“Head, Heart, and Hands.”
Waldorf education cultivates three principal faculties in children: thinking, feeling, and willing. As such, it is often described as education for the “head, heart, and hands.” “Head” refers to the ability to think clearly and independently. “Heart” refers to the capacity for feeling emotionally connected to one’s work and the world at large. “Hands” refers to the willingness to take action to achieve one’s goals and to contribute to the world.
Waldorf education is also designed to produce balanced, humane individuals, with a curriculum that is both integrated and developmentally appropriate. By integrating academic learning, physical activity, appreciation for the arts and moral responsibility, it cultivates the body, mind and spirit of the child simultaneously. It is also highly cognizant of the various stages of children’s development, meeting and challenging students in ways most suited to the child’s particular age and experience.
An excellent and more detailed primer on Waldorf Education can be found in Jack Petrash’s book Understanding Waldorf Education—Teaching From the Inside Out (2002). See Understanding Waldorf Education—Teaching From the Inside Out in Google Books.
In addition, some useful websites that offer more information and insights into Waldorf education are:
- Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (waldorfeducation.org)
- The Research Institute for Waldorf Education (waldorfresearchinstitute.org)
- Waldorf Answers (waldorfanswers.com)
- Waldorf in the Home (informedfamilylife.com)
- The Online Waldorf Library (waldorflibrary.org)
- Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf school in 1919 in Germany. In the aftermath of WWI, Steiner perceived the thoughtful investment in our children as the best way to positively influence the future. He sought to contribute to the cultivation of a more peaceful and harmonious world by creating an education that turned out thoughtful, inspired, and humane individuals. With this motivation at heart, he developed a system of education that is known today as Waldorf education.
- Why Waldorf?
- Waldorf education answers the call of forward thinking families who sense that their children will need more than a store of information to succeed in our rapidly changing world. Camellia families understand that children will need to distinguish themselves as superior critical thinkers and creative problem solvers, not merely good test-takers. They also want their children to achieve a high degree of satisfaction in life. They seek to empower their children first to know their own hearts and then to venture forth to contribute to the world in various ways. Camellia families perceive Waldorf education as an environment that delivers in all areas that are most important to them when they think about the future, long-term success of their children.