The Waldorf approach is rooted in the distinct stages of development all children experience. Utilizing specific methods that work with the unique learning needs and opportunities of each stage, Waldorf students are encouraged to seek not just knowledge, but deep understanding.
Waldorf Developmental Stages
Imitation – The Early Years
We’ve all witnessed it – the infant staring intently into her mother’s face, smiling when she smiles, frowning when she frowns. That instinct enables a child to learn to walk, talk, eat, draw, read and write. Later in this period they mimic the thoughts, values and ideas of those around them. That’s a lot of learning to pack in to a short period of time during which our awareness of the power of imitation is a key factor in encouraging a child’s progress.
Imagination – The Second Stage
In this period a child’s imagination is dominant but the ability to reason and use logic are also developing. To empower these newly forming skills, we harness a child’s vibrant imagination, the place where they feel most comfortable, to introduce more complex reasoning tasks. Their own stories and ideas become fertile ground for problem-solving and critical thinking.
Critical Thinking & Judgment – The Third Stage
As a child enters adolescence, there begins a search for truth. Idealistic and perhaps still insecure about their sense of self, children in this age group enter a time of profound emotional growth that can be confusing and at times, frustrating. They are searching for their own voices and learning to make decisions based on their own judgment, experiences and feelings. This is where positive role models and a nurturing environment can play a vital role as children navigate their way towards adulthood.