At the Eugene Waldorf School, like all Waldorf schools around the world, we understand that first grade readiness encompasses so much more than a birth date. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia recently wrote an article identifying both the specifics and the essential aspects of the learning that happens in a child’s first seven years, as well as the limitations of restricting first-grade readiness to academic factors alone.
This can be counterintuitive to those considerations used in mainstream education, which often fast tracks gifted children to prevent boredom. In looking at this reasoning, the Philadelphia Waldorf School reflects, “It is not the grade level of academic instruction that bores bright children, but the way in which, and at what depth, any level of academics are taught.”
One of the noteworthy aspects of Waldorf education is that we look at each child as an individual. Here at EWS, we do use Memorial Day as a birthday guideline to determine whether a child will go on to first grade. However, the process itself has built-in flexibility that allows us to consider each individual in their physical, social and cognitive development.
To read the full article and learn more about the essential learning that does happen before first grade, click here.