Waldorf Education and the Not-so-Common Core

Waldorf education has it roots in a developmental curriculum based on physical and cognitive markers that occur during a child’s life.  It takes into account where a child is in their development before introducing certain academic concepts.  This allows the child’s natural ability to learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic at pace that matches their cognitive development.  In addition, Waldorf education uses the child’s natural ability to use their imagination to picture what they are experiencing in the classroom.  They take the concepts of the letters of the alphabet, word formation and writing from a pictorial perspective and create their own mental pictures.  With the use of stories the teacher tells children are able to recall images and themes that speak to their social and emotional growth.   Arithmetic is also presented in the form of stories that relate to the qualities of the numbers, counting, and the four processes.  Each grade has certain new concepts that are introduced that build on one another with corresponding themes and stories that match the child’s maturation.

The current trend of meeting common-core standards that have been adopted by the many states including Washington places an emphasis on guiding students using a set of checklists or “I can do” statements that are set for each grade.  Children are measured by how well they adhere to these standards. They are research-based standards that take into account what children need to know to be successful in high school and college.  They were created from the top down meaning they began with the oldest students and worked backwards.  While Waldorf education does prepare students for the rigor of academic life in high school and beyond it allows children to learn higher and more complex academic concepts when they are ready and uses developmental markers established by Rudolf Steiner and Jean Piaget to let teachers know when to introduce such concepts.  It does this a way that accommodates many learning styles and appeals to a child’s natural ability to emulate in an environment that is rich with visual, oral, musical, and physical activity.


Come learn more about how “Waldorf Education and the Not-so-Common Core” at a special presentation by our Grade 1 Teacher, Anand Maliakal, on August 20 at 5:30 p.m. (Waldorf Experience Open House to follow at 6:30 p.m.)  The 2016 Waldorf Experience Open House will be held August 25 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Adults only please. RSVP to enrollment@tacomawaldorf.org.