WALDORF – MORE THAN MAINSTREAM EDUCATION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY A PHILOSOPHER NAMED RUDOLF STEINER SUGGESTED A NEW LINE OF THOUGHT CALLED
THE EXISTENCE OF A CONNECTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND SCIENCE. TODAY IT IS THE BASIS FOR AN ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM CALLED THE WALDORF EDUCATION SYSTEM, WHICH DOES NOT HAVE THE BEST REPUTATION. When most people who are acquainted with the Waldorf school system, they think of children who have problems with learning and children who cannot behave properly. All prejudices aside, the Waldorf schools provide a good alternative to mainstream learning. Unfortunately, most people are not familiar with the exact way the system works. The general idea of the Waldorf system is to educate students in all aspects, be it practical, intellectual or artistic, while also developing morally responsible individuals. To properly achieve this, there are three stages of learning that fit the respective stages of a child’s development. Waldorf students learn many different things, from smiting and agriculture to wood and needlework. They also get introduced to cultural education in the form of expressive dance, theatre and painting. However, they do not have all those subjects simultaneously over several years, as one is used to seeing in conventional schools. Instead, they have blocks of concentrated learning within a shorter period of time. Additionally, they have to do internships in different disciplines, such as agriculture, the industrial sector and social institutions. Moreover, the education at a Waldorf school is more personal than in an average state school. The principle of teaching is quality over quantity. This pressure off of students, because they are not graded, even though there are exams. This contributes to a better learning environment for students. The Waldorf education system has been proved to work. Studies in Austria, New Zealand and Australia showed that Waldorf students are more motivated and have better grades for both science subjects and artistic activities. Furthermore, they are more likely to contribute to society by doing voluntary work. They also tend to have a more peaceful and moral mind set. However, there are a few other studies that have shown that Waldorf schools are bad at assessing students’ progress, which may be a result of the low-pressure learning environment. In conclusion, it can be said that the Waldorf system is not without its flaws. It could learn from the mainstream education systems when it comes to organisation and student assessment. But apart from that, the system has many factors that perfectly satisfy the needs of today’s society.