There are a huge variety of philosophies regarding the subject of education and what are the best practices to further the development of children. One of the most famous educational philosophers in history is Rudolf Steiner who has written extensively on the subject of child development. He is the pioneer of ‘Waldorf Education’ which is an educational philosophy that looks to focus on educating children to be very well-rounded and imaginative when it comes to approaching tasks in their lives as well as in their schooling. He believed that this style of education was the best way to teach children how to navigate through life with success and will have a lifelong ability to learn new skills at any age thanks to their imagination.
What are the core philosophies?
The main thrust of the educational premise is that children are taught according to Steiner’s three principle stages of child development. These main stages are:
- Pre-School – Up to the age of 6/7
- Elementary – Age 6/7 up to age 14
- Secondary – Age 14 up
Each stage includes very different learning experiences for children which are designed to best work alongside their physical and emotional development. This means that what they are being taught is done in the most effective way possible and will therefore have the best impact.
Waldorf pre-schools work by immersing their children in educational experiences and encourage a huge amount of ‘experiential education’. This means that they are allowed to learn by imagination and example and not through a rigid teaching structure. These schools follow routines which contain a lot of free play, artistic expression and practical tasks which are designed to make the children think or question what the best course of action to take is, helping their brain to develop cognitive reasoning skills. They also often include outside periods of free time in order to promote this type of creativity and love of getting outside and experimenting with learning new skills. It is at this age where many children will use a ‘Waldorf Doll’ which is synonymous with the educational philosophies espoused by Steiner. The Dolls are usually made by hand, something which there are many resources, such as eBook,where you are able to learn how to make them; and often use all-natural materials to give them a great plaything for the children.