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Waldorf Education

Introduction

The philosopher Rudolf Steiner created Waldorf education at the beginning of the twentieth century, out of the cultural movement Anthroposophy- that means knowledge of man as a being of body, soul and spirit.

Waldorf ChildrenIn September 1919 the first Waldorf school was opened, a free school, which means that the curriculum was independent. It accepted children from all social levels, and had mixed gender classes. It was financed by the cigarette factory owner Emil Molt- the factory bearing the name Waldorf. It was in reality a practical realisation of the three mottos of the French Revolution: liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Waldorf ChildrenSteiner laid the basis of a curriculum that could be accorded to the development stages of the child. He meant that it should be adapted intuitively by each individual teacher for the specific class of children he had in front of him. Importance was given to artistic activities, and the crafts. The curriculum ensured that the child was not pushed too early into mental and intellectual studies. Waldorf education aims to educate the head, heart and hands.

Assessment of the children is done without examinations, to allow the qualities and the individual capacities of each child to shine forth. The multi-cultural emphasis, the love and respect for diversity, and the strong global consciousness of the schools have allowed that this education has the support of UNESCO.

Waldorf education is considered to be biggest independent pedagogical movement in the world today. There exist at the moment 730 schools spread over more than 50 countries. In many countries, for example Australia, Canada, Finland, Nederland, Switzerland, and Germany the schools are subsidised by the state. In many other countries there are schools that have been running for more than 50 years and which are independently financed, such as in Great Britain and Italy.

Workshops

  • Waldorf Education - The Art of Education

    Our intention with this workshop is to introduce the participants (parents, teachers, kindergarten educators) to the principles of Waldorf education, and its contribution to holistic eduation in the world today.

    This workshop is organised by Oficina Didactica, Lisboa. Please see our links for more information. And the courses pages for upcoming dates.

  • The Importance of Fairy Tales

    The first thing that we seem to know about Fairy Tales is that they originate at the beginning of time. They are like myths , universal, with often similar plots and characters turning up in different cultures.

    Ogres, dragons, witches, enchantments, the youngest sons, and the fair princesses all living inbetween the Once upon a time....until they ...... All lived happily from that time on. It is a timeless time, a space without space: it has soul dimensionality.

    The child can identify with the characters, now more with this one, or at a later time more with another . The characters have certain tasks, or trials to undergo: like the child itself. The tales can speak deep into the child’s soul, and they can create trust and confidence in the child as it grows into life.

    Since the stories originate from an oral tradition, it is good to continue this by telling them with one’s own voice. The children can live into the efforts of the parent or teacher searching for the right word or right image to give justice to the tale.

    As each child hears the story he is able to cloth it in his own images, using his own imagination to fill out the contents: here lives the freedom necessary for this process. It confirms the uniqueness of each child. Here are not the fixed forever images of the film, comic or cartoon stereotypes. Such tales and their telling allow for a healthy, human individuality to grow out of the child.

    This workshop is organised by Oficina Didactica, Lisboa. Please see our links for more information. And the courses pages for upcoming dates.

  • Towards a better understanding of childrens' toys

    What type of toys are good for children? Working together with parents and educators to become more conscious of the elements involved so that we can make our own individual choices without dogmatism, consumer pressure, or advertising glamour. Which material? Considerations of the "soul gesture" of the toy. Practical aspects: toys that don't break, aren't "dangerous", toxic, etc. Method: through practical demonstratios/observations, artistic exercises, and study of the pedagogical aspects of this theme.

    This workshop is organised by Oficina Didactica, Lisboa. Please see our links for more information. And the courses pages for upcoming dates.

  • Working with wax crayons in the Waldorf kindergarten, but also as an artistic medium

    A theme particularly interesting for people involved in Waldorf kindergarten work. A sequence of exercises using wax crayons provides a basis for a further study of illustrations for childrens' fairy tales, childrens' drawing, and the pedagogical aspects of artistic work with children.