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Waldorf Education

Rudolf Steiner, visionary philosopher, scientist, and teacher, conceived of Waldorf education to address the need for social renewal in the aftermath of World War I. Based on Steiner’s view of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child, the Waldorf curriculum cultivates the child’s unfolding and awakening intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities.

To provide relevance and meaning to education, Waldorf program decisions are made in response to the profound consideration of what it means to be human and what the task of humankind is perceived to be. A Waldorf school recognizes this approach as a pressing need of our time, and provides teachers with the freedom to respond to this need creatively, intelligently, and sensitively. Since 1919, parents and teachers in over 1,000 Waldorf schools throughout the world share the conviction that…

The role of an educator is to stimulate the emergence of a child’s innate capacities to the fullest. It is not to fill an empty vessel.

Discernible stages of child development make accessible differing learning modalities, which must be respected to ensure healthy growth – physically, emotionally, and intellectually.

Both the content and form of presentation are learning experiences. To be effective and healthy, both must suit the age of the child.

A broad-based, universal integration of sciences, humanities, and arts, avoiding specialization, serves the elementary years best. Specialization begins in high school in the context of an integrated, unified curriculum.

The arts provide a valuable cognitive and affective educational experience. Academic subjects are more thoroughly comprehended when taught artistically.

The school provides a community experience for both child and family. The community should reflect the same values as the education.

The school responsibly informs parents of its curriculum in relation to child development and describes how it intends to foster the values of self-confidence, creativity, and morality, as well as academic learning.

A Waldorf school confidently dedicates its work to the whole human being as a physical body, dynamic soul, and enduring spirit. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child – the heart and the hands, as well as the head.


Educational Goals

With the understanding that our students’ educations are not complete by the time they graduate at the end of twelfth grade, the Pasadena Waldorf School strives for our students to:

experience a rich, broad-based, deep course of studies, cohesively conceived, progressing purposefully from year to year, imparting significance, relevance, and meaning regarding humankind, the earth, and cosmos, in the past, in the present, and in anticipation of the future. By definition this includes a broad spectrum of history, literature, science, foreign language, arts, practical skills, and physical education;

feel recognized as individuals, who are valued for their quality of character as well as their caliber of scholarship;

feel confident in themselves as learners, accepting of both their strengths and limitations, working to the best of their own abilities;

understand what it means to strive; to experience a sense of satisfaction in a job well done;

develop sound habits for living, and by this continual practice, to strengthen their will. This includes classroom habits, work habits, rhythmic marking of seasonal festivals, completing all tasks they start, returning equipment they use, and cleaning up after themselves;

experience reverence, appreciation, and gratitude to other people and to be a beneficent transcendent power, whatever they conceive that to be;

conduct themselves with respect, cooperation, and courtesy towards self, others, and property;

acquire positive attitudes of acceptance of difference of cultures, preferences, abilities, ideas, social status, race, gender, etc.;

immerse themselves in experiences of nature without taking the trappings of urban life with them;

value and practice compassion, honesty, courage, and trust, but also joy and humor;

develop from imagination a foundation for flexible, sensitive, clear, and creative thinking, open to the ideas of others, and steeped in interest and a sense of inquiry;

feel empowered to act, guided not by convention or peer pressure, but by their own convictions of right and wrong; to feel persuaded that individual human beings can make a difference;

learn how to function within a group and take personal responsibility for its social well-being;

practice service towards others and the natural world; and

leave PWS valuing, at some point, what they have received, confident about their next educational experience, and knowing they were loved and will always be welcome here.