DEVELOPMENT OF THE FULL POTENTIAL
Waldorf schools integrate art in all academic disciplines for children from the pre-school age to the twelfth grade in order to improve and enrich learning. Knowing the inner life of the child and monitoring their development stages are at the core of Waldorf education. Waldorf education strives to encourage lifelong learning in all students and enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.
Founded at the beginning of the 20th century, Waldorf pedagogy is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education established by Dr Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf education stem from the understanding of the human development that aims to meet the needs of a growing child. Steiner emphasized love as the basic starting point in child education. The adults surrounding the child (parents, teachers) are the child’s role models. The child learns by imitating everything they see and experience. Therefore, a Waldorf educator must work on getting to know oneself and the world around oneself so that they might be a role model worth imitating for the child.
Music, dance and theatre, writing, literature, legends and myths are not merely subject to reading and testing. They are experiential. Through such experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual abilities so that they may develop into individual confident in their goals, for the benefit of the world.
In his lectures on education, Steiner said that a child’s nature craves art – the visual, poetic and musical arts. That is why Waldorf education includes eurythmy adapted to pre-school children, plays, stories, rhythmic games in a circle, wax sculpting, working with wool and wet-on-wet painting. It also develops a sense of aesthetics. Children should also be provided with an experience of listening to various instruments. It is important to stress that children should be offered live music and speech so that they can relate to a real human being.
Following a rhythm (natural, circadian, seasonal) throughout days, weeks and years acts as a guideline for adults to show children how to harmonise rhythms and create rituals. Repeating them provides children with a sense of security and aids education.
Rudolf Steiner and the history of Waldorf education
Waldorf education has its roots in spiritual scientific research. Steiner spoke of the triple nature of man, as a being of the spirit, soul and body, whose capacities are developed in three development stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence.
In April 1919, Rudolf Steiner visited the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The German nation, defeated in the war, was on the verge of economic, social and political collapse. Steiner spoke to the workers about the need for a social reconstruction, about a new way of organising the society, along with its political and cultural life.
Emil Molt, the owner of the factory, asked Steiner to establish and manage a school for the workers’ children. Steiner accepted. In September 1919, the first independent Waldorf school (die Freie Waldorfschule) opened its doors.
- The global Waldorf list contains the current addresses of all Waldorf and Steiner schools (1,092 in 64 countries), kindergartens (1,857 in more than 70 countries), Waldorf associations and teacher training centres for Waldorf teachers and Waldorf teachers from all around the world. It is updated at least annually.
- A hundred years after the establishment of the first Waldorf school, there are more than 1,000 Waldorf schools operating in the world, nearly 2,000 kindergartens, many teacher training institutions and hundreds of centres offering further education to a large number of children in over 60 countries.
- Waldorf education is a progressive pedagogy, the fastest-growing in the world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that the Waldorf movement’s “ideals and ethical principles… correspond to those of UNESCO.”
Waldorf movement in Croatia
In Croatia, there are two Waldorf schools (in Zagreb and Rijeka) as well as numerous Waldorf kindergartens, while the Institute for Waldorf Education offers a “Study Programme for Tomorrow”, which educates Waldorf teachers who work in schools and kindergartens.
“Neven” Waldorf kindergarten in Samobor
“Duga” Waldorf kindergarten in Split
“Iskrica” Waldorf kindergarten in Split
“Pikulica” Waldorf kindergarten in Zagreb
“Šumska vila” Waldorf forest kindergarten in Zagreb
“Mala vila” kindergarten and playroom in Zagreb
“Vilingaj Snježnica” – a childminding business organised according to Waldorf education in Zagreb
In the “Grigor Vitez” kindergarten in Zagreb, “Vjeverica” kindergarten in Zagreb and “Cipelica” kindergarten in Čakovec there are education groups functioning according to the principles of Waldorf pedagogy.