Celebrating 20 Years of Developing Fearless Learners

FAQs

Are Waldorf schools religious?

Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational. They educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all the world cultures and religions. Waldorf schools are not part of any church. They espouse no particular religious doctrine but are based on a belief that there is a spiritual dimension to the human being and to all of life. Waldorf families come from a broad spectrum of religious traditions and interest.

Is Waldorf similar to Montessori?

These two educational approaches began with a similar goal: to design a curriculum that was developmentally appropriate to the child and that addressed the child’s need to learn in a tactile as well as an intellectual way. The philosophies are otherwise very different. For more information, please see Waldorf vs Montessori.

Are Waldorf schools art schools?

Waldorf schools are not art schools. The curriculum offers a classical education in all academic disciplines that fully integrates the arts into its teaching methodology. Why? Because research continues to show that the inclusion of the arts in academia increases aptitude and creative thinking in areas such as math and science, and has a positive effect on emotional development as well.

What is Eurythmy?

Eurythmy is a subject unique to Waldorf schools. It was developed by Rudolf Steiner as a new form of movement that would make music or the spoken word visible. In eurythmy, music and speech are expressed in bodily movement; specific movements correspond to particular notes or sounds.

Eurythmy enhances coordination and helps to develop concentration, self-discipline, and a sense of beauty. This training of moving artistically with a group stimulates sensitivity to others as well as individual mastery. Eurythmy lessons take up themes from the mythology and history curriculum. They allow students to experience rhyme, meter, and story through movement, and bring students into a dynamic relationship with geometry.

When do Waldorf schools introduce reading?

Our goal is to foster passionate readers who continue reading for pleasure throughout their lifetimes. To that end, we introduce reading in a developmentally appropriate way, when students are more comfortable with the written word and fully ready to engage with them.

Waldorf teachers begin teaching reading in the first couple months of 1st grade by teaching consonants and vowel names and sounds through an artistic approach of drawing, painting, movement, and speech. This artistic, deliberate process engages the children with great interest, and by the end of 1st grade, children are writing and reading sentences and short texts. Students typically begin reading printed readers with their teacher during the second half of 2nd grade. This thorough and artistic approach to teaching literacy has been proven to build a solid base for advanced comprehension and vocabulary skills in later years.

How do children do when they transfer to a Waldorf school?

Children who transfer to a Waldorf classroom from a more traditional setting are typically up to grade in basic academic skills, and have little problem adapting academically. Those entering in the middle school and high school will need to learn to approach the arts in an objective and integrated way and may be required to take music lessons or world language classes, for example, to prepare them for classroom work. We find that most students new to Waldorf Education embrace this engaging and artistic style of learning with excitement and enthusiasm, regardless of grade level.

How do children do when they transfer from a Waldorf school?

Children who transfer from a Waldorf school into a more traditional school setting during grades 1-3 will likely need to spend time over the summer refining their reading skills, as Waldorf schools’ approach to teaching reading is a more graduated approach. On the other hand, students often find they are more advanced in speech and language, social studies, mathematics, and artistic activities. Children moving during the middle and upper grades should experience no academic problems. In fact, in most cases, transferring students of this age group find themselves ahead of their classmates and with an eagerness to learn.

Why does a Waldorf class teacher stay with his or her class for multiple years?

A Waldorf teacher typically remains with the same class for five to eight years. In this way, the teacher is better able to assess each individual’s development, needs, and learning style—and the children, feeling secure in this long-term relationship, are more comfortable in their learning environment.

How do Waldorf graduates do after graduation?

Waldorf students have been accepted in and graduated from a broad spectrum of notable colleges and universities. Waldorf graduates reflect a wide diversity of professions and occupations including medicine, law, science, engineering, computer technology, the arts, social science, government, and teaching at all levels.

According to a recent study of Waldorf graduates:

  • 94% attended college or university
  • 47% chose humanities or arts as a major
  • 42% chose sciences or math as a major
  • 89% are highly satisfied in choice of occupation
  • 91% are active in lifelong education
  • 92% place a high value on critical thinking
  • 90% highly value tolerance of other viewpoints
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Richmond Waldorf School