Steiner Waldorf education in Europe

Focused on children’s needs

rudolf steiner school of basel
rudolf steiner school of basel
Steiner Waldorf education in Europe

Stein­er Wal­dorf edu­ca­tion is inspired by observ­ing and under­stand­ing the nature of the grow­ing child. It enables chil­dren to holis­ti­cal­ly unfold their unique poten­tial. This is achieved by inte­grat­ing pupils’ intel­lec­tu­al, prac­ti­cal, and artis­tic devel­op­ment, by empha­sis­ing the role of imag­i­na­tion in learn­ing, and by pro­vid­ing nour­ish­ment for body, soul, and spir­it. We wel­come all chil­dren, irre­spec­tive of gen­der, reli­gion, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, or nation­al ori­gin.

rudolf steiner school of basel
rudolf steiner school of basel
An example of Steiner Waldorf schooling

Waldorf curriculum

The Stein­er Wal­dorf cur­ricu­lum is tai­lored to the age and the devel­op­men­tal needs of chil­dren. While ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion empha­sis­es phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, sen­so­ry stim­u­la­tion, imi­ta­tion and free play, pri­ma­ry school learn­ing links to emo­tions and aims at both devel­op­ing the imag­i­na­tion and authen­tic rela­tion­ships with adults and peers. In upper years, the focus is on con­scious learn­ing and the devel­op­ment of inde­pen­dent judge­ment. Our age-appro­pri­ate and devel­op­ment-ori­ent­ed approach allows chil­dren to devel­op strong per­son­al­i­ties.

Core lessons every morning

Every day opens with a two-hour main les­son that is ded­i­cat­ed to the Stein­er Wal­dorf core cur­ricu­lum. Each sub­ject is taught in block peri­ods of three to four weeks. This allows chil­dren to focus and deep­en their under­stand­ing of sub­jects such as math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence or his­to­ry over an extend­ed peri­od of time.

Foreign languages from the start

For­eign lan­guage learn­ing is includ­ed from the first year of school; ini­tial­ly through learn­ing songs and poems and play­ing games, and lat­er through gram­mar lessons and con­ver­sa­tions. This allows chil­dren to acquire for­eign lan­guages in a sim­i­lar way to how they learn their moth­er tongue.

Written reports

The report, writ­ten at the end of the school year, aims to char­ac­terise the pupil’s indi­vid­ual learn­ing expe­ri­ence, lev­el of engage­ment, and learn­ing achieve­ments, in clear, com­pre­hen­sive terms. The report also sets tasks for the future. This helps inform par­ents and pupils on progress being made.

Class teacher support

Dur­ing the first 6–8 years, each main les­son is taught by a com­pe­tent class teacher. Employ­ing var­i­ous teach­ing tech­niques, the class teacher inte­grates a range of artis­tic activ­i­ties and resources to engage with dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles and encour­age the child’s enthu­si­as­tic immer­sion in the sub­ject. Chil­dren ben­e­fit from con­ti­nu­ity in their learn­ing rela­tion­ships.

rudolf steiner school of basel
How schools are
organised

Collaborative school leadership

Stein­er and Wal­dorf schools aspire to col­lab­o­ra­tive forms of lead­er­ship, with respon­si­bil­i­ty and account­abil­i­ty defined and shared trans­par­ent­ly through­out the organ­i­sa­tion. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, edu­ca­tion­al and organ­i­sa­tion­al lead­er­ship are entrust­ed to a col­lege of teach­ers, with vary­ing degrees of parental involve­ment.

School fees

Stein­er Wal­dorf schools across Europe often charge tuition fees to com­pen­sate for miss­ing or inad­e­quate state fund­ing. To ensure inclu­sive­ness, schools may charge income-relat­ed tuition fees or give dis­counts to fam­i­lies in need. Fam­i­lies from all social back­grounds should have access to Wal­dorf edu­ca­tion.

The role of parents

Teach­ers and par­ents are joint­ly respon­si­ble for Stein­er Wal­dorf schools. Par­ents are encour­aged to famil­iarise them­selves with the basics of Wal­dorf teach­ing. Their com­mit­ment and active involve­ment in school gov­er­nance helps to cre­ate a healthy envi­ron­ment, and sense of mutu­al own­er­ship in the school.

Non-profit

Stein­er Wal­dorf schools in Europe are most­ly inde­pen­dent non-prof­it schools. Many of them are run as asso­ci­a­tions. Lim­it­ing state inter­ven­tions and the inter­fer­ence of busi­ness inter­ests helps to ensure free­dom in teach­ing and cur­ricu­lum design.

All educational stages

The holis­tic Stein­er Wal­dorf edu­ca­tion­al approach cov­ers all stages of com­pul­so­ry edu­ca­tion, from ear­ly child­hood through to upper sec­ondary years. This helps to ensure con­ti­nu­ity, coher­ent learn­ing path­ways, and smooth tran­si­tions between
edu­ca­tion­al stages.