Waldorf Education

This mama’s soul was set on fire a few days ago! Personally, I’m not a fan of conventional education systems. Too much value is placed on achievement, grades, and collective progress. Not enough value is placed on developing strategies and providing tools that will serve kids as they get older. Kids are taught with the intention of passing standardized tests. As a parent, I’m more interested in my children learning to utilize tools, come up with strategies, and work through processes in ways they can apply to any area of their lives. It’s my belief that school should be a place that helps children develop as individuals and supports their development to adapt to the real world. What I see in school is a place where children are generally expected to conform, do things the same way, and are measured by the results. 

I’ve been in search of an option that worked better for my family. I homeschooled in the past and was considering it again. A friend of mine mentioned she heard of a local school that was more hands-on and did things in a different way. We took a tour on Thursday and I was amazed by what I saw. The school is within a hacienda that has several dozen beautiful buildings. When I first walked in I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace and tranquility. There were flowers, trees, grass, and fountains spread throughout the grounds. Visually, the grounds is breathtaking. I took my family back on Saturday for a visit and they all fell in love.

How beautiful is this? It was so inviting, warm, and beautiful!

The school is taught using Waldorf education methods. I could immediately tell this was different than the public schools I was used to. There were clay figures sitting in the sun to dry. Not one of them was the same, they didn’t just look different, they were all of something each child chose to make. There were little shoes lined up on the top of an outdoor shower where the kids washed up and got changed after swimming in the pool. The classroom for the children of my daughter’s age was a beautiful cave to take advantage of the rock the room was built in. It reminded me of a small scale agora where ancient Greek philosophers gathered. My daughters absolutely loved it! The natural light, the big open room, the colors on the walls. I had a hard time getting my littlest one to leave!

My oldest was telling me that the sounds reminded her of being at her grandma’s house and hearing all of the birds chirping.

There are common areas all over the hacienda grounds with tables and chairs, flowers, and patios. One thing I noticed is the way the natural habitat was preserved when constructing. Everything was built taking advantage of what nature had to offer. Instead of getting rid of the huge rocks protruding from the ground, they were used to be solid walls and the building was made around it, or in it as is the case of the classroom. All of the furniture is handmade as the textiles are as well. There’s such history and simplicity in the hacienda itself that amazed me.

I couldn’t get over how beautiful this place is!

Children aren’t separated by grade level but by developmental age. They all have snacks and recess together and the older group often does activities with the younger groups. This helps the older kids feel responsible by teaching the younger ones and the younger groups pick up on things by observing the older kids. Even meal time is a learning opportunity. Each child clears their eating area and washes their own dishes. Everyone at the table has a job from cleaning the table off to taking out the trash. A sense of community is fostered and the focus is on making sure kids feel like they are in a safe, loving, and secure environment.

Children are encouraged to explore during the free play times. From running and playing on the large grassy grounds to swimming on sunny days, and caring for the animals. There’s a garden where the kids are taught to cultivate plants. They each plant seeds and nurture and care for their own pumpkin to take home once it matures. There are sheep, chicken, and ducks the kids can interact with from a distance. The fountains have turtles and there are animals like birds and rabbits the classes are for.

The beautiful pool the older kids can swim in on sunny days. One of many gardens the kids are encouraged to explore during free play.

I really enjoyed the tour and couldn’t help but think this is what all schools should be like. A place where kids go to learn but most of all have fun. Kids learn through play, songs, stories, and hands-on activities. Learning in this way makes learning fun and something they want to do. This particular method doesn’t give homework because kids are provided with a rich learning environment. This takes the pressure off and allows kids to enjoy the time they have after school to be with their family. This is a much better fit for my family especially because I don’t believe conventional schools properly prepare kids for life after school. I like the idea of developing the whole being- mentally, emotionally, and physically. This is an excellent approach and an environment I’m sure my daughters would love!

Here’s a great video I found that gives a great introduction to the Waldorf approach.

What are your thoughts on children and education? Are you happy with conventional education? Do you like the idea of schools incorporating Waldorf-inspired methods? Would you want your kids to attend a school like this? I’d love to hear your thoughts, feel free to share in the comments!

