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Waldorf education (also known as Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf education) is a pedagogical movement based upon the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy.[1] The first Waldorf school was founded in 1919; Waldorf education is now practiced in over 950[2][3] established independent Waldorf schools and 1400 independent Waldorf kindergartens[4] located in approximately sixty countries throughout the world, making up one of the world's largest independent educational systems, as well as in "Waldorf-method" government-funded schools and in homeschooling environments.[5] Waldorf methods have also been adopted by teachers in some other state and private schools.[6][7][8]


Waldorf educationalists emphasize the role of the imagination in both teaching and learning.[5][9][10] Studies of Waldorf education describe it as aiming to develop[11] and succeeding at developing[12] thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic aspect and to provide young people the basis with which to develop into free, moral[13] and integrated individuals.[14][15][5][16] Waldorf education seeks to integrate practical, artistic, and intellectual elements into the teaching of all subjects.[17] Learning is interdisciplinary and coordinated with "natural rhythms of everyday life". Teachers are given creative freedom to define curricula. The education's explicit task is to aid every child to unfold his or her unique destiny.[18]

Pedagogy and theory of child development Edit

The structure of the education follows Steiner's pedagogical model of child development,[19] which views childhood as divided overall into seven-year developmental stages, each having its own learning requirements;[20] the stages are similar to those described by Piaget.[9] According to Waldorf pedagogy:

  • early childhood learning is largely experiential, imitative and sensory-based.[21] The education emphasizes learning through practical activities.[22]</li>
  • Elementary school years (age 7-14), learning is regarded as artistic and imaginative. In these years, the approach emphasizes developing children's "feeling life" and artistic expression.[23][20]</li>
  • During adolescence, to meet the developing capacity for abstract thought and conceptual judgment[22] the emphasis is on learning through intellectual understanding and ethical thinking, including taking social responsibility.[20]

Pre-school and kindergarten: birth to age 6 or 7Edit

Waldorf schools approach learning in early childhood through imitation and example.[24][25] In Waldorf schools oral language development is addressed through songs, poems and movement games. These include daily story time when a teacher usually tells a fairytale, often "by heart."[26] Extensive time is given for guided free play in a classroom environment that is homelike and includes natural materials;[20] such an environment is considered by Waldorf pedagogues as supportive of the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of the child through assimilative learning.[27]

Waldorf early childhood education emphasizes the importance of children experiencing the rhythms of the year and seasons, including seasonal festivals drawn from a variety of traditions. Waldorf schools usually celebrate Michaelmas and Martinmas in the autumn, Christmas in winter, Easter and May Day in the spring, and St. John's Day in summer.[28]

Waldorf kindergartens and lower grades discourage exposure to media influences such as television, computers and recorded music, as they believe these to be harmful to cognitive development.[21][29]

Elementary education: age 6/7 to 14Edit

Waldorf classroom

Waldorf elementary school classroom

In Waldorf schools elementary education may begin when the child is nearing or already seven years of age. The elementary school centers around a multi-disciplinary arts-based curriculum that includes visual arts, drama, artistic movement, and both vocal and instrumental music.[22] Lessons in two foreign languages, often German and either French or Spanish in English-speaking countries.[30]

Throughout the elementary years, new material is introduced through stories and images, and academic instruction is integrated with the visual and plastic arts, music and movement.[31] There is little reliance on standardized textbooks;[32] instead, each child creates his or her own illustrated summaries of coursework in book form.[33] The school day generally starts with a one-and-a-half to two hour lesson that focuses on a single main subject over the course of about a month's time[12] and generally includes recitations of poetry, including a verse written by Steiner for the start of a school day.[28]

An objective of most Waldorf schools is to have a single teacher loop with a class throughout the elementary school years, teaching at least the principal academic lessons.[12]

Four temperamentsEdit

Waldorf teachers use the concept of the four temperaments to help interpret, understand and relate to the behaviour and personalities of children under their tutelage. The temperaments, choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic, and sanguine,[32] are thought to express four basic personality types, each possessing its own fundamental way of regarding and interacting with the world.

Non-competitive environment in lower gradesEdit

Waldorf elementary education allows for individual variations in the pace of learning, based upon the expectation that a child will grasp a concept or achieve a skill when he or she is ready.[34] Cooperation takes priority over competition.[18] This approach also extends to physical education; competitive team sports are introduced in upper grades.[21]

Secondary educationEdit

In most Waldorf schools, pupils enter secondary education when they are about fourteen years old. The education is now wholly carried out by specialist teachers. Though the education now focuses much more strongly on academic subjects,[35] students normally continue to take courses in art, music, and crafts. The curriculum is meant to focus on helping the student develop a sense of competence as well as responsibility and purpose.[36] Developing understanding of ethical principles and creating social responsibility is stressed now as well.[20] At the secondary level, pupils are encouraged to develop their own independent and creative thinking processes.[35]


Main article: Curriculum of the Waldorf schools

There are widely-agreed guidelines for the Waldorf curriculum,[37][38][39] supported by the schools' common principles;[30] nevertheless, independent Waldorf schools are autonomous institutions not required to follow a prescribed curriculum. Government-funded Waldorf-method schools may be required to incorporate aspects of state curricula.


