the future development of each individual child and of humanity as a whole depends on health-giving experiences in the first seven years of life. therefore the work of the waldorf educator demands an ongoing process of research and self-education including anthroposophical study, meditative practice, artistic and practical activity. this education, based on an understanding of the development of human individuality, offers protection and respect for the dignity of childhood.
it includes an understanding of the unfolding development of the child from pre-birth to seven, including the unique significance of the development of walking, speaking and thinking in the first three years of life. granting these differences, waldorf programs share certain fundamental characteristics: we recognize that healthy child development unfolds most fully in the context of a community with healthy social relationships among parents, teachers and children. steiner/waldorf early childhood programs are typically not-for-profit, as an expression of the free cultural life, and are not based on self-interest or personal gain. the iaswece council members (early childhood educators and trainers from 36 countries) prepared this statement describing what we consider to be the essential characteristics of a waldorf kindergarten.
this is the basis out of which waldorf teachers work to nurture and engage each child through a curriculum and methodology that integrates academics, arts, and practical skills. entrusted with the essential task of accompanying their students on a several-year journey, waldorf grades 1-8 teachers have a role analogous to that of effective parent, guiding the children’s formal academic learning while awakening their moral development and increasing their awareness of their place in the world.
when it’s time to teach the merits, uses, and hows of technology, waldorf school teachers do so. the goal in waldorf education is to expose children to a wide range of experiences and to develop within them many interests and capabilities. this inclusive and forward-thinking spirit of idealism, commitment, and engagement with the world continues to be a hallmark of waldorf education in our time.
the mission of the waldorf early childhood association of north america is to foster a new cultural impulse for the work with the young child from pre-birth in waldorf nursery-kindergartens, home care programs, childcare centers, parent-child programs and other settings, foundations are laid for later learning and waldorf education begins with the premise that childhood is made up of three distinct stages of roughly seven years each—birth to age seven (early childhood),, .
the fifth essential element of a waldorf early childhood education is the fostering of relationships based on love, respect, and care for each child as unique waldorf preschools often feature gardens and outdoor play spaces where children are taught to grow and care for plants and animals. this fits nursery school, kindergarten, and parent & child programs at our garden city, ny campus. protecting and nourishing childhood as the foundation for the, .
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