21 Replies to “Waldorf Education”

  1. My husband is German and went to Waldorfschule for the age of 7 until 19, as did his siblings. We considered our local Steiner but for practical reasons, decided against it, primarily because it only runs to Year 6 in our area. I have a friend who has two children there and they’re thriving. My daughters are still very young, I have one starting kindy next year and one going into Year 2. Our focus is not on the academic strive to achieve – we want them to go at their own pace – but as the first school years have passed it becomes clearer that our view is not going to fit the system. Much food for thought there but at same time, my daughter is happy and thriving in general which is what matters. Plus it’s a tiny village school with only 120 students which is just great. The outside world is at bay for now, for that I’m grateful and we’ll see what unfolds 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s funny, I lived in Germany for several years as a kid. School there is so different! I didn’t go to a Waldorf school but I do remember there being a lot of play time, a lot of activities, and school just being really fun. I didn’t realize at the time how much I was learning but looking back I can see it now. I’m sure everything will work out just as it should ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I found that I memorized material well but not so much the process or reasoning. I could pass a test but often didn’t retain the information for much longer. I’m more interested in reasoning skills and being able to learn about things in-depth not memorize information to pass a test.

      I talked to one of the teachers and she said the kids were currently learning about how clothes are made from wool. They watch the caretakers shave the sheep, then go through the will process from washing and separating the wool to learning how make something with it. Pretty cool and I know that’s something they won’t forget. That do stuff life that with everything they teach so they involve all of the senses and help the kids to learn not memorize. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel the same way! I wasn’t bad at test-taking, but a lot of times, the information only stayed in my short-term memory, especially if the exam involved a ton of information to cram in a short amount of time.
        That sounds absolutely amazing! We definitely need an education system that involves more hands-on techniques like that, so that kids aren’t just learning for the sake of learning.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was better at essays than tests (big surprise). I often found myself having to write essays for extra credit because tests were difficult for me for some reason. I could lay the information out on paragraphs but had a hard time with multiple choice.

        Yes! Everyone learns differently so why not involve as much of the body as possible and create memories they can utilize? Then the information will be with them for years!

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  2. How incredibly beautiful! I totally agree that the conventional way of learning is not what I would want to do again… oh if only I could do it all over again. I think this approach is amazing, not only do kids learn they also grow up with a sense of community that, unfortunately, I believe is being lost in this day and age. As usual, your posts are full of great insights. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! I like that they involve all of the senses to ensure kids learn. That easy you’re creating a memory and that’s something that will stick with them. 😊


  3. All the children in our family attend or attended Steiner school from toddler to 19. Children at these schools are actually enjoy going to school. They all do music, drama, crafts, go camping etc. Parents help maintain the school and grounds and join the choir. It is a real community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow. I din’t know that Chris! It’s nice to know someone with experience in that area. I fell in love the moment I walked in, I knew it was what I wanted for my girls. Between the focus on the arts, the importance on allowing each child to be an individual, and the learning approach that is about making memories, I knew I’d found the right fit. My daughter can’t wait to start school there and this school year isn’t even over yet! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope they’ll be very happy 😊 Two of our family members were initially at state school. One was bullied because she was too intelligent, the other because he has a genetic condition which requires him to have a special diet. His school also wanted to put him in the remedial class at age 5!! He and his sister transferred to Steiner school where he was allowed to progress at his own pace. He is now in the south of France working as a canoe instructor having gained his Outdoor Activities Leadership qualification. His sister is doing her MA at university. The middle children play drums, violin and keyboard, do Kung Fu, basketball and last Christmas made me a beautiful needlepoint cushion and wooden stool (both boys). All the family, including Mum, are in the choir. They put on choral concerts with the school orchestra at the local Cathedral once a term and each class performs in a play once a term. Children who were initially shy and introverted learn confidence and gain in self-esteem. School inspectors always give them an excellent report.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure they will be ❤

        Wow, thanks for sharing that with me. I really love how they were encouraged to develop at their own pace. So glad they were able to be in an environment that was so supportive ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We live in a city where the public education options are not great. In fact the city schools score in the bottom 20% of all schools in the state. 😦 We just enrolled my daughter in a private school that has a long history and rich tradition (200 years). One of the main missions is to build character. In the preschool room, they are taught they are part of a community and to think about how their actions affect others in their community. I just love the values and mission of the school. While it is academically driven, my daughter has shown clear signs that she will thrive in this environment. We know our childeren best and each family needs to do what is best for them (in my opinion).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! I agree, no one knows your kids better than you. I’m not saying academics is bad, just the existing conventional system isn’t what works for my family. I love that options exist and think they should be more accessible.I’m so glad you guys found an option you like so much! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I found out about it! I love the methods. I’m not the kind of person to subscribe to something 100% so while I’m not a purist, I do love a lot about it 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy my blog ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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