Main article: Eurythmy

Eurythmy, a movement art, is largely unique to the Waldorf schools. Usually accompanying spoken texts or music, eurythmy includes elements of role play and dance, and is designed to provide individuals and classes a "sense of integration and harmony".[18]

Standardized testingEdit

Waldorf pedagogues generally consider standardized tests problematic, especially in the elementary years. Despite their lessened exposure to standardized testing, U.S. Waldorf pupils' SAT scores have usually come above the national average, especially on verbal measures.[21] Studies comparing students' performance on college-entrance examinations in Germany found that as a group, Waldorf graduates passed the exam in percentages far greater than students graduating from state-sponsored schools.[21][32] Educational successes of private Waldorf schools may partially reflect the social status of their students.[32]

Origins and historyEdit


Growth in the number of Waldorf schools world-wide

Rudolf Steiner wrote his first book on education, The Education of the Child, in 1907. The first school based upon these principles was opened in 1919 in response to a request by Emil Molt, the owner and managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Stuttgart, Germany. This is the source of the name Waldorf, which is now trademarked for use in association with the educational method. The Stuttgart school grew rapidly, opening parallel classes, and by 1938 schools inspired by the original school or its pedagogical principles had been founded in the USA, UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Hungary, and in other towns in Germany. Political interference from the Nazi regime limited and ultimately closed most Waldorf schools in Europe; the affected schools, including the original school, were reopened after the Second World War.[40] The growth in school numbers through 2005 is shown in the accompanying chart.

Waldorf schools have traditionally been numerically and culturally centered in Europe; the number of non-European schools has been slowly increasing, however, leading to a trend toward reinterpreting the formerly Euro-centric curriculum.[41]


One of Waldorf education's central premises is that all schools (not only Waldorf schools) should be both self-governing and grant teachers a high degree of creative autonomy within the school.[31][19][42] Most Waldorf schools are not directed by a principal or head teacher, but rather by a number of groups, including:

  • The college of teachers, who decide on pedagogical issues, normally on the basis of consensus. This group is usually open to full-time teachers who have been with the school for a prescribed period of time. Each school is accordingly unique in its approach, as it may act solely on the basis of the decisions of the college of teachers to set policy or other actions pertaining to the school and its students.[28]
  • The board of trustees, who decide on governance issues, especially those relating to school finances and legal issues.

Parents are encouraged to take an active part in non-curricular aspects of school life.[18]

There are coordinating bodies for Waldorf education at both the national (e.g. the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland) and international level (e.g. International Association for Waldorf Education and The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE)). These organizations certify the use of the registered names "Waldorf" and "Steiner school" and offer accreditations, often in conjunction with regional independent school associations.[43] Some Waldorf schools are independently accredited by governmental authorities.[44]

Social missionEdit

Social purposeEdit

Waldorf education was developed by Rudolf Steiner as an attempt to establish a school system that would not only facilitate the inclusive, broadly based, balanced development of children, but would also act in a socially responsible and transformative fashion.[45]

Intercultural links in socially polarized communitiesEdit

Waldorf schools have linked polarized communities in a variety of settings.

  • Under the apartheid regime in South Africa, the Waldorf school was one of the few schools in which children of both races attended the same classes, and this despite the ensuing loss of state aid. The Waldorf training college in Cape Town, the Novalis Institute, was described by UNESCO as an organization which had a great consequence in the conquest of apartheid.[46][47]
  • In Israel, the Harduf Kibbutz Waldorf school includes both Jewish and Arab faculty and students and has extensive contact with the surrounding Arab communities;[48] it also runs an Arab-language Waldorf teacher training.[49] A joint Arab-Jewish Waldorf kindergarten has also been founded in Hilf (near Haifa).[50]
  • In Brazil, a Waldorf teacher, Ute Craemer, founded a community service organization providing training and work, health care and Waldorf education in the poverty-stricken areas of the city called Favelas.[51]

Links to UNESCOEdit

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, states that the Waldorf movement's "ideals and ethical principles...correspond to those of UNESCO,"[52] and has chosen a number of UNESCO Waldorf schools in Germany, Africa and Asia[53] to be associated project schools.

