Preschool Method: Waldorf

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Background:

Spirit, soul, and body; the three aspects of a person, according to Rudolf Steiner. Steiner was the founder of the first Waldorf school in 1919 at the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The original school was to serve the children of the employees of the cigarette factory. Today, there are thousands of Waldorf schools around the world. The method has grown in popularity and schools and homeschools incorporate basics of the method.

The Waldorf Philosophy:

The method focuses on the use of imagination in learning. The goal is to develop creative and analytical thinking in children. In early childhood learning is based in experiential, imitative and sensory development. Practical activities are the emphasis in the early years. Children learn through baking, gardening, etc. Children are discouraged from TV and computers and encouraged to use all five senses for free play and creative activities. Art and imaginative play uses nature like pine cones, shells, and stones. The setting in the schools is a homelike environment featuring practical activities. Therefore, this method seamlessly fits into a homeschool environment. Children are encouraged to act out stories through free play. The Waldorf method fosters creativity and critical thinking. It would not be unusual to see children in a Waldorf preschool kneading dough, playing with sand and water, and engaging in dramatic play. It is an organic way of living and learning as it focuses on learning skills through experience in these early years. While this may sound free spirited in a sense it is structured and predictable providing a secure environment for the child. A child that thrives on order will do well in this environment.

If you desire a structured environment that promotes imagination then this method may be a good fit. You can implement methods in your own home or find a school in your area that focuses on he Waldorf method.

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About Richele McFarlin

Richele is a Christian homeschooling mom to four children, writer and business owner. Her collegiate background is in educational psychology. Although it never prepared her for playing Candyland, grading science, chasing a toddler, doing laundry and making dinner at the same time.

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