Waldorf schools offer a well thought out approach to K-12 education. Unlike Montessori schools which focus on the primary grades, Waldorf schools cover all the grades. The Waldorf movement got its start with the writings and philosophy of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). Pictured on the right , Steiner was an Austrian born philosopher who founded a movement known as anthropsophy.
The essence of the Waldorf approach to education is its emphasis on developing a child's imagination and creative side. The Waldorf pedagogues prefer that young children never be exposed to popular entertainment such as television, popular music and computers. Competition is replaced with cooperation. Eurythmy, an expressive music cum dance art form, plays a central role in developing a child's artistic expression. The whole child is engaged at his own pace as opposed to being entertained by media in one form or another.
Another unique concept is that a teacher moves with the class over a four year cycle. Waldorf teachers are a highly skilled lot who have the ongoing development of their young charges at heart. Standardized textbooks are rarely used. Students create their own beautifully written and illustrated course books. Bilingualism is encouraged. Specialized teachers are introduced in the high school years to teach advanced math and science as well as languages.
A Waldorf education appeals to parents who embrace their responsibilities as parents for their children's education. Rather than let some government institution do the job, Waldorf parents are an integral part of the education triangle of home, school and child. You can find Waldorf schools in major urban areas throughout the United States and Canada.