Are you familiar with a Waldorf education?
Waldorf education is a system of education, used worldwide for preschool through grade 12, developed from the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner.
A Waldorf education strives to recognize and value each child as an individual, with unique talents and needs, and is designed to meet his or her needs while passing through distinct developmental stages. Waldorf education teaches the whole child: head, heart, and hands. It fosters imagination and fantasy because children learn through imitation and play.
“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” ~ Albert Einstein
I learned of Waldorf when our first son was very young. In preparing to homeschool, I was drawn to the Waldorf way because of its gentle approach to learning and living. Over time, it became about so much more than just education for us.
Waldorf incorporates many festivals and rhythms into one’s way of life. I love tradition, so this was something that greatly appealed to me as well. While our educational needs may have changed over the years, it is the traditions and rhythms we created that have stayed with us the most from our Waldorf days. The festivals and rhythms of our days, months, and years that we started back then are things that we still incorporate into our lives today – 10 years later.
For me, tradition is important because it helps to give a child security and comfort. Tradition is something that we can depend on and draw comfort from because they are constants in our lives. In this ever changing world, something to depend on is a very appealing thing to me and especially for my children.
Some of the Waldorf concepts that we followed in our home when our children were younger:
- We played with many simple wooden toys.
- We had a seasonal table which our boys contributed to and which changed with the seasons and festivals of the year.
- We read books that are beautiful to look at and did a lot of reading aloud. Our personal favorites were the Grimm Fairy Tales.
- We painted using watercolors and created pictures using beeswax crayons.
- We used our hands to create beautiful things, such as figures with beeswax and little handheld dolls and toys with felt.
- We used cloth to create imaginative play.
- We followed daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly rhythms and celebrated different festivals of the year.
We still do much of what we have always done, except now on a more advanced scale. The decorations that we create for our celebrations are more advanced and detailed; we still love books with beautiful pictures; we still bring nature into our home as much as possible, in various ways, and we still celebrate many of the festivals that we have always celebrated – some traditional and some not so much. Learning the history behind all of the world’s festivals and celebrations has been a wonderful, educational experience.
Waldorf appealed to me back then and continues to do so, even though my children are older, because it meets all of the requirements that I need in our home. I love nature and working with natural and earthy materials; I love peace, and I love quiet calm.
I would encourage you to spend a little time getting to know more about Waldorf. I hope that you will be able to see the sweet peace and natural way of living that comes from it. I don’t think you will be disappointed. My children called it making magic in our home. I would have to agree with them.