One of the main worries for parents in today’s society is choosing and finding a suitable education for their children. For parents who are environmentally conscious, Waldorf Schools represent an increasingly popular choice.
These Schools, spread today all over the world, teach one of the greenest, “organic” philosophies available: the result of Rudolph Steiner’s ideas on education.
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, who founded a spiritual movement: anthroposophy. His philosophy branched out into many practical applications: from a system of organic agriculture –biodynamic agriculture-, which was one of the very first forms of organic farming, to complementary medications and supportive artistic and biographic therapies.
Steiner believed in developing creativity and confidence in each child through art, music, poetry, and handwork. These subjects in Waldorf Schools are integrated into the adult educational curriculum and students are expected to produce, not only essays, workbooks and lesson plans, but drawings, paintings and theatrical performances.
Children are also taught cooking, farming, environmental and outdoor education, with the goal of maintaining the natural daily and seasonal rhythms to create adults who are in tune with the natural world.
Toys are simple and made of natural materials or, even better, built by the children themselves, in stark contrast to today’s world of plastic toys, TV screens and high-end electronics.
One would think that on these premises Waldorf Schools are only suited for children whose parents are more environmentally than academically focused (if not complete hippies).
In reality, as a 2011 New York Times article pointed out, these schools are very popular among the children of Silicon Valley’s executives who might not focus on the curriculum but care very much about the results: Waldorf Schools graduates statistically score well above American average on their college admissions tests and seem to do extremely well in higher education.
See the gallery with a few examples of Waldorf Schools: according to Steiner’s views, they abide to the rules of avoiding uniform, quadrilateral shapes, incorporating the use of colorful light and natural materials, to allow the children experience the building in a very tactile and physical way and develop their full potential in a welcoming environment.
So, would you send your child to a Waldorf School?