Waldorf Methodology

November 11, 2018

Choosing an educational environment that meets the expectations we have for our children is one of the most important decisions we must make as parents. Preschools differ primarily in terms of pedagogical orientation or concept. One of these concepts is Waldorf pedagogy. Waldorf pedagogy respects the developmental rhythm of each child, his individuality, abilities and needs. The methodology is made up of rhythms that establish a healthy balance of experiences in everyday life, between concentration and relaxation, mental and practical work, movement and rest, listening and participating, observing and doing.

The rhythms themselves strengthen thinking, feeling and will in children. A structured daily rhythm provides security and promotes healthy development. Rhythms create stability, vitality and strength in children. The rhythms are daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. The daily rhythm directly strengthens the center of the child. It is the rhythm of immediate time, day to day. The children’s daily shifts are organized in such a way that the same sequence of activities is repeated to convey the security and confidence that allows them to gradually situate themselves in time.

The weekly rhythm implies that each day of the week a different activity is carried out, a main task. The importance of establishing a different daily task within the weekly rhythm will, by its very nature, give the child a sense of order. These activities are generally artistic activities with a practical and beautiful sense, by which children’s creativity is stimulated. They have the opportunity to live and experiment with all their senses and thus develop skills and strengthen their motor skills. These activities are practiced in a different way every day of the week in order to awaken artistic sensitivity in children in a regulated work, making it possible to fortify the will.

Other elements of the methodology that contribute to the healthy development of the child are the round and the story. The round is made up of songs, verses, rhymes and finger plays inspired by the season of the year and is an important tool for developing language, motor skills, thinking and creativity. Through sounds and movement, the body, heart and mind are connected. Every three weeks a new round is introduced. The stories have the great value of providing positive benefits for the development of children through images. Albert Einstein says it in his famous phrase: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be smarter, read them more fairy tales.”

Stories help develop language, understand complex concepts, encourage imagination and concentration. A single story is told over a period of three weeks wrapped in songs that introduce and bid farewell to it. Repetition is important, it allows them to better understand the stories, internalize and attend to deeper aspects day by day. The stories and rounds are according to the season of the year, which helps them understand the passage of time, the festivities, changes and processes that occur in the year.

The learning of children in the first years of life occurs through imitation and repetition. From birth, the child is curious, attentive, and like a small sponge, he absorbs everything he sees in his environment. Children are constantly learning without really noticing it. This is why the Waldorf curriculum for preschoolers is based on experience and play. Free play is important in the daily rhythm since in the game a child can imitate what he experiences in his immediate environment. As adults around young children, we have a responsibility to create an environment that provides opportunities for meaningful imitation and creative play every day. Creativity, individuality and personality are promoted through free play both inside and outside the classroom.

The toys that the Waldorf Method uses are made from natural materials such as wool, silk, wood, and felt. Each material found in the classrooms is carefully selected to offer endless possibilities of use and can be transformed by the child’s imagination. Toys made of natural materials, with rich colors, carefully crafted by hand, are attractive and contribute to the child’s well-being. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, suggested that toys should not have specific shapes to stimulate children’s imaginations. What does this mean? Waldorf toys are often simple, without many details, but incredibly beautiful. The facial features of the dolls are intentionally made simple, which helps spark the child’s imagination. Depending on the child’s mood, the doll can be happy, sad or even angry. Subtle expressions leave the child free to express whatever emotion is present in him at that moment.

The first Waldorf school opened in Stuttgart in 1919 and the first Waldorf preschool was built in 1926. There are currently 1,857 Waldorf preschools in more than 70 countries worldwide. Waldorf pedagogy focuses on a comprehensive and personalized education where the most important thing will always be the child and his needs.

This article was written by me and published in the Edutopía Magazine Guatemala , an educational tool. You can also read it in the Number 7 edition of Edutopía Magazine.



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