UNESCO also sponsored an exhibit about the Waldorf schools[28] at the 44th Session of their International Conference on Education in Geneva. An exhibition catalogue was published by UNESCO under the title Waldorf Education Exhibition Catalog On Occasion of the 4th Session of the International Conference on Education of UNESCO in Geneva.[54]

Spiritual foundationsEdit

Anthroposophy's role in Waldorf educationEdit

Main article: Anthroposophy

Both historically and philosophically, Waldorf education grows out of anthroposophy's view of child development, which stands as the basis for the educational theory, methodology of teaching and curriculum. Waldorf pedagogics see that the teacher has "a sacred task in helping each child's soul and spirit grow".[19] Steiner's "extra-sensory anthropology" has been the source of criticisms of Waldorf education in Germany.[32]

While anthroposophy is not generally taught as a subject, the degree to which anthroposophy is described by the schools as the philosophical underpinning of Waldorf education typically varies from school to school. This has at times, led to parents objecting that the role of anthroposophy in the educational method had not been disclosed to them, prior to enrollment.[21]

One study noted that many Waldorf teachers display an uncritical attitude toward anthroposophy and questioned the pedagogy's reliance on a single theory of child development.[55]

Spirituality and religionEdit

Throughout the curriculum, Waldorf education is implicitly infused with spirituality.[18] The curriculum includes a wide range of religious traditions without being oriented in favor of any single tradition.[40][18]

In Germany, where religious classes are a mandatory school offering in some federal states (although never obligatory for individual students to take),[56] each religious confession provides its own teachers for the Waldorf schools' religion classes; the schools also offer an open religion class for those who have no confessional affiliation. Religion classes are universally absent from American Waldorf schools.[57]

Celebrations and festivalsEdit

Festivals play an important role in Waldorf schools, which generally celebrate seasonal observances by showing work of students in the class. The faculty of each individual school decides which festivals and celebrations would best meet the needs and traditions of the students in their particular school. Waldorf theories and practices have been adapted by schools to the historical and cultural traditions of the surrounding communities, whereby there is wide variation to what extent educators detach from Waldorf education's traditionally European Christian orientation.[11] Examples of such adaptation include the Waldorf schools in Israel and Japan, which celebrate festivals of their particular spiritual heritage, and classes in the Milwaukee Urban Waldorf school, which have adopted traditions with African American and Native American heritages.[18]

Reception and ControversyEdit

Reception by mainstream educationalistsEdit

  • Dr. Ernest Boyer has described Waldorf education as having an "unparalleled" integration of the arts into traditional content.[58]
  • Thomas Armstrong sees Waldorf education curriculum as organically embodying Howard Gardner's seven intelligences in a more thorough way than other schools.[59]
  • Professor Robert Peterkin has stated that in his opinion Waldorf education holds principles which are in agreement with goals for educating all children. He sees it as a healing education.[60]
  • Thomas Nielsen of the University of Canberra articulated seven forms of imaginative teaching used in Waldorf education - exploration, empathy, story-telling, arts, discussion, drama and routine - that he suggests mainstream educators could valuably employ.[61]
  • UK educational evaluators see the Waldorf approach conforming to the principal direction of educational theory based upon Comenius and Pestalozzi.[19]

Some Waldorf methods have also been adopted by teachers in both public/state and other private schools.[62]

Reading and literacy Edit

Current mainstream pedagogical methods in the U.S. call for teaching reading readiness beginning in preschool for ages 3-5. According to the U.S. Department of Education, "School readiness is a goal around which the entire nation has enthusiastically rallied.... However, there is more that needs to be done. Many young children are still entering kindergarten without the prerequisite language, cognitive, and early reading and writing skills they need in order to benefit fully from early formal reading instruction."[63]

In contrast, the Waldorf curriculum typically does not include direct reading or writing instruction until age 7.[64] Todd Oppenheimer, a freelance journalist,[65] contrasted the Waldorf schools' approach to reading to the approach used in most other American schools:

Emphasis on the creative also guides the aspect of a Waldorf education that probably frightens parents more than any other: the relaxed way that children learn to read. Whereas students at more-competitive schools are mastering texts in first grade, sometimes even in kindergarten, most Waldorf students aren't reading fully until the third grade. And if they're still struggling at that point, many Waldorf teachers don't worry. In combination with another Waldorf oddity -- sending children to first grade a year later than usual -- this means that students may not be reading until age nine or ten, several years after many of their peers. ...

It's no surprise, then, that Waldorf parents occasionally panic. Others may distrust Waldorf education because they have heard tales of parents who pulled their children out of a Waldorf school in the third grade when the kids still couldn't read. "That's like a standing joke," [one parent], the mother of two graduates of the Rudolf Steiner School, told [Oppenheimer]. "People say, 'Oh, can your kids read?' There was no concerted effort to drum certain words into the kids. And that was the point." Before teaching sound and word recognition, Waldorf teachers concentrate on exercises to build up a child's love of language. The technique seems to work, even in public schools. Barbara Warren, a teacher at John Morse, a public school near Sacramento, says that two years after Waldorf methods were introduced in her fourth-grade class of mostly minority children, the number of students who read at grade level doubled, rising from 45 to 85 percent. "I didn't start by making them read more," Warren says. "I started telling stories, and getting them to recite poetry that they learned by listening, not by reading. They became incredible listeners." Many Waldorf parents recall that their children were behind their friends in non-Waldorf schools but somehow caught up in the third or fourth grade, and then suddenly read with unusual fervor.[21]

Child psychologist David Elkind cites evidence that late readers ultimately fare better at reading and other subjects than early readers.[21][66] Elkind also separately examined Steiner and the Waldorf schools' non-academic focus with hands-on exploration and conceptualization in early childhood education.[66]

