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Wondering About Waldorf?

Perhaps you’ve heard of Waldorf education, or perhaps you know a family with a child who attends a Waldorf school. But do you really know what a Waldorf education entails? Of the many educational philosophies that schools may follow, it is perhaps one of the least understood – or most misunderstood! – of all.

In simplest terms, Waldorf schools (also called Steiner schools) were founded in 1919 by Austrian educator Rudolf Steiner. The underlying philosophy at a Waldorf school is the development of the whole child. The schools emphasize creative learning with the goal of developing the child academically, emotionally and physically. School days follow a dependable routine within a home-like atmosphere with play materials made of natural substances. Television and computers are strongly discouraged for younger children. Teachers often remain with a group of students for several years, creating a strong bond between teacher and child.

There are many resources available to help you better understand Waldorf education. We’ve compiled some of those resources below and provide you with a list of Waldorf schools in San Diego, relevant books, and a few current websites. Remember that this is only a sampling of the information that is out there, but it should get you started.

SAN DIEGO AREA WALDORF SCHOOLS

BOOKS

Introduction to Steiner Education: The Waldorf School by Francis Edmunds
Rudolf Steiner’s educational system—long established and respected on the European continent—is gradually spreading around the world. Its radical principles, based on a view of the human being as composed of body, soul, and spirit, allows for a truly holistic and balanced education that nourishes the whole child. The author explains, in a clear and lively style, many aspects of Steiner’s educational theories, especially the three stages of child development and how the Waldorf curriculum provides a healthy understanding, nurturing, and support for these phases.

This is an excellent introduction to the theory and practice of Steiner/Waldorf education, whether for teachers or anyone who would like to know more about Steiner’s ideas. It is especially useful for parents who are looking for a holistic education for their children.

School As a Journey: The Eight-Year Odyssey of a Waldorf Teacher and His Class
by Torin M. Finser
School As a Journey is a lively, colorful, and absorbing account of a class teacher’s journey with his class, from first grade through the eighth in a Waldorf school. Told in a straightforward humorous style, it is an excellent introduction to the inside of a Waldorf classroom. This book is written especially for parents and educators as well as anyone new to Waldorf education. It is filled with eductional tips and resources and will prove invaluable to those already teaching. It is extensively documented, for those who wish to go more deeply, including references to the works of Rudolf Steiner and others in Waldorf education.
Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash
Written by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, this book offers a jargon-free view of Waldorf schools with their philosophy of the importance of a three-dimensional education. Through learning experiences that involve all of the senses, children use a variety of intelligences to develop thought, feeling, and intentional, purposeful activity. Whether you’re a Waldorf parent or teacher, or you just want to learn more about these innovative educational concepts, this book contains important ideas on learning that you can apply today.
Waldorf Education: A Family Guide by Pamela J. Fenner
Waldorf Education finds itself catapulted from its humble beginnings 80 years ago into the midst of the central educational and social issues of this decade. What draws parents and educators toward Waldorf Education today? This book offers a first look for parents and educators into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. This comprehensive book is a collection of articles describing the world of Waldorf Education – the fastest growing independent school movement in the world.
What Is A Waldorf Kindergarten? by Sharifa Oppenheimer
The authors describe from experience the numerous aspects of the “Steiner school” approach to early childhood education. Readers will learn what lies behind the Waldorf kindergarten methods and the practical ways in which it is applied by teachers in the classroom. Throughout the book, the reader is guided by the sure and compassionate hand of longtime kindergarten teacher Sharifa Oppenheimer as she introduces the authors and each topic.

WEBSITES

  • The Online Waldorf Library
    www.waldorflibrary.org
    This site has been created to provide useful information to English-speaking Waldorf teachers, parents, homeschoolers, and anyone interested in Waldorf education.
  • Research Institute for Waldorf Education
    www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org
    The Research Institute for Waldorf Education is an initiative working on behalf of the Waldorf movement in order to deepen and enhance the quality of Waldorf education, to engage in serious and sustained dialogue with the wider educational-cultural community and to support research that would serve educators in all types of schools in their work with children and adolescents.
  • Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America
    www.waldorfearlychildhood.orgTheir mission is to protect and nurture the healthy development of the young child. They provide resources for early childhood educators and parents interested in Waldorf early childhood education.
  • Why Waldorf Works
    www.whywaldorfworks.org
    Why Waldorf Works is a comprehensive site about Waldorf Education sponsored by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
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