An Introduction to Waldorf Education
So many questions lie at the heart of the education of a child:
* How can we help young people develop a lifelong enthusiasm for learning and work?
* Can the way in which the children are educated foster a healthy self-awareness and self esteem?
* Can it help them understand the needs of peoples of all cultures and the needs of the environment?
In education, Steiner recognised both physical development and the development of inner capacities – capacities of thinking, of feeling and the motivation and courage to face life tasks and questions. In a practical way, the schools work with these questions, recognising that it is necessary to bring together scientific subjects, the arts and humanities,, with an awareness of the inner spiritual development of the human being.
Rudolf Steiner, or ‘Waldorf’ kindergartens and schools are for both girls and boys. In kindergarten, in primary and secondary school, the curriculum subjects and themes and the way in which they are taught are planned to support the children on their journey through childhood towards adolescence and towards young adult life. Teachers strive to develop in themselves capacities to observe truthfully, work artistically and with imagination.
The Waldorf Curriculum starts with three years at the kindergarten laying the foundation, preparation and enthusiasm for the learning at school which are followed (ideally) by twelve years at school. Te Ra offers classes one to seven .
The classes of the primary school are named from one to seven. Children turning seven before October 1 will generally begin school together at the beginning of that year in Class One. Children with birthdays in September and October will be carefully assessed for school readiness. Class One is approximately equivalent to NZ State school’s Year 2, Class Two (Year 3); Class Three (Year 4), Class Four (Year 5), Class Five (Year 6); Class Six (Year 7) and Class Seven (Year 8).
Teachers in Te Ra Waldorf School strive to recognise and work with the unique individuality of each child, to foster their abilities and to help them to overcome their own difficulties. In a mixed ability class, children learn from each other’s contributions and the curriculum subjects offer great scope for extension of the individual child’s abilities.
The content of the curriculum given here is a guideline only. Teachers in each school must work with the underlying principles and the needs of the children themselves. The curriculum itself must be a dynamic entity. There are different questions in every country, different treasures in literature, arts and crafts, etc. Every school and every teacher confronts these questions anew.
Te Ra has it’s own Waldorf Curriculum which teachers follow from Class One to Class Seven. The curriculum acts as a guideline and a catalyst for each teacher to bring their own unique gifts to their class.