Waldorf (or Steiner) education is a unique approach to learning that aims to enable children to choose and, in freedom, to realize their individual path through life as adults.
The first Waldorf School was founded in 1919 by Austrian philosopher and scholar, Rudolf Steiner. As of today, there are over 1000 schools and nearly 2000 early childhood programs spread across 60 countries. The philosophy of Waldorf education is rooted in the principle that it should serve the whole child: hands, heart and head, through the natural stages of development from childhood to adulthood by catering to the needs of the individual. In a Waldorf approach to learning, the child is believed to develop in three seven-year-long developmental cycles i.e. early childhood (0-7 years), middle childhood (7- 14 years) and adolescence (14-21 years). The curriculum is designed in accordance with these phases to be holistic and developmentally appropriate for engaging the students intellectually, emotionally, and physically.
Based on the primary educational paradigm of Waldorf education to cultivate the ability of the child to think, feel and do, meaningful experiences are created and facilitated for children to learn through imitation, imagination, interaction and exploration. At the kindergarten level, children are engaged in storytelling, songs, outdoor play, and free play with natural toys whereas, traditional subjects like languages, mathematics, science, history and geography are gradually introduced to the students through grade school. Throughout the learning process in a Waldorf school, art is integral to the curriculum in different forms like free play, knitting, music, painting, drama and other activities that provide the child with a joyful experience of learning and a medium for creative expression.