According to Lucy Calkins, a reading specialist at the Teachers College of Columbia University, in most public schools the students who start reading later tend to do worse. Calkins also says that Waldorf students might also benefit slightly if they started earlier, but stated that she "would not necessarily be worried in a Waldorf school." Adding, "The foundation of literacy is talk and play."[21]

Oppenheimer also cautions "the system isn't fail-safe," noting that faith in the Waldorf system for reading instruction can lead teachers to overlook genuine learning disabilities including dyslexia, in some students.[21]

Concerns over immunizationsEdit

See also: PARSIFAL study
and vaccine controversy

Rudolf Steiner (the founder of Waldorf education) suggested that children's spirits benefited from being tempered in the fires of a good inflammation.[67] A report about a growing trend against childhood immunizations describes parents of a Waldorf school in Colorado who believed vaccinations had harmful effects.[67] Concerns have been raised that unvaccinated students, some of whom attended Waldorf schools, may have been compromising public health by spreading disease, even among vaccinated populations.[68][69][70]

In response, The European Council of Waldorf Schools, representing 630 of the 900 Waldorf schools world wide, [71] has stated unequivocally that opposition to immunisation per se – or resistance to national strategies for childhood immunisation in general – forms no part of the goals of Waldorf education. It also stated that a matter such as whether or not to inoculate a child against communicable disease should be a matter for parental choice, and that insofar as schools have any role to play in these matters, it is in making available a range of balanced information both from the appropriate national agencies and from qualified health professionals with expertise in the field. [72]

Controversies about publicly-funded Waldorf methods schoolsEdit


In 1998 a lawsuit was filed in California by a small group, PLANS, against two government school districts which employed Waldorf methods in two of their schools. PLANS argued that publicly-financed Waldorf methods schools violated the principle of the separation of church and state in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The group also protested at other government schools in California, claiming the Waldorf training and methods were rooted in a New Age, cult-like religion.[73][74]

At the trial, held in 2005, the court ruled against PLANS, dismissing the case on its merits. The judgment followed 30 minutes of attorney questioning during which PLANS told the trial judge that it could present no witnesses qualified to testify in the case who met the requirements of prior evidence rulings. PLANS appealed the outcome in 2006.[75][76]

Today there are 20 public Waldorf methods schools in the state of California.

Victoria, Australia

Publicly-funded Steiner schools in Victoria, Australia were challenged by parents and religious experts over concerns that the schools derive from a spiritual system, anthroposophy; parents and administrators of the school, as well as Victorian Department of Education authorities, presented divergent views as to whether spiritual or religious dimensions influence pedagogical practice. If present, these would contravene the secular basis of the public education system.[77] A number of parents also say their schools discouraged immunizations.[78]

A number of State-run schools in Victoria run "Steiner-influenced" programs in parallel with standard curricula. Possibly the first was at East Bentleigh Primary school, which commenced the program in 1991. Controversy has arisen at a school in Footscray that introduced a Steiner program in 2001, despite concerns raised in 2000 by two curriculum officers from the Victorian Department of Education. These officials judged several aspects of the Steiner approach, such as reading instruction and the ban on computers and multimedia in primary school, to be inconsistent with or contradictory to the government curriculum and educational policies.[79][80] A spokesman for the Department of Education stated in 2007 that these views were not the official assessment of the Department.[77] Subsequent divisions among parents in the school have prompted the state to dissolve the school council in 2006 and initiate an inquiry. Also in 2006, the State Government formally changed departmental policy to allow programs such as Steiner/Waldorf, Montessori and Reggio Emilia streams to be run in state schools.[79]

There are currently 10 Steiner programs operating in government-run schools in Australia.[78]

Studies of Waldorf educationEdit

U.K. comparison with mainstream educationEdit

A UK Department for Education and Skills report noted significant differences in curriculum and pedagogical approach between Waldorf/Steiner and mainstream schools and recommended that schools in the state sector could benefit from the following elements of Waldorf education:[81]

  • early introduction and approach to modern foreign languages
  • the combination of block (class) and subject teaching for younger children
  • development of speaking and listening through an emphasis on oral work
  • the good pacing of lessons through an emphasis on rhythm
  • the emphasis on child development guiding the curriculum and examinations
  • the approach to art and creativity
  • the attention given to teachers’ reflective activity and heightened awareness (in collective child study for example)
  • collegial structure of leadership and management, including collegial study.

There were also aspects of mainstream practice which, the researchers recommended, could inform good practice in Waldorf schools:

  • management skills and ways of improving organizational and administrative efficiency
  • classroom management
  • work with secondary school-age children
  • assessment and record keeping.

