Founded in Germany after World War I as an educational movement for peace and well-being, Waldorf/Steiner schools represent the largest and fastest growing nonsectarian educational movement in the world, with over 1100 schools worldwide, on every continent and in over 60 nations.
Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is unique in its view on the needs of the growing child. Waldorf teachers offer a true “Renaissance education” by educating the whole child—the heart and the hands, as well as the head. The Waldorf curriculum is challenging, experiential, and comprehensive, structured to respond to the three developmental phases of childhood: from birth to approximately 6 or 7 years, from 7 to 14 years, and from 14 to 18 years.
Modern education tends to focus so intensely on acquiring information that it overlooks what a child needs in order to build a meaningful life. In addition to thoughtfully-presented academics, Waldorf teachers help children develop a positive emotional life (emotional health, aesthetics and social skills), a healthy will (confidence and the ability to get things done), and a strong inner compass that discerns right from wrong. In addition to providing children with information, critical thinking and skills that traditional schools provide, Waldorf education helps children to become well-rounded, imaginative and confident problem-solvers, with a deep sense of empathy and social responsibility.
Today there are more than 1100 Waldorf schools in 60 countries. Both classical and progressive, Waldorf education helps children become the people who are most needed for the future. As Waldorf nears its centennial anniversary, the founding ideals and methods are just as relevant today as when Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf School nearly 100 years ago.
Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
The work of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, is at the heart of Waldorf education. While not well-known in the United States, this respected Austrian scientist, philosopher and educator, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is one of the most-translated and widely-read visionaries in the world today. His work spanned the broadest range of topics, from meta-cognition, to spirituality and mind-body connections. What’s more, he translated his ideas into innovative and holistic approaches to academics, agriculture, theater, movement, science, architecture and medicine. Dr. Steiner was a true Renaissance man. His many contributions have been rediscovered and validated today by 21st century scientists and thinkers around the world who are adopting Waldorf education, biodynamic farming and more.