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About Waldorf Education

What is Waldorf Education?

Lighthouse is not a Waldorf School however we are inspired and understand the the teaching methods developed by Steiner and we have made it our mission to integrate these methods into our Canadian based curriculum.

Waldorf teachers work to nurture and engage each child through a curriculum and methodology that integrates academics, arts, and practical skills.

Instead of having children in a desk all day learning different specific subjects, we prefer to have them up moving around, interacting with their surroundings. Learning through doing and experiencing, whilst still fulfilling curriculum requirements. We seek to integrate the subjects of English, geography, history and science into exciting projects for the children where they retain what they learn.

For example, if we wanted to learn about rock formations; we would integrate geography, where are these found, history, what people groups have lived around these formations, what did they eat, how long have they been there? We would learn about the different formations in their context with hands on projects, crafts and related computer work.

Early Childhood – Develop the limbs through doing

Young children from birth to age seven live primarily through their senses and learn best through imitation. Striving to be figures worthy of imitation, Waldorf early childhood educators nurture each child’s flowering, providing gentle, yet sensory rich environments and play-based activities that encourage the young child to investigate the natural world, explore social relationships, and expand imaginative capacities. These activities lay crucial foundations for intellectual, emotional, and physical development.

Middle Childhood – Develop the heart through imagination

Between the ages of seven and 14, children learn best through lessons that touch their feelings and enliven their creative forces. The Waldorf lower school curriculum is alive with fairy tales and fables, mythological sagas, and stirring biographies of historical figures. Waldorf elementary (or “class”) teachers integrate storytelling, drama, rhythmic movement, visual arts, and music into their daily work, weaving a tapestry of experience that brings each subject to life in the child’s thinking, feeling, and willing. Entrusted with the essential task of accompanying their students on a several year journey, Waldorf grades 1-8 teachers have a role analogous to that of effective parent, guiding the children’s formal academic learning while awakening their moral development and increasing their awareness of their place in the world.

Adolescence – Develop the mind through discernment of the world

Ages 14 to 21 marks the development of the independent intellect and, along with it, the ability to examine the world abstractly and exercise discernment, judgment, and critical thinking. Students in Waldorf high schools are given increasing autonomy over their education under the mentorship of teachers who are specialists in their fields.

The Benefits of Waldorf Education

Children enjoy an unhurried childhood

Visit a Waldorf school and watch the students at play. You’ll see children who delight in being allowed to live in the moment, who are free to explore nature and to go where their wide-eyed sense of wonder and imagination takes them. In our frenetic world, where pushing children to “hurry up or fall behind” has become the norm, Waldorf Education takes the point of view that childhood is something to be savored. By being free to develop according to their own natural rhythms, Waldorf-educated children enjoy full and rich childhoods, gaining the experiences they need to become healthy, self-actualised individuals.

Learning is hands-on and age-appropriate

You won’t find young children hovering around a computer in a Waldorf school classroom or missing a walk in the woods or a trip to the farm in order to sit and cram for a standardised test. In Waldorf Education, learning is an experiential activity. It’s not a matter of doing without certain experiences, it’s a matter of introducing children to each experience at the right time in their development. When it’s time to teach the merits, uses, and hows of technology, Waldorf school teachers do so. And the knowledge, self-awareness, and problem solving skills children develop through years of hands on inquiry is of far greater value to them as learners and as human beings than anything they could have picked up by sitting at a screen.

Indepth study enriches learning experiences

The advantages of block learning have long been recognized in Waldorf Education. In their daily morning (or “main”) lesson, Waldorf students from first through twelfth grade spend up to two hours concentrating on one subject which rotates every 3-4 weeks among the academic disciplines. Students have the chance to study each subject thoroughly and from a number of vantage points, which contributes to their enjoyment—and their understanding—of the subject matter.

Students learn how to take an active role in their own education

From discovering the alphabet in the first grade to discovering anatomy, algebra, and North American history in the eighth grade, and all the way up through their high school studies, Waldorf students take part in the learning process by creating their own textbooks beautifully drawn journals containing stories, essays, poems, maps, illustrations, lab descriptions, and math equations. Rather than relying on pre-digested material presented to them in conventional textbooks, the act of creating their “main lesson” books allows children to absorb the lessons their teachers bring them and to make learning their own.

Waldorf schools produce well-rounded individuals

Waldorf educators strive to bring out what lives in each student, but are careful not to over emphasise one trait or skill over another. All students study math and science and learn foreign languages; they all play an instrument and sing in the chorus; they all learn handwork and take movement classes and perform in the class play. The goal in Waldorf Education is to expose children to a wide range of experiences and to develop within them many interests and capabilities. This, in turn, leads to well-balanced young people with high levels of confidence in their ability to apply skills developed in one area to another, and the knowledge that they can master anything.

Waldorf educated individuals have a lifelong passion for learning

At a Waldorf school, education is not measured by competition and test scores, but is viewed as a life-long journey. And an educational approach that appropriately responds to a child’s natural interest in the world cannot help but result in an intrinsic desire to find out more.

The Central Role of a Teacher

While Waldorf Education places children at the heart of its pedagogy, Waldorf schools depend on the teacher as a fulcrum for the educational process. The individual who chooses to teach in a Waldorf school brings his or her full self to the development of others, providing mentoring, development, and affection that sustain the students for life.

“If someone wants to make a difference in the world, I can’t think of anything more relevant for our times than becoming a Waldorf teacher.”

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