Summer Blog Series: Principles of Waldorf Education

Last week, we talked Waldorf teachers having freedom in the way they bring the Waldorf curriculum to their student. In this fifth installment in our Summer blog series, we want to tell you about the core principle that outlines the methodology of teaching in a Waldorf school.

There are a few key methodological guidelines for Lower School and High School teachers. Early Childhood teachers work with these principles appropriate to the way in which the child before the age of seven learns, out of imitation rather than direct instruction:

~Artistic metamorphosis: the teacher should understand, internalize, and then present the topic in an artistic form.

~From experience to concept: the direction of the learning process should proceed from the students’ soul activities of willing, through feeling, to thinking. In the high school, the context of the experience is provided at the outset. (This is also sometimes referred to as phenomenological learning or experiential learning.)

~Holistic process: proceeding from the whole to the parts and back again, and addressing the whole human being.

~Use of rhythm and repetition.

Teaching in this way has several benefits:

  • Students develop a strong aesthetic sense and a deep appreciation for beauty and artistry. 
  • Students are engaged and connected to their learning.
  • Students learn to see complex situations and problems as a whole (systems thinking) and become expert and creative problem-solvers.
  • Students feel secure, use their bodies and brains in coordination, and are able to achieve mastery in many subjects.