Because every child learns differently, it is important to know and understand different teaching methods. The Waldorf method is a teaching method developed by Steiner-Waldorf in which he focuses on imaginative learning and holistically learning intellectual, practical and artistic skills.
If your child learns better with less structure and through holistic approaches, here are 5 things you need to know about the Waldorf Method:
Environmental Learning through age 7: In Waldorf’s method of teaching, he believes children in pre-school through age 7 should be learning from the environment around them. Instead of textbooks and structured assignments, learning is done through free play, drawing, painting, and modeling, singing songs, playing games, reading stories, cooking, cleaning, and gardening with rhythmic approaches to each.
Abstract Intellectual Learning Stunts Growth: According to Steiner-Waldorf, abstract intellectual learning done before the age of 7 can stunt a child’s growth and development. He believes a child is ready for abstract learning when there is an increase in the independence of character, personality, behavior, and recollection. One way to tell a child is ready for abstract learning, according to Waldorf, is when a child starts to lose his/her baby teeth. This symbolizes the transition from environmental learning to abstract learning.
Teaching is presented through Artistic Work: Unlike other methods, the Seiner-Waldorf method teaches history, geography, language arts, mythology, math, and other subjects through story-telling, visual reenactments, drama, movement, and music. If your child is a hard one to keep still, this approach to teaching is beneficial to those who learn through movement and music. An example of this is using the letter B to create a butterfly around it.
Children Learn at their Own Pace: In this method, Waldorf believes each child learns at their own pace and in their own time. Waldorf’s method emphasizes the need for teachers to encourage independent learning, thoughts, and discussion. Instead of merely learning a lesson, they explore through discussion that explains why, how, and when questions.
Children need Stability and Relationships: Unlike traditional schools, a Waldorf school keeps students with the same teacher for 8 years. If you think about it, this makes sense because just as a teacher gets to know his/her students, they move to a new grade. With this method, teachers are required to not only teach, but to build personal relationships with their students. A teacher is able to continuously learn the students and adapt his/her teaching to the needs of the students.
Many children learn through play, through art, and through music. Each person is different, and therefore, each child is different. Waldorf realized this and created his curriculum and method around the child. However, some children benefit more from traditional methods, therefore, it is important to learn and understand how your child learns when choosing a teaching method. What teaching methods have worked for you in the past? Does your child learn through music, rhymes, arts, and play? We would love to know in the comments below!