Waldorf Education Introduction





Waldorf education is a worldwide educational movement, with over 1,000 schools, 2000 kindergartens on six continents, and in some 80 countries. Each school is independently run, yet linked by a common educational philosophy and curriculum.

Waldorf education grows out of the work of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an Austrian scientist, philosopher, architect. Through an understanding of the human being, that is, as a being of body, soul and spirit. The education mirrors the basic stages of a child's development from childhood to adulthood, which in general reflects the development of humanity through history from our origin, far back in past times up to the present.

Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. They integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.

Founded in the early 20th century, Waldorf education is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education outlined by the world renowned artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. The principles of Waldorf education evolve from an understanding of human development that address the needs of the growing child.

Music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.

Professors who have taught Waldorf students across many academic disciplines and across a wide range of campuses—from State Universities to Ivy League—note that Waldorf graduates have the ability to integrate thinking; to assimilate information as opposed to memorizing isolated facts; to be flexible, creative and willing to take intellectual risks; and are leaders with high ethical and moral standards who take initiative and are passionate to reach their goals. Waldorf graduates are highly sought after in higher education.

Teachers in Waldorf schools are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and rewards to motivate learning and allows motivation to arise from within. It helps engender the capacity for joyful life-long learning.

Waldorf education is independent and inclusive. It upholds the principles of freedom in education and engages independent administration locally, continentally and internationally. It is regionally appropriate education with hundreds of schools worldwide today. Waldorf education is truly Inspired Learning.


Curriculum



Among children from birth to seven years (Playgroups, Pre-school and Kindergarten), learning occurs by facilitating creative, self-directed exploration through play. We believe that the initiative, imagination and flexibility awakened in the children’s play underpins later academic learning, confidence and mastery of skills, and fosters a sustained interest in the world around them.

By providing space and time for the children’s play, we enable them to work with all that they have observed in everyday life.

Breathing in and out

A typical day for a Waldorf child follows a rhythm that breathes. This stretches from quietly and attentively listening to a story in the Parent & Child class; to participating in a magical walk in the woods during circle time for the kindergarten. There are moments during the day where children will be applying deep focus and concentration, or ‘breathing in’. Those moments are balanced by ‘breathing out’ in activities like open-ended play, games, and artistic classes such as handwork, woodwork, drawing, and painting. This balance optimizes learning, diminishes stress and fatigue, and allows the children to move through their day in a healthy way.

Activities

Our activities emphasise developing skills through experience. Here is a brief description of the significance of these experiences.

Creative Play Time: The school atmosphere provides a warm, secure and aesthetically pleasing environment where a child’s imagination and creativity can flourish. Free creative play is considered the best preparation for self-realization in adult life. While teachers prepare for snack or make a doll, the children play and give free rein to their imaginations with a wide variety of natural toys and materials.

Learning Outcome: Development of the imagination, problem solving, social interaction with peers, and carrying tasks to completion are just some skills developed during creative play.

Circle / Story Time

The class comes together to sing songs, recite versus or listen to a story told by a teacher.

Learning Outcome: The ability to sit and listen to an adult for a sustained period is developed at this time. Repeating and remembering verses builds memory. The story told by the teacher also exposes children to the beauty of language, which supports literacy skills and builds the person-to-person relationship between teacher and child.

Artistic Activity:

Crayon work and simple crafts for younger children. Wet-on-wet water coloring, beeswax modeling, drawing, sewing and finger knitting are part of the weekly activities for older children and are carried out in small groups.

Learning Outcome: These activities encourage children’s natural sense of beauty and color, and foster visual learning skills. The artistic technique will continue to build on in primary years. They also develop the ability to focus on a task given to them for a gradually lengthening period of time.

Snack Time

A small group of older children take on the responsibility to help teachers with preparation for snack time. They set up the table and count bowls, cups and napkins while younger children observe, longing for their turn to come, which it will when they are older. The children also take turns to clean up after themselves and tidy the room.

Learning Outcome: This provides a good transition example of home to school life. It also teaches social interaction, how to follow directions, the science of cooking and cleaning, and personal responsibility.

Outdoor Play/Gardening and Farm Outing

Children are free to run, skip, climb, use their imagination, and experience the outdoor world in all seasons. Garden House farm provides an opportunity for children to learn gardening skills with hands-on experience planting and observing the growth of their vegetables. Outdoor time happens daily in all weather, and older groups have Outing Day every Wednesday.

Learning Outcome: Outdoor play and exploration nurtures large motor skills, imagination, creativity, and social skills, and creates an awareness of the processes of life. All you can think of any skill not fostered during outdoor activities.

Classes



Play is an important part of a child’s education. There are plenty of opportunities for the children to play in our outdoor playground or garden, or we can take a walk to the nearby Silverstrand Beach, or take a short ride to Garden House farm. There are many different choices, including the Sai Kung country parks, for outings.






Parent & Child (1-3 years)

We offer children a rich environment for exploration and play and offer parents support in creating a healthy home life to lay a solid foundation of learning in this early stage. Through meeting together in a group with parents and carers, together with our experienced Early Childhood Waldorf teachers, a warm and loving community is formed.

The beauty of the changing seasons creates a natural rhythm as we move through the year with songs, verses, activities and stories.

Pre-school & Kindergarten (2.5 – 7 years)

Our pre-school and kindergarten provide a balanced, comprehensive program for children that weaves activity and free creative play through a daily, weekly and seasonal rhythm and nurtures inner vitality. We offer 3 or 5 day programs which support the transition from home to school with a gentle routine that helps children feel secure and confident.



3 days or 5 days

This class is a gentle beginning for young children (2.5 – 4 years) to enter a social learning environment without their parents. In this class, the teacher-student ratio is higher so as to be able to give more one-on-one attention to the children during their physical care, such as nappy changing, potty training, or an extra cuddle if they are missing home.

5 days

The mixed-age (3.5 – 7 years), full-day classes provide various activities which strengthen the children’s abilities through being involved with the entire process of activities from the preparation to the cleanup. The children learn to take responsibility for and pride in the work that they do; whether it is making snack, arranging the materials for painting, or doing handwork or woodwork. The mixed-age nature of the class gives children the opportunity to enter as a younger child and learn from the older children in the group and it gives the older children the opportunity to be a leader and to care for younger children. The teachers are sensitive to arranging age-appropriate work for all children. The children have many language learning opportunities in Mandarin and English through complex stories and circles which help to foster their attention span and their understanding of the nature and the culture in which they live. Children have in the past transitioned well from Garden House to a variety of local, international and Waldorf primary schools.

Summer Program


















After Class Care





A new feature for this year is our special After-Class Care. After-Class Care is available daily from 2:30pm till 5:00pm. After-Class Care provides children with wholesome childcare which includes a healthy snack, free play and caring for rabbits. The service for the After-Class Care is for children in the full-day program. This is a non school programme runs by One World Ltd who also runs our Parent and Child Classes.