Video produced by Waldorf School of the Peninsula – used by permission

My daughter spent 4 ½ amazing years at Mountain Song Community School where who she is was just as important as her academic skills. The focus on the student as a whole person was such as refreshing experience after our time in the traditional public schools. My husband and I were both public school teachers seeking something better for our children and we were lucky to find Mountain Song for our youngest child. MSCS has shown us that a truly holistic model is not only possible but highly effective.
John Doe

The Difference

 In public education, you frequently hear the term multiple intelligences referring to how children learn and the different approaches you have to take to meet the learning styles of the child. In Waldorf education the rich environment we create directly addresses the concept of multiple intelligences and helps to give to each student the support they need in a rich art infused environment where they can learn and grow to meet their highest potential.

  • A Waldorf inspired education– A balance of head, heart and hands; or of thinking, feeling, and doing.
  • Arts integrated teaching method incorporating story telling, drawing, painting, modeling, music, and movement into lesson presentations.
  • The curriculum reflects developmental rhythms and the child’s changing consciousness through the grades.
  • Strong community-family-school partnership in support of the children.
  • Multiculturalism incorporated into the social aspects of learning to help young children keep an open mind and gain a deeper understanding of other cultures.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best overall statement on what is unique about Waldorf education is to be found in the stated goals of the schooling: “to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives”.

The aim of Waldorf schooling is to educate the whole child, “head, heart and hands”. The curriculum is as broad as time will allow, and balances academics subjects with artistic and practical activities.

Waldorf teachers are dedicated to creating a genuine love of learning within each child. By freely using arts and activities in the service of teaching academics, an internal motivation to learn is developed in the students, doing away with the need for competitive testing and grading.

The Waldorf methods follow children’s developmental rhythm; kindergarten experience emphasizes a good deal of cultivation of pre-academic skills, and minimal academics in first grade. Reading is not taught until second or third grade, though the letters are introduced carefully in first and second.

During the elementary school years (grades 1-8) the students have a class (or “main lesson”) teacher who stays with the same class for (ideally) the entire eight years of elementary school.

Art Integration – Certain activities which are often considered “frills” at mainstream schools are central at Waldorf schools: art, music, gardening, and foreign languages, to name a few. In the younger grades, all subjects are introduced through artistic mediums, because the children respond better to this medium than to dry lecturing and rote learning. All children learn to play recorder and to knit.

There are no “textbooks” as such in the first through fifth grades. All children have “main lesson books”, which are their own workbooks which they fill in during the course of the year. They essentially produce their own “textbooks” which record their experiences and what they’ve learned. Upper grades use textbooks to supplement their main lesson work.

Learning in a Waldorf school is a non-competitive activity. There are no grades given at the elementary level; the teacher writes a detailed evaluation of the child at the end of each school year.

The use of electronic media, particularly television, by young children is strongly discouraged in Waldorf schools.

The main reason is that Waldorf schools honor and protect the wonder of childhood. Every effort is expended to make Waldorf schools safe, secure and nurturing environments for the children, and to protect their childhoods from harmful influences from the broader society.

Secondly, Waldorf education has a consistent philosophy of child development underlying the curriculum. All subjects are introduced in age-appropriate fashion.

Finally, Waldorf schools produce graduates who are academically advantaged with respect to their public school counterparts, and who consistently gain admission to top universities.

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