How Much Do You Know About Waldorf Education?

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the focus of Waldorf education?

What is the largest independent school movement in the world?

What is the theory of childhood development used in Waldorf education?

What is the approach to academic instruction in elementary education in Waldorf schools?

What is the view of Waldorf education on electronic media such as television and computers?

How are Waldorf students assessed?

What is included in the Waldorf curriculum?

What is the approach to science education in modern Waldorf schools?

What is a potential barrier to access for less well-off families in Waldorf schools?


Overview of Waldorf Education

  • Waldorf education is a holistic education philosophy based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy, intended to develop pupils' intellectual, artistic, and practical skills, with a focus on imagination and creativity.

  • It is the largest independent school movement in the world, with over 1,200 independent schools and nearly 2,000 kindergartens in 75 countries, and over 500 centers for special education in more than 40 countries.

  • Waldorf education has faced controversy and criticism due to Steiner's connections to racist ideology and magical thinking, as well as regulatory audits and closure due to concerns over substandard treatment of special needs children.

  • The first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany, serving children of all genders, abilities, and social classes.

  • Waldorf education follows a theory of childhood development devised by Rudolf Steiner, utilizing distinct learning strategies for each of three developmental stages or "epochs": early childhood, elementary, and secondary education.

  • In early childhood, young children learn best through immersion in un-selfconscious imitation of practical activities, with a focus on imaginative play.

  • In elementary education, academic instruction is presented through artistic work that includes story-telling, visual arts, drama, movement, music, and crafts.

  • In secondary education, pupils are asked to understand abstract material and expected to have sufficient foundation and maturity to form conclusions using their own judgment.

  • Waldorf education generally discourages pupils' use of electronic media such as television and computers.

  • Students are assessed through reports on individual academic progress and personal development, with standardized tests limited to what is required to enter post-secondary education.

  • Waldorf curriculum includes main academic subjects, as well as art, music, gardening, and mythology, with an emphasis on developing fine and practical arts skills.

  • Waldorf schools have a unique architecture, employing walls meeting at varied angles (not only perpendicularly) and often painted in subtle colors with a lazure technique.Overview of Waldorf education and its unique features

  • Waldorf schools incorporate unique subjects such as eurythmy, cooking, farming, and environmental and outdoor education into their curriculum.

  • The scientific methodology of modern Waldorf schools uses a phenomenological approach to science education, which has been criticized for failing to educate students on basic scientific facts.

  • Waldorf schools view computers as being useful only to children in the early teen years, after they have mastered fundamental ways of discovering information and learning.

  • Waldorf schools aim to educate children about a wide range of religious traditions without favoring any single tradition.

  • Waldorf teacher education programs offer courses in child development and Waldorf teaching methodology, including considerable artistic work in storytelling, movement, painting, music, and handwork.

  • Most Waldorf schools are self-governing and offer teachers a high degree of creative autonomy within the school, based on the conviction that a holistic approach to education can only be successful when based on a school form that expresses these same principles.

  • Waldorf-inspired home schools typically obtain their program information through informal parent groups, online, or by purchasing a curriculum.

  • Waldorf schools have been met with opposition due to vaccine hesitancy among parents and controversies around educational standards and the mystical and antiquated nature of some of Steiner's theories.

  • Waldorf-inspired public schools in the United States must demonstrate achievement on standardized tests in order to continue receiving public funding.

  • The first state-funded Steiner-Waldorf school in the United Kingdom opened in 2008, and several Waldorf schools in the UK have closed in the last decade due to their administrations' failure to adhere to state-mandated standards of education.

  • Australia, New Zealand, and Canada provide partial government funding for independent Steiner-Waldorf schools.

  • Waldorf schools in Russia offer classes for kindergarten and years 1 to 11 and are government-funded or privately funded.Overview of Waldorf Education

  • Waldorf schools aim to cultivate pupils' sense of social responsibility and build close learning communities.

  • Waldorf pupils have been found to be more engaged with social and moral questions than those from mainstream schools. They are more likely to demonstrate activism and self-confidence, and feel empowered to forge their own futures.

  • Waldorf schools seek to provide transformative learning experiences, which can lead to increased awareness of individual paths. However, there is a risk of becoming exclusive.

  • Waldorf schools charge tuition fees, which may act as a barrier to access for less well-off families. They have attempted to improve access by charging lower fees, offering a sliding scale, or seeking state support.

  • Waldorf schools have linked polarized communities in a variety of settings. 24 Waldorf schools in 15 countries were members of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network in 2008.

  • Studies have found that Waldorf education encourages academic achievement and the development of creative, social, and other capabilities important for holistic growth.

  • Waldorf students are more enthusiastic about learning, report having more fun, and have more positive views of the future than state school pupils. They also have good relationships with teachers and report fewer ailments.

  • Waldorf education has been studied as an example of educational neuroscience ideas in practice.

  • Waldorf education has been subject to controversy regarding vaccine beliefs and race. Waldorf schools have been shown to have a high rate of vaccine exemption, and Steiner's views on race have been criticized as contradictory. Some Waldorf schools have been accused of racist attitudes and behaviour.


Test your knowledge on the unique and controversial philosophy of Waldorf education with this quiz! Explore the history and development of Waldorf schools, as well as the curriculum and teaching methods utilized in this holistic approach to education. Discover the controversies and criticisms surrounding Waldorf education, including vaccine hesitancy and accusations of racism. This quiz will challenge your understanding of this alternative education philosophy and its impact on students' intellectual, artistic, and practical skills.

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