Waldorf Education is a pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. The first Waldorf School opened in 1919 to serve the children of the employees at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart.
Waldorf teachers believe that true education requires the harmonious integration of the fundamental human capacities of thinking, feeling, and willing. The goal of the Waldorf school is to develop the free individual, whose thinking is clear, vital, and creative; whose feeling is imbued with compassion, courage, reverence for life, and enthusiasm for learning; and whose will is practical, capable, and active.
Waldorf Education follows Steiner’s model of child development that describes three major developmental stages of childhood, each having their own learning requirements. A simple way to describe what is happening in a Waldorf classroom for each of these stages is that in the Kindergarten the teacher helps the child to develop their will (hands); in grade school, the child’s feeling life and artistic capacity are developed (heart); and in the high school the adolescent’s capacity for abstract thought and conceptual development are strengthened (head).
We welcome all ages of Waldorf students to the farm and neighboring forest for working tours and extended stays. This rich learning environment provides ample opportunities for children to explore the natural world and to experience first-hand both the real work and relationships that comprise a healthy farm and forest organism.
We are also considering the development of a Waldorf Kindergarten on the farm.
Waldorf communities strive to grow schools that are reflections of the local environment and culture. Lopez has a thriving culture that is based on community and participation in the rich natural environment that surrounds us. Our vision is to develop a Kindergarten that reflects the values of this community. We imagine a Kindergarten that is integrated with the daily and seasonal rhythms of the life of the farm and its neighboring forest.
In the Waldorf Kindergarten, daily rhythms and activities that support the healthy growth of the young child are provided in a beautiful and protected environment. Typically, children spend part of the day indoors immersed in a curriculum that integrates the home arts such as cooking and sewing with music, painting, coloring and puppetry. In Waldorf Kindergartens in the Pacific Northwest, a significant part of the day is spent outdoors, either walking or playing in the Kindergarten yard. Time for creative free is also an important part of a Waldorf Kindergarten and encourages each child’s development of emotional intelligence through guided social education.
A typical day might begin with the children gathering outside for an active circle to bring the group together and wake up the children’s arms, legs and will! The children and their teacher would then set out to explore either the forest or the farm. If in the forest, we might stop at a special place to play and eat a farm-grown snack. If on the farm we might meet the farmer, help with some simple chores and share a snack with our farmer friend. After our snack we might go inside to hear a story, paint, or bake bread and end our day by eating lunch together. Tales of the forest and the farm, along with songs, would be woven throughout each day. While the days of the week might involve different activities, the overall structure of each day would remain the same and this rhythm would provide the consistency necessary for the children to feel comfortable and happy in their home away from home.