A Waldorf school follows the teaching and educational philosophy (anthroposophy) of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). He was an Austrian scientist and philosopher who gave lectures shortly after the first world war and was asked by the managing director of a cigarette factory – Emil Molt, to found and lead a school in its early stages for the workers’ children after following one of his lectures. Emil Molt himself offered to be the benefactor of the school, providing Steiner with financial investment and space for it. This happened in 1919 in Stuttgart and hence the first free Waldorf School was established.
Steiner schools take pupils from birth to 18 years of age ideally and are divided into 3 developmental phases: from birth to 6 or 7 years, from 7 to 14 years and from 14 to 18 years. In Malta up till now there is only one Waldorf school that is established and it only has children up to six years (kindergarten level) but the intention is to build up to primary and secondary school as well. They welcome children of all abilities from all faiths and backgrounds. The priority of the Steiner ethos is to provide an unhurried and creative learning environment where children can find the joy of learning and experience the richness of childhood rather than focusing at such an early age on specializations and academic work. The curriculum itself is a flexible set of pedagogical guidelines founded on Steiner’s principles that take account of the child holistically. It gives equal attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and cultural needs of each student and is designed to work in harmony with the different phases of the child’s development. All lessons include a balance of artistic, practical and intellectual content. Steiner schools aim to produce well-rounded and balanced human beings who are able to cope and adapt to the fast-changing world of nowadays. They believe that children learn as a whole person. Children learn socially and through engagement with others. Waldorf education believe that there are many parts of mainstream education which do not address the need of the whole child but focuses more on the academic development of the children; whereas Waldorf schools believe in allowing students to make mistakes from which to learn by themselves through hands on experience and like this they are given the opportunity to foster their character freely and gradually develop creative thinking, reasoning, decision-making, a sense of curiosity and problem solving skills. Waldorf education emphasizes on the importance of teaching: skills, competences, attitudes and values for life-long learning and not merely pack the children with knowledge and information that they will forget in no time.
Key principles of a Waldorf Education
Waldorf education teaches children in a way that comes most natural to children of a particular age, providing age appropriate methods and resources. This type of education encourages considerate engagement with...