer, and visionary, Rudolf Steiner. Today, Waldorf Education is represented across the globe, with about 1000 schools and nearly 2000 early childhood programs in over 60 countries.
In Waldorf Education, the learning process is essentially threefold, engaging head, heart, and hands — or thinking, feeling, and doing. This is the basis out of which Waldorf teachers work to nurture and engage each child through a curriculum and methodology that integrates academics, arts, and practical skills.
Although Waldorf Education has been available in the U.S. since 1928, with the founding of the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City, it has never been as well-known here as in Europe. But the Waldorf approach offers an alternative to many of the concerns parents and educators may have with current mainstream educational practices:, including high-stakes testing decreasing opportunity for experiences with art and nature, and reliance on technology for use by students at an increasingly younger age.
Waldorf education strives to support the development of a child's intellectual capacities in developmentally appropriate ways.
Waldorf education integrates art throughout all subjects, allowing each child to develop his or her unique voice.
Waldorf education prepares children to be active participants in the world around them.
What is Waldorf Education?
The original Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany.
The first Waldorf school was begun by Rudolf Steiner in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. An Austrian scientist and philosopher, Steiner described his collected teachings as “the knowledge of the true nature of the human being.”
After much of the world had experienced the devastation of World War I, he founded the first Waldorf School in response to a question put to him by benefactor Emil Molt: “Is there a way to educate children that will help them develop into human beings who will be capable of bringing peace to the world?”
Being a Part of the International Waldorf Community
The year 2019 marked the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Waldorf Education in Stuttgart, Germany. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and almost 2,000 Waldorf kindergartens in 80 countries around the globe.