Australian study of academic success at universityEdit

An Australian study comparing the academic performance of students at university level found that students who had been at Waldorf schools significantly outperformed their peers from non-Waldorf schools in both the humanities and the sciences.[82]

U.S. Waldorf schools surveyEdit

A 1995 survey of U.S. Waldorf schools found that parents overall experienced the Waldorf schools as achieving their major aims for students and describe the education as one that "integrates the aesthetic, spiritual and interpersonal development of the child with rigorous intellectual development", preserving students enthusiasm for learning so that they develop a better sense of self-confidence and self-direction. Some parents described upper grades teachers as overextended, without sufficient time to relate to parental needs and input, and wished for more open and reciprocal parent-school support. Both parents and students sometimes described colleges of teachers as being insular and unresponsive.

The students overall were positive about the school and its differences; experienced the school as a "community of friends"; and spoke of the opportunity to grow and develop through the broad range of activities offered, to learn when they were ready to learn, to develop imagination, and to come to understand the world as well as oneself. Many students spoke of the kindness of their peers and of learning to think things through clearly for themselves, not to jump to conclusions, and to remain positive in the face of problems and independent of pressure from others to think as they do. Improvements the students suggested included more after-school sports programs, more physical education classes, more preparation for standardized testing, a class in world politics and computer classes.

Faculty, parents and students were united in expressing a desire to improve the diversity of the student body, especially by increasing representation of minority groups such as African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.[11]

South African Case Study 1995Edit

A Master's degree Case Study was conducted in 1995 in South Africa entitled: The Rudolf Steiner approach to education: A qualitative study with particular reference to the pre-primary and primary phase of a Waldorf school in KwaZulu-Natal. Abstract of thesis: The location of this work within the holistic world view or the symbolic science paradigm indicates that the case study approach will be most likely to maximize valid findings. The theoretical and evaluative demands of this study precluded the use of more quantitative methods. The aim was to attempt a demystification of Waldorf Education by means of in-depth interpretation and reconstruction, in other words, using descriptions which have contextual validity. The pre-primary and primary phases of a school in KwaZulu Natal was studied. The perspective of Walker using condensed fieldwork was employed. Despite the limitations of this mode of study it is hoped to give the reader an expectation of what a Waldorf School is like. 

Knox, C. A. (1995). The Rudolf Steiner approach to education: A qualitative study with particular reference to the pre-primary and primary phase of a Waldorf school in KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal. Available P - Cecil Renaud (Main) Library (Pietermaritzburg Campus) 370.1 KNO V.1 1 Book On Shelf. 370.1 KNO V.2 1 Book On Shelf.

Milwaukee Urban Waldorf SchoolEdit

Dr. Richard R. Doornek, Educational Curriculum specialist with the Milwaukee Public Schools in Wisconsin, reported in 1996 that since switching to Waldorf methods their Urban Waldorf Elementary School has shown an increase in parental involvement, a reduction in suspensions, improvements in standardized test scores for both reading and writing (counter to the district trend), while expenditures per pupil are below many regular district programs.[83] The school converted to Waldorf methods in 1991, when it had 350 students, about 90% of them African American. On the Milwaukee public schools standard third-grade evaluation, the number of children reading above grade level went from 26% in 1992 to 63% in 1995.[18]

In 1996 a team of seven mainstream educational researchers conducted a study of the school. In a report published at the conclusion of the study, the school was cited as a positive learning environment, in which the students as well as their background seemed to be treated with respect, and where pupils are both encouraged and trusted to be responsible. The report quoted the school principal's evaluation of the Waldorf approach: "Practical and effective, not first and foremost in academics, but in allowing children to be children again...Waldorf gives you connection to your environment, to nature, to school, to others."

The article also discussed the challenge of meeting societal racism and unsuspected biases of teachers and students in modern-day America:[18]

Many of the children seemed to have a distorted and negative picture of blackness, an internalized prejudice that runs deep ... Too often, we heard degrading terms...both in the classroom and at play ... The staff and faculty at Urban Waldorf represented a wide gamut of opinions on race and the possible presence of racism at the school. Some were quick to point to what they thought were unquestionable cases of racism inherent in Waldorf philosophy and practice, and others were as quick to deny the possibility of racism at any level, in any practice.

The research noted that teachers "have found a way to put respect for the children before other considerations", and that the school was attempting to combat racism:

They also understand that they must try. And so we found teacher study groups on African American culture (particularly on storytelling and folklore), and various individual projects on urban life ... the Urban Waldorf faculty has a commendable level of engagement with the difficulties of racism.

A further study commented on Waldorf's adaptable and individualized curriculum as being a factor in the school's success in addressing children of poverty and children of color, while criticizing the split between private and public Waldorf schools and the lack of greater efforts to implement Waldorf methods in public education.[84]

Other studiesEdit

  • An Australian study found that Waldorf-educated adolescents were more oriented towards improving social conditions and had more positive visions of the future than those who attended state schools.[86]
  • A Swedish study comparing several hundred Waldorf students (grade 9 and 12) to corresponding students in Swedish public schools reported that the proportion of the Waldorf pupils who supported counteracting or stopping Nazism and racism was considerably greater (93%) than that of the pupils at municipal secondary schools (72%).[87]
  • A study of 6,600 children from five European countries, ages 5 to 13, showed a lower incidence of allergies amongst children attending Waldorf schools, an effect which correlated with the extent to which they lived an "anthroposophic lifestyle" in terms of restrictive use of antibiotics, antipyretics, and measles, mumps and rubella vaccination.[88] A second, Swedish study found the incidence of atopy or allergy-like symptoms in pupils in Waldorf schools to be half (13%) of that in neighboring non-Waldorf schools (25%).[89]

