Waldorf education is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based upon the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The educational philosophy’s overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into free, moral and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny. Schools and teachers are given considerable freedom to define curricula within collegial structures.
The first Waldorf school was founded in 1919 to serve the children of employees at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart Germany. As of 2010 there were 995 independent Waldorf schools located in sixty countries throughout the world; as of 2001 there were 1400 kindergartens and 120 institutions for special education world-wide. There are Waldorf-based public (state) schools, charter schools, and homeschooling environments; in addition, other state and private schools are increasingly using methods drawn from Waldorf education. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_education)
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) is an umbrella organization that helps to foster Waldorf education in the United States. For more information about Waldorf education, go to www.whywaldorfworks.org.