Why Waldorf Education Is A Great Choice For Environmentally Conscious Parents

Waldorf Education, Inhabitots Green Education Series, Green Education, Waldorf Education, Steiner Education, Rudolf Steiner Education, Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner

Finding decent education options for your kids is no doubt one of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of being a parent in today’s society; and we’ve spent a lot of time on Inhabitots with our Green Education Series, trying to dissect the best educational options for environmentally-minded parents. We’ve talked about Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Unschooling and other educational options, but we would be remiss not to write a special article focusing on Waldorf Education – one of the greenest and most ‘organic’ educational philosophies out there for parents who value creativity and the natural world.

Kids Baking in a Waldorf Classroom, Waldorf education, steiner education, waldorf school, steiner school, rudolf steiner education, kids bakingimage courtesy of New Amsterdam Early Childhood Center

Waldorf education, also sometimes known as Steiner Education, is a specific approach to pedagogy that was developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1919. Emphasizing creativity, learning-by-doing, craft, storytelling and a focus on the natural world, Waldorf is one of the fastest growing alternative school systems in the world, and is, ironically, surging in popularity in high-tech communities like Silicon Valley, as described in this New York Times article from 2011.

Rudolf Steiner believed that human development goes through very specific stages, and that in the first stage of early childhood (birth to age seven, when children lose their baby teeth), children learn best through play, exploration and imitation. Waldorf education heavily emphasizes maintaining natural daily and seasonal rhythms. Classroom activities typically involve baking, cooking, knitting, painting, telling stories, music, tending plants and playing outdoors, as well as cleaning, sweeping, washing dishes and other household ‘chores.’ Classroom toys and play structures are simple, unstructured, and made only from natural materials such as wood, silk and wool.

Waldorf Classroom, Waldorf toys, waldorf toy, wooden toy car, wooden waldorf toys, Waldorf Education, Inhabitots Green Education Series, Green Education, Waldorf Education, Steiner Education, Rudolf Steiner Education, Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steinerimage courtesy of Bellaluna Waldorf Toys

Waldorf is decidedly anti-plastic, anti-electronics and anti-screens (television, computers, phones, etc), so if your iPad is your toddler’s best friend – this is probably not the school for you.

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4 Responses to “Why Waldorf Education Is A Great Choice For Environmentally Conscious Parents”

  1. sross23 says:

    Any idea where this wooden arch comes from?

  2. ktalluto says:

    The arch was built by my husband for the school. It is based on a RIE design.

  3. nd says:

    that’s great and all but not everyone can afford the tuition. explains all the silicon valley execs getting into it. needs to be a restructuring of education as a whole, not just pockets for the privileged.

  4. TiptoesLigtly says:

    Thank you for highlighting Waldorf Education! Despite it being developed around the same time as Montessori, it’s a bit of a mystery to many American parents. Both my children attend the Waldorf School of New Orleans (one is in 5th Grade, the other in Kindergarten). I can attest to the way Waldorf approaches academics. It has worked beautifully for my 10-year-old, who read the entire Harry Potter series last summer. Both my children are happy in school, and I know they’re being nurtured in thoughtful and wonderful ways when they’re away from home.

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