See alsoEdit


  1. "anthroposophy."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD 10 Jan. 2007
  2. List of schools worldwide
  3. Rene Upitis, "In Praise of Romance", Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, Vol.1, No. 1, Spring 2003, pp. 53-66.
  4. UNESCO 2001 Annex VI
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Thomas William Nielsen, Rudolf Steiner's Pedagogy Of Imagination: A Case Study Of Holistic Education, Peter Lang Pub Inc 2004 ISBN 3039103423
  6. The Waldorf Promise, "a CINE Golden Eagle Award winning documentary on the success of Waldorf Methods in public schools"
  7. Peter Schneider, Einführung in die Waldorfpädagogik, ISBN 3-608-93006-X, p. 16; "more than 2,000 participants per year, most of whom are state-school teachers, attend summer Waldorf pedagogical seminars in Stuttgart, Herne and Hamburg."
  8. Stephanie Luster Bravmann, Nancy Stewart Green, Pamela Bolotin Joseph, Edward R. Mikel, Mark A. Windschitl, Cultures of Curriculum, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. p81, "[Steiner, who] developed the Waldorf School system of education, is another whose ideas are reproduced, often less in whole than in an expanding number of American public and private schools today."
  9. 9.0 9.1 Carrie Y. Nordlund, "Art Experiences in Waldorf Education", Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia, May 2006
  10. Southworth, Cheryl Ridgeway, Geometry, fir trees and princes: Imaginative cognition in education, Ph.D. dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988, 294 pages; AAT 8823477
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Freda Easton, The Waldorf impulse in education:Schools as communities that educate the whole child by integrating artistic and academic work, Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University Teachers College, 1995
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Ogletree, Earl J., Creativity and Waldorf Education: A Study.
  13. Hether, Christine Anne, The moral reasoning of high school seniors from diverse educational settings, Ph.D. dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, 2001, 209 pages; AAT 3044032
  14. Peter Schneider, Einführung in die Waldorfpädogogik, Klett-Cotta 1987, ISBN 3-608-93006-X
  15. "The overarching goal is to help children build a moral impulse within so they can choose in freedom what it means to live morally." - Armon, Joan, "The Waldorf Curriculum as a Framework for Moral Education: One Dimension of a Fourfold System.", (Abstract), Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997), p. 1
  16. Ronald V. Iannone, Patricia A. Obenauf, "Toward Spirituality in Curriculum and Teaching", page 737, Education, Vol 119 Issue 4, 1999
  17. Rist and Schneider, Integrating Vocational and General Education: A Rudolf Steiner School, Unesco Institute for Education, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 92-820-1024-4, p. 150
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 Ray McDermott, Mary E. Henry, Cynthia Dillard, Paul Byers, Freda Easton, Ida Oberman, Bruce Uhrmacher, "Waldorf education in an inner-city public school", Urban Review, June 1996
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Woods, Ashley and Woods, Steiner Schools in England, University of West of England, Bristol: Research Report RR645, section 1.5, "Findings from the survey and case studies"
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Carolyn Pope Edwards, "Three Approaches from Europe", Early Childhood Research and Practice, Spring 2002
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 21.8 21.9 Todd Oppenheimer, Schooling the Imagination, Atlantic Monthly, Sept. 99 (mirror)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Making Contact: An Exploration of Focused Attention Between Teacher and Students", Curriculum Inquiry, Vol 23, No 4, Winter 1994, pp433-444.
  23. Thomas William Nielsen, "Rudolf Steiner's Pedagogy of Imagination: A Phenomenological Case Study", Peter Lang Publisher 2004
  24. Ginsburg and Opper, Piaget's Theory of Intellectual Development, ISBN 0-13-675140-7, pp. 39-40
  25. Rist and Schneider, Integrating Vocational and Generla Education: A Rudolf Steiner School, Unesco Institute for Education, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 92-820-1024-4, p. 146
  26. Iona H. Ginsburg, "Jean Piaget and Rudolf Steiner: Stages of Child Development and Implications for Pedagogy", Teachers College Record Volume 84 Number 2, 1982, p. 327-337.
  27. Rist and Schneider, Integrating Vocational and General Education: A Rudolf Steiner School, Unesco Institute for Education, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 92-820-1024-4, p. 144
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Ida Oberman, "Waldorf History: A Case Study of Institutional Memory", Paper presented to Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association, IL Mar 24-28, 1997, published US Department of Education - Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
  29. Earl J. Ogletree, Creativity and Waldorf Education: A Study 1991, ERIC #ED364440, op. cit., p14
  30. 30.0 30.1 Woods, Ashley and Woods, Steiner Schools in England, University of West of England, Bristol: Research Report RR645, section 5.2, "Curriculum"
  31. 31.0 31.1 Freda Easton, "Educating the Whole Child, 'Head, Heart and Hands': Learning from the Waldorf Experience", Theory into Practice by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., pp 87-94.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Ullrich, Heiner, "Rudolf Steiner" "Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education, UNESCO: International Bureau of education, vol XXIV, no. 3/4, 1994, pp. 555-572
  33. TRESD Waldorf methods charter schools
  34. P. Bruce Uhrmacher, "Uncommon Schooling: A Historical Look at Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf Education", Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Winter, 1995), pp. 381-406
  35. 35.0 35.1 Rist and Schneider, Integrating Vocational and General Education: A Rudolf Steiner School, Unesco Institute for Education, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 92-820-1024-4, pp. 146-8
  36. Freda Easton, The Waldorf impulse in education:Schools as communities that educate the whole child by integrating artistic and academic work, Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University Teachers College, 1995, p. 144
  37. Martyn Rawson and Tobias Richter, The Educational Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum,
  38. E. A. Karl Stockmeyer, Rudolf Steiner's Curriculum for Waldorf Schools, Steiner Schools Fellowship, 1985
  39. Rena Upitis, In praise of romance
  40. 40.0 40.1 P. Bruce Uhrmacher, "Uncommon Schooling: A Historical Look at Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education", Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 25, No. 4. Winter 1995
