What is Waldorf Education?

Waldorf education is a fully integrated and holistic education which teaches to the whole human being; head, heart, and hands, and embraces, honors, and celebrates our social and cultural diversity.

It is one of the fastest growing independent school movements in the world with over 1100 schools in over 75 countries, more than 2000 early childhood programs on six continents, and over 600 institutions for curative education.

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early childhood programs
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Waldorf education recognizes that human capacities unfold in three distinct developmental stages; early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. While there can be some minor variation in the timing of these phases, they roughly correspond to the first three seven year cycles of life.

Early childhood is the time from birth to approximately age 7 and the change of teeth. Middle childhood encompasses the grade school years from 7 to 14 and is a time of tremendous growth and changes in the child’s physical body as well as in their consciousness. One might say this is the heart of childhood. Adolescence has its earliest beginnings with the start of puberty but does not reach its fullest expression until the third seven year cycle of ages 14-21.

This is not a fixed or rigid timetable and there is some overlapping and variation with different individuals. Within each of these periods, there are highly predictable and recurring patterns in the child’s physical growth and soul development which is reflected in their mood, personal needs, and of course, their changing capacities for learning, comprehending, and working. Waldorf education honors these stages of human development to encourage healthy growth and maintain a truthfulness to the emerging individual.

The Curriculum

Waldorf’s richly diverse and varied curriculum includes a thorough immersion in a wide variety of artistic disciplines as well as rigorous academic work according to the age of the child. This fully integrated approach to education engages the whole child, head, heart, and hands, in a host of age appropriate ways.

Our mission is to teach to the whole human being and promote human development, not simply brain development. Mainstream systems of education teach primarily to the head encouraging and rewarding only the accumulation of factual data and one’s ability to meet the demands of a test. Waldorf education of course develops intellectual capacities but also embraces the qualitative aspects of our being, recognizing that much of our humanness cannot be reduced to quantifiable data. Virtues such as beauty, love, or truth cannot be translated into numbers that fit onto a spread sheet and while our intellectual capacities are of great importance, there is much more to being a human being than brain activity.

All children grow according to predictable phases of development and in Waldorf education we work with these natural phases, maximizing the learning process, allowing for the healthy unfolding of childhood and growth into young adulthood.

Grade by grade, year by year, the curriculum meets the changing consciousness of the child, increasing in complexity and depth with each step, resulting in students who are self confident, self motivated, and fully capable of meeting the diverse challenges of a fast paced world.

Rudolf Steiner (1865-1925) was a highly respected scientific, literary, and philosophical thinker and scholar, well known for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings and as a progressive innovator. Founded on his insights, Waldorf schools teach out of a curriculum based on the fundamental truth that human beings are three fold in nature, comprising of body, soul, and spirit.

He developed methodical methods of research into psychological and spiritual phenomena and in 1913 founded the anthroposophical movement. Anthroposophy, literally meaning the wisdom of man, has at it’s core the social and cultural renewal of man and society as a whole. Steiner’s innovative and insightful research led to achievements in education, (including education of children with special needs), medicine, science, history, religion, philosophy, economics, agriculture, architecture, visual arts, drama, the new art of eurythmy, and other fields.

Most prominent and perhaps the most well known of his achievements is the development of Waldorf education and it’s comprehensive curriculum. One of his supporters was the industrialist, Emil Molt who invited Steiner to form a new school for the children of his workers at the Waldorf-Astoria factory. In the fall of 1919, less than a year after the end of World War I, the first Waldorf school opened it’s doors in Stuttgart, Germany. Within a few years, other schools opened elsewhere in Germany and in other countries such as Switzerland, Holland, Britain, Scandinavia, and the United States. The rapidly growing movement suffered set backs in the 1930’s when the Nazis closed all Waldorf schools in Germany but in 1945 with the end of WWII, many schools reopened. The rapid growth of schools continues to this day, serving the needs of children from ages 3 to 18 in all corners of the globe.

Dear Parents,

We hope you and your family are safe and healthy as you read this letter.  Thank you for your patience and understanding, as we have been adjusting, like you, to the drastic changes in life and work responsibilities during the last few weeks. We are extremely appreciative of our students, parents, teachers, staff, and administrators for their positivity, flexibility and resilience during these trying times. Although none of us have experienced a pandemic before, we all have to be together, understanding the situation we are in, and limiting our expectations during this challenging phase.

As we miss all of students, distance learning for Prerana Waldorf School is in full motion. We are concerned for our students’ health and well-being, as well as their families.

Our goal is to provide continuous educational opportunities and practice for students while schools are closed but also to eliminate as much stress as feasibly possible for students, parents, and teachers.
Our teachers and our staff are working long hours from home while dealing with their new, but temporary, normal.
While it is our responsibility to continue to help our children learn, we also want to compassionately take into consideration the variety of difficulties that our families and staff  are enduring during this time. We also ask for your patience and understanding as we travel this new territory, too.

Thank you for the photos, the appreciation, and the helpful feedback. Your positive responses are affirming the truly amazing work our faculty is doing to translate their teaching expertise into effective distance learning.  We appreciate you as well for doing your best to carve out space and time in your work and home life to support your children’s learning.

From 17th April 2020 for classes I to X and from 24th April 2020 for class XII scheduled summer vacation is starting, and when school resumes on 11th June for classes I to XII, and on 18th June for Nursery and Kindergarten, hopefully, life will get back to normal, eventually.
After this experience is over, our lives will include more appreciation of our blessings and our freedoms.  “This is not a time for us to panic. This is a time for us to come together.”
A huge debt of gratitude also goes to all of our doctors, nurses, hospital employees, first responders, the state Police and our state leaders for all they are doing to keep us safe and healthy.

Stay at home, stay safe!

Prerana Waldorf School