How do Waldorf graduates compare to their peers?
Overall, Waldorf graduates find themselves ahead of peers by eighth grade. The Harvard Education Letter discussed results of a study showing that “Waldorf students tend to score…equal to, or considerably above, district peers by eighth grade.” Some students experience a short period of adjustment as they adapt to textbooks and standardized tests in ninth grade. However, Waldorf graduates are known for their resilience, curiosity, passion for learning and respect for other points of view.
When and how do you teach reading?
Waldorf early childhood teachers carefully lay foundations for literacy through storytelling, singing, playacting and movement activities. More than just fun and games, these exercises cultivate listening skills, mental imagery and language acuity in a fun, age-appropriate environment. Writing is introduced in first grade, after children have fully developed eye-tracking, and reading follows naturally with regular practice. This is because the children are motivated to decode words on a page and now have the ability to understand contexts, draw inferences and create corresponding mental imagery. By fourth grade, students’ reading skills are on par with their mainstream peers. Before eighth grade our students often surpass their mainstream peers in comprehension.
What is your community like?
The Eugene Waldorf School reflects its local community. Our families represent many different professional, cultural, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. Though diverse, we all share in the mission to inspire and educate our children, celebrate and protect childhood, and support each other.
“Waldorf students tend to score…equal to, or considerably above, district peers by eighth grade,” according to a study published by the Harvard Education Letter.
Is there a spiritual aspect to the education?
Yes, but we are not religious or sectarian. We view humans as spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional beings. Values such as respect for self, others, nature and a higher purpose are upheld in the classrooms. The Eugene Waldorf School actively respects, welcomes and supports all faiths and creeds.
What is the Eugene Waldorf School faculty like?
Waldorf education fosters excellence in teaching because our schools actively support the growth of our teachers’ abilities, while respecting their independence. Within the curriculum, teachers decide how they present each subject. This creative autonomy helps bring out the truth, beauty and wonder inherent in the curriculum to best inspire lifelong learning.
What are the benefits of having the same teacher for eight years?
The one-teacher model promotes a deep connection between student and teacher, and leads to a more personalized education for each student. It also helps form a cohesive classroom environment that keeps the focus on learning. Waldorf teachers are trained both to work on their inner selves and to learn to balance their relationships with each student. Just as with a parent and child, if a teacher and a student are struggling to work together, it is the teacher who takes on the responsibility of working with the student to help develop a strong and positive relationship. Building and maintaining relationships for eight years—between teacher and student, and student to student within a class—cultivates strong interpersonal skills.
Who founded Waldorf education and what is it based on?
Waldorf education is based on anthroposophy—the philosophical and pedagogical perspective founded by Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophy informs Waldorf education, giving energy, enthusiasm and courage to the work of our teachers, and encompasses a perspective on childhood development that is unique and eminently practical.