  41. Alduino Mazzone, Waldorf Teacher Education (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Adelaide), p. 164
  42. Rist and Schneider, Integrating Vocational and General Education: A Rudolf Steiner School, Unesco Institute for Education, Hamburg 1979, ISBN 92-820-1024-4, pp.8-10
  43. WASC Accrediting commission for schools
  44. Rhode Island accreditation
  45. Robert McDermott, The Essential Steiner, Harper San Francisco 1984 ISBN 0-06-065345-0
  46. Tolerance: The Threshold of Peace., UNESCO, 1994.
  47. Peter Normann Waage, Humanism and Polemical Populism, Humanist 3/2000
  48. Salaam Shalom Educational Foundation
  49. Salaam Shalom
  50. When Ahmed met Avshalom, Israel21c, May 28, 2006. See the online version of article.
  51. Women of the Year nominee for 1997
  52. UNESCO 2001 Annex VI
  53. UNESCO List of project schools
  54. UNESCO Catalog
  55. Mary Barr Sturbaum, Transformational Possibilities of Schooling: A Study of Waldorf Education, Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1997
  56. "Education and Social Cohesion--Religion in the Classroom", Institute for Cultural Diplomacy
  57. Mark Riccio, Rudolf Steiner's Impulse in Education, dissertation, Columbia University Teachers College, 2000, p. 87
  58. Ernest Boyer, cited in Eric Oddleifson, Boston Public Schools As Arts-Integrated Learning Organizations: Developing a High Standard of Culture for All, Address of May 18, 1995: "One of the strengths of the Waldorf curriculum is its emphasis on the arts and the rich use of the spoken word through poetry and storytelling. The way the lessons integrate traditional subject matter is, to my knowledge, unparalleled. Those in the public school reform movement have some important things to learn from what Waldorf educators have been doing for many years. It is an enormously impressive effort toward quality education."
  59. Thomas Armstrong, cited in Boston Public Schools As Arts-Integrated Learning Organizations: Developing a High Standard of Culture for All, :"Waldorf education embodies in a truly organic sense all of Howard Gardner's seven intelligences. Rudolph Steiner's vision is a whole one, not simply an amalgam of the seven intelligences. Many schools are currently attempting to construct curricula based on Gardner's model simply through an additive process (what can we add to what we have already got?). Steiner's approach, however, was to begin with a deep inner vision of the child and the child's needs and build a curriculum around that vision."
  60. Robert S. Peterkin, Director of Urban Superintendents Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education and former Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, in ibid.:"Waldorf is healing education . . . It is with a sense of adventure that the staff of Milwaukee Public Schools embraces the Waldorf concept in an urban multicultural setting. It is clear that Waldorf principles are in concert with our goals for educating all children."
  61. "Rudolf Steiner's Pedagogy of Imagination: A Phenomenological Case Study"
  62. Stephanie Luster Bravmann, Nancy Stewart Green, Pamela Bolotin Joseph, Edward R. Mikel, Mark A. Windschitl, Cultures of Curriculum, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000. p81, "[Steiner, who] developed the Waldorf School system of education, is another whose ideas are reproduced, often less in whole than in an expanding number of American public and private schools today."
  63. U.S. Department of Education, Early Ready First - Frequently Asked Questions
  64. Janet Howard (1992). Literacy learning in a Waldorf school: A belief in the sense of structure and story. Ed.D. dissertation, State University of New York at Albany.
  65. Speaker's Biography: Todd Oppenheimer, Author-"The Flickering Mind", Milken Institute
  66. 66.0 66.1 David Elkind, "Much Too Early", Education Next, a Journal of Opinion and Research, Hoover Institute, Standford University, Summer 2001 [1]
  67. 67.0 67.1 Arthur Allen, Bucking the Herd, The Atlantic Monthly, September 2002
  68. Katherine Seligman, Vaccination backlash, The San Francisco Chronicle May 25, 2003[2]
  69. Pamela White, A shot in the dark, Boulder Weekly, Aug 8 2002 [3]
  70. "Thomas R. DeGregori, The Deadly Perils of Rejected Knowledge, American Council on Science and Health, Sept 13, 2002 [4]
  71. European Council of Waldorf Schools
  72. Consensus statement, agreed by members of the ECSWE, meeting in Copenhagen, 21 January 2001. [5]
  73. Beth Reinhard, "Public Waldorf School in Calif. Under Attack", Education Week June 25, 1997
  74. Linda Jacobson, "Court Allows Lawsuit Over Waldorf Teaching Practices To Progress", Education Week October 13, 1999
  75. Chrisanne Beckner, "Change of PLANS", Sep 22 2005
  76. Chrisanne Beckner, "Separation anxiety", Jan 26 2006
  77. 77.0 77.1 Steiner education in state schools. ABC National Radio. 25 July 2007 Religion Report, I, 1 August 2007 Religion Report II
  78. 78.0 78.1 Milanda Rout, "Questions about Steiner's classrooms", The Australian July 28 2007
  79. 79.0 79.1 Milanda Rout, "Early concern about Steiner method", The Australian July 28 2007
  80. Letter from Victorian Dept of Education Acting Regional Director to Footscray City Primary School Principal, 14 November 2000 [6].
  81. 2005 report Steiner Schools in England by Philip Woods, Martin Ashley and Glenys Woods of the University of the West of England, Steiner Schools in England, University of West of England, Bristol: Research Report RR645
  82. "Sunday Night" broadcast of July 15, 2007
  83. Phaizon Rhys Wood, Beyond Survival: A Case Study of the Milwaukee Urban Waldorf School, dissertation, School of Education, University of San Francisco, 1996
  84. Phaizon Rhys Wood, Beyond Survival: A Case Study of the Milwaukee Urban Waldorf School, D.Ed. dissertation, Univ. of San Francisco, 1996, p. 135, 149, 154ff
  85. Earl J. Ogletree, The Comparative Status of the Creative Thinking Ability of Waldorf Education Students
  86. Gidley, J. (1998). "Prospective Youth Visions through Imaginative Education." Futures 30(5), pp395-408, cited in Gidley, Batemen, and Smith, Futures in Education, Australian Foresight Institute Monograph Series, 2004 Nr. 5
  87. Bo Dahlin et al: Waldorfskolor och medborgerligt-moralisk kompetens. En jämförelse mellan waldorfelever och elever i den kommunala skolan (Waldorf schools and civic moral competency. A comparison of Waldorf pupils with pupils in public schools. Report 2004:2 Karlstad: Institution for educational science, University of Karlstad, Sweden.)
  88. "Allergic disease and sensitization in Steiner school children", Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, January 11, 2006 [7]
  89. Klotter, Jule, "Anthroposophic lifestyle and allergies in children", Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients 274 (May 2006): 24(2)


