This year the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School celebrates 30 years of providing Waldorf Education in Connecticut. At the same time Waldorf Education turns 100 years old!
We are part of a world-wide, progressive, character building model. Our vision is a sustainable community that takes responsibility for the healthy unfolding of free-thinking individuals who can help create positive impact on the world.
The Waldorf curriculum, founded by Rudolf Steiner, is broad and comprehensive. Math, science, language arts, history, and foreign languages are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced through music, dance, drama, writing, literature, handcrafts, wood working, painting, and clay modeling. Through these experiences Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities, along with academic skills. The Waldorf pedagogy strives to engage all the senses in the learning process, not just the intellect. By doing so the inner life of the child is nourished and much deeper learning results. This takes time. Ironically, by preserving each phase of child development, not rushing children “ahead,” they make far greater leaps in competencies, capacities and skills later. Their executive functioning is strengthened, they have greater confidence, and far less stress.
While it is true that a no-tech approach to learning is foundational to the Waldorf teaching philosophy, it is not true that Waldorf is anti-technology. In Waldorf schools, timing is everything. Our goal is to strengthen students’ ability to think for themselves and build confidence in their creativity and problem-solving skills. When they are older, more critical thinkers, more experienced at discerning information, our students are better able to use technology as a tool — as a means, not as an end.
When art it is incorporated into the teaching of all disciplines, it weaves a connection of meaning, beauty, and practicality into everything that the students learn. Music brings soul to math, art brings life to geometry, woodwork brings purpose to engineering. When students discover beauty and connections in the world they become eager learners, forward thinking problem-solvers, and are intuitively creative. Not only are their learning experiences more comprehensive, but their lives are richer for it.