Get to know the Waldorf pedagogical system

In 1919 the philosopher Rudolf Steiner visited the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany, and spoke to the workers about the imperative need for social renewal and for man as a tripartite being (body-mind-soul) and their needs. The factory owner, Emil Molt , in a moment of unprecedented inspiration, commissioned him to create a school for the children of his employees where he put these theories into action. Thus was born the Waldorf Free School, where the principle of selection was eliminated and replaced by an encouraging pedagogy and social support.

The education these children received was so innovative and evolved that new Waldorf schools soon emerged in Germany until they spread throughout the rest of Europe and the world, although in Spain it would not be until 1975 when a group of parents and teachers started the first. Waldorf Kindergarten, today the Michael Free School.

What characteristics distinguish these free schools?

  1. Teaching is divided into septencies : 0-7, 7-14 and 14-21 following the natural changes in the child’s development. The class groups are small and there is only one teacher in each seven-year term to foster trust between the student and the teacher, as well as to strengthen ties.
  2. Art is an essential element in education , both separately in the form of painting, singing, dance, music, movement or crafts classes, and introducing them in subjects such as science, mathematics or language.
  3. There are no exams or grades . Each student evolves individually according to their needs and is evaluated by the teacher through observation and interaction in the classroom, periodically informing parents of their performance and attitude.
  4. Parents are highly involved in the running of the school and its maintenance. They are the main providers of the center and together with the teachers they actively participate in the boards that regulate the school day.
  5. Teaching is delivered in formative blocks , not in subjects. These projects integrate various disciplines, dedicating several weeks to them and starting a different one at the end.
  6. It does not recommend the use of computers , mobile phones or tablets in children, as they consider that they hinder the development of their mind and imagination, as well as their senses of perception.
  7. Take care that the children’s diet is as natural as possible, advising to eliminate junk food and excess sugar and fat, as well as highly elaborated products. They follow the premise that we are what we eat and that, of course, food influences the correct development of the child.
  8. It emphasizes the importance of respecting the body’s natural rhythms for eating and sleeping. Having a regular mealtime that guarantees the necessary hours of sleep is vital for the performance and health of the child.
  9. He does not consider the child as a passive subject that must be taught and trained, but as a free being who needs to progressively develop his abilities, actively getting involved in his educational process.
  10. It educates the will and practical orientation of life in general and, above all, through trade workshops (carpentry, weaving, cooking, gardening) where organization, tenacity and perseverance work towards a goal and the consequent personal satisfaction.

It is worth delving into this interesting pedagogy that, like all alternative currents of education, treat children in a more harmonious and personal way. If it is not possible for us to access these schools, at least we will be able to understand their philosophy a little better, which will surely help us in our daily dealings with the little ones.

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