“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” (Carl Rogers)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Waldorf Steiner Schools

One of my BAPCA friends pointed me to this blog post about the Humanistic Movement in Education, in which the blogger speaks very warmly about their schooling in a Waldorf school from ages 6-11. New to me, Waldorf education is also known as Steiner education and is based on the educational philosophy of an Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. Steiner founded an entire (slightly inelegantly named) philosophy, anthroposophy, which considers spirituality and freedom and the nature of what it is to be human. Clearly, the philosophical basis of Steiner/Waldorf schools needs further exploration (I have real trouble with any imagined 'spirit' element in our lives, for example), however, the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship website says that:
The priority of the Steiner ethos is to provide an unhurried and creative learning environment where children can find the joy in learning and experience the richness of childhood rather than early specialisation or academic hot-housing. The curriculum itself is a flexible set of pedagogical guidelines, founded on Steiner's principles that take account of the whole child. It gives equal attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs of each pupil and is designed to work in harmony with the different phases of the child's development.

And the ex-Waldorf School blogger says: "Looking back at my time in a Waldorf school, I think it was a good and worthwhile experience. What the teachers in my following school noticed, in comparison to my fellow students, was my independence, confidence and creativity." What more do we need?

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