Polaris Parent Circle Blog
Parents Share Their Experiences, Insights and Inspirations
In 1919 war-torn Germany, the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette company wished to offer a free school for the children of the workers. It was the Freie Waldorfschule: both financially free and free from state curriculum. Attendance was open, and other families could pay to send their children.
Rudolf Steiner, Austrian Goethe scholar, was invited to establish an model that fosters sustainable social renewal in service of true human conditions, based on morally upstanding values.
He did. He trained the first teachers while overseeing the school. Today, teachers are presented foundational concepts, practical experiences and universal whole-child observation techniques. Within this context, they undertake a life-long learning journey together. As experts in the field of early-years human development, Waldorf Teachers are meant to be free of influence from other, potentially conflicted, interests. Such interests include well-meaning political, legal and financial influences. Always endeavouring to grow within the bounds of its espoused values, ‘Waldorf’ education has become a worldwide community encompassing about 1,000 schools.
INTEGRATED EDUCATION MODEL
Given its deep foundations, rooted in unquestionable truths, Waldorf Education presents appropriate educational concepts, in appropriate forms to appropriate periods of development. In practice, this means an adult’s critical thinking skills, balanced with holistic empathy, is developed by providing a focus on ROUTINE and REVERANCE for everything during youngest years (0-7), by surrounding the young child with natural and abstract BEAUTY from grade 1 to 8 and an affinity for the TRUTH in the upper grades. From birth, humans are destined to be able to direct their Will in service of healthy social renewal, as an archetypal evolutionary goal. Good handwriting, a talented paint brush stroke, knitting and carving skills is a bi-product often taken for granted. Graceful movement, social engagement, exposure to every human activity and insatiable curiosity are but natural scaffolds erected to help the individual grow into its destined, skilled, form. Only when the early years’ journey is complete can we proudly let students go on to find their purpose. Proper fruits only grow once the whole organism has gone through its natural unfolding.
JOHANNES VON GOETHE
“Hypotheses are the scaffolds which are erected in front of a building and removed when the building is completed. They are indispensable to the worker; but the worker must not mistake the scaffolding for the building.”
“Receive the child with deep respect, raise him with love, and let him go in freedom.”
The context here is simultaneously individual within the greater archetypal human condition.
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
Children learn from everything in their environment, and observed actions, more than abstract deliberations and instructions. They have an innate natural skill to observe and make our own. As much as possible, BE the model you wish your children to become, regardless of if you think they are watching. Beyond formal school, we are all on a life-long-learning journey. Our opinion of this fact does not change this archetypal reality. The organism that we are unfolds every day.
How to cultivate healthy human development? Learn about it. Support it. Live it.