When Waldorf teachers say their curriculum is developmentally appropriate they mean it! But Waldorf educators understand child development in a unique way. Child development in the Waldorf plan is very specific. The decisions about the curriculum are based on exactly what is happening in the child’s physical, and emotional development and also in the development of the child’s consciousness.
The grandmother of the birthday child in the Waldorf Kindergarten was pleased to be invited to her granddaughter’s birthday celebration at the Waldorf kindergarten. She ended up more deeply moved and impressed as she participated in the birthday celebration. When she came to the kindergarten, mid-morning, she noticed the soft beautiful colors of the room and the natural wood finish of the tables and chairs. She also felt the busy hum of the room as children cleaned up after having made bread dough. The aroma of bread baking filled the room. Two children smiled at her and excitedly said, “It’s bread roll day for Michaela’s birthday!” The special guest for the big day was invited to sit in a special chair and watched as her granddaughter was led by two children, holding her hands, to the chair prepared for the child with a rose-colored silken cloth draped over it.
One characteristic of Waldorf schools in elementary grades is to keep one “Class Teacher” with a class from first through eighth grades. This practice has been adopted by public and private schools and is known as looping. In Waldorf schools this eight-year cycle could be called “giant looping.” Of course, this eight-year cycle is an ideal that is not always possible. Life, marriage, health, age, can all get in the way of completing this commitment. In some Waldorf schools it is even policy to have the looping go from grades... READ MORE
In Waldorf schools effort is made to observe significant moments in childhood and to celebrate these with rituals that have meaning for children. The Rose Ceremony in Waldorf schools around the world has a long tradition reaching back to the very first Waldorf school.
The Rose Ceremony happens twice each year: on the first day of school and on the last day of school. The ceremony at the school’s beginning is designed for the oldest students in the school (8th grade or 12th grade) to welcome in the youngest children... READ MORE
Over the last decade or so homework has taken center stage in many child development debates and research projects. The increased scrutiny has even sparked a national “No Homework Day” which is celebrated today, May 6.
In a child’s early years, there is concern that homework will restrict a child’s active learning by limiting... READ MORE
Screen Free Week
gives us a chance to pause to consider beyond the noise and distraction of screens, pop-ups and advertisements. What message would we like children to glean from our behavior? What values are being communicated subliminally in our habitual practices?
This new Waldorf reader, The Sun With Loving Light,
was assembled as a transliteration of the original reader, Der Sonne Licht, in the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany. Caroline von Heydebrand was the original collector who put the Waldorf reader together for those children in that inaugural school. In the United States in the 1950s, the New York City Rudolf Steiner School did a transliteration and named it The Key to the Kingdom
, now out of print. Hansjoerg Hofrichter in Germany has since resurrected and republished the original reader and wished mightily, being a Waldorf graduate with clear memories of the book as his own first reader, that similar readers could be made for children in Waldorf schools around the world, in the language of every country that has a Waldorf school.
Mothers and fathers tell us here that meal times are getting harder and harder to have together as families. We can tell you all that this gathering of the family over a meal is worth working hard to maintain!
Even if the meal must be take out because everyone is too busy to cook something, to sit down together at the same time and share food and the events of everyone’s day is one element in mental and physical health! First of all, to sit still and eat more slowly because of the talk and the passing of food, helps in digestion. Racing off with food in one’s mouth has the likelihood of creating digestive problems later in a child’s (or an adult’s life).