The first Waldorf School was founded in Germany by the Austrian educationist Rudolf Steiner. The school was opened in 1919 to serve the needs of factory workers' children. Considered revolutionary at the time, the methods have proved themselves to be thoroughly practical and effective. Waldorf Education is a holistic response to the question "How can education best serve the growth of the individual and of society?"
Waldorf education is based on three key elements:
- understanding the stages in the development of the child as a moral being;
- understanding what the child needs, and what they will respond to at each stage in their path to adulthood;
- developing a curriculum and teaching methodology that supports and guides the growing child.
Waldorf Education aims at providing a warm, rich, enjoyable yet challenging education in which the needs of the whole child are met throughout school life. It aims at a preparation for life in the broadest sense and for life-long learning. The curriculum is designed to bring balance into education by systematically addressing the whole child in every activity. Each subject taught needs to address the head, heart and hands of the child. Mathematics, for example, needs to engender feelings of wonder and curiosity while integrated practical activities deepen the experience and knowledge.
Waldorf Education is designed to be in harmony with the inner and outer needs of the child at every stage of their development. Time and care is taken to travel every step of the way with each child, to allow the young adult to emerge with self-confidence, enthusiasm, awareness, equipped with knowledge and ready to take on the world.