Works by Rudolf SteinerEdit

  • Education: An Introductory Reader (Christopher Clouder, ed.), Sophia Books (March 2004), ISBN 1-85584-118-5. Collection of relevant works by Steiner on education.
  • The Education of the Child, and early Lectures on Education (Foundations of Waldorf Education, 25), ISBN 0-88010-414-7. Includes Steiner's first descriptions of child development, originally published as a small booklet.
  • The Foundations of Human Experience, ISBN 0-88010-392-2; also known as The Study of Man, these fundamental lectures on education were given to the teachers just before the opening of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart in 1919.

Note: all of Steiner's lectures on Waldorf education are available in PDF form at this research site

Selected works by other authorsEdit

  • Aeppli, W., The Developing Child ISBN 0-88010-491-0
  • Clouder, C. and Rawson, M., Waldorf Education ISBN 0-86315-396-8
  • Cusick, L, Waldorf Parenting Handbook ISBN 0-916786-75-7
  • Edmunds, Francis, An Introduction to Steiner Education ISBN 1-85584-172-X
  • Gardner, John F., Education in Search of the Spirit: Essays on American Education ISBN 0-88010-439-2
  • Masters, Brien, Adventures in Steiner Education ISBN 1-85584-153-3
  • Nobel, Agnes, Educating through Art: The Steiner School Approach
  • Petrash, Jack, (2002): Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out ISBN 0-87659-246-9
  • Querido, René, The Esoteric Background of Waldorf Education
  • Wilkinson, R. (1996): The Spiritual Basis of Steiner Education. London: Sophia Books ISBN 1-85584-065-0

External linksEdit

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Further discussion, and reviews of Waldorf educationEdit

Waldorf resourcesEdit

Schools and collegesEdit

Associations of Waldorf Schools
Finding a Waldorf School
Teacher training programs

Homeschooling and special educationEdit

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