From its first endeavor in 1919 in Germany, Waldorf has spread to form the largest independent school movement in the world. More than one thousand schools are now established on six continents. The first school in the United States opened in New York City in 1928, and to date, there are more than 165 schools in North America.
In a Waldorf school, the approach to education encompasses a comprehensive program designed to educate the heart and hands of the child, as well as the mind. The curriculum exposes the child to a broad range of disciplines in ways appropriate for a given age and level of development. Its ultimate goal is to awaken within the child a steadily increasing intellectual capacity, a deeply held love for learning, a will to work, and a strong sense of moral responsibility to guide the child through adolescence and into adulthood.
The Waldorf approach places great emphasis on fully recognizing the unique abilities and limitations of each individual child. Of prime importance is the close personal relationship that develops between teacher and student. That’s made possible by the class teacher progressing with his or her students through the elementary grades.
The Waldorf Teacher Training Program unfolds through a combination of group coursework, independent study, and practical experience. The main features are:
– in-depth study of how the Waldorf curriculum meets the child’s cognitive, emotional, and moral needs
-in-depth exploration of the theoretical foundations of Waldorf education and anthroposophy
– a learning community to which the student contributes personal experience, insight, and research
– professional seminars to reflect on direct school experiences, practice, and other aspects of the program
– internship and practicum experiences that consolidate a student’s learning
– course instructors with fresh insights from direct classroom practice with children
– artistic courses which develop creative capacities for application in the art of teaching and personal development
– exhilarating and demanding summer intensive sessions in a retreat setting on the scenic hilltop campuses of two adjacent Waldorf schools in Wilton, New Hampshire, with Waldorf teachers from all over the world
– personal, social, and professional connections with individuals and schools that last a lifetime