Mission and vision
Waldorf pedagogy in 2017
For almost 100 years, Waldorf Pedagogy has shown its qualities all over the world and is still very relevant today because it’s based on the universal and timeless phases of a person’s development. It focuses on the growth of character of each child by addressing three areas equally: learning with heart, hands and mind. In addition to a strong growth in thinking (cognitive), the child also develops in the area of feeling (social emotional development) and in decision-making (acting and taking action).
‘Be who you are’
Waldorf pedagogy stands for versatile education aimed at a broad and balanced development of children.
- Education focused on enjoyment and on lifelong learning.
- Education that appeals to the child’s creative abilities.
- Education where the children acquire self-confidence and self-knowledge.
- Education that stimulates students to contribute to society and to the world.
With learning enjoyment, creativity, self-confidence and self-knowledge, young people will develop the resilience they need to be able to find their place in this rapidly changing world.
In today’s world, there is a strong need for international education. More and more international families live in the Netherlands and many Dutch parents have the desire to raise their children within the spirit of global citizenship. This internationalization is greater in the Amsterdam area than anywhere else in the Netherlands. Waldorf pedagogy is used all over the world and the curriculum is therefore directly applicable internationally.
Playing, discovering and moving in nature are the best basis for awareness and personal growth. In an era in which computers, smartphones, tablets and even robots occupy a fixed place in society, it is all the more important that children get to feel the beauty and tranquility of nature. Nature brings children back to the essence of life. By learning in and with nature, children experience the cycle of life and learn to deal with the earth on which we live with attention and respect.
At our school children are encouraged to appreciate nature in order to help them value its gifts and to understand its processes and the patterns of the seasons. The beauty of nature is brought to the children with respect and curiosity. The use of natural materials in play and craft cultivates a connection with nature; the foundations of a respect for the environment and all it provides.
“The question is not what man should know in order to be able to integrate into the existing social order, but what is present in and can be developed within him. Only then can the growing generation enrich society with new strength..” Rudolf Steiner
In order to achieve this, a balanced development of heart, hands and mind is essential in education. The Waldorf pedagogy is designed in such a way that pupils can develop into well-balanced individuals: socially-emotionally well developed, intellectually aware, socially involved and inwardly free.
We see each child as an individual and also spend time on group dynamics. This education demands as much of the intellectual ability of pupils as it does to their artistic, creative and social ability. In other words, the development of the head (mind) is as important as that of the heart (feeling) and the hands (action and creativity). Toddlers and schoolchildren alike each have their own needs and own worlds for which we offer the space to acquire knowledge, skills, and to give them opportunities to be curious and to discover.
The Waldorf curriculum is based on the development phases of human beings and has as an important starting point, the equal development of their talents in thinking, feeling and wanting or doing.
The development stages of a child mean the following: when a child is born, four parts of the human being are present: the physical body, life-body, the emotions/sensations and the self/ego. The development of these parts of the beings is supervised by the parents or guardians and by the school. Depending on the age of children, a certain area is emphasized.
First seven years (0-6/7):
Children are very busy with their bodies: they discover their hands, they sit, stand and walk. They will learn to play together. The growth of the body requires a lot of strength and energy during that time. Mimicking / imitating is of great importance in the first seven years. Young children need to experience the relevance of their world before they separate themselves from it and begin to analyze it in a detached way.
Next seven years (7-14)
As their sense of self evolves, children develop more dynamic understanding and abilities. The development of habitual processes and emotional life is central. There is a big emphasis on using artistic elements in different forms (rhythm, movement, color, form, recitation, song, music), not primarily as a means of personal self-expression, but as a means to learn to understand and relate to the world, building an understanding for different subjects.
Secondary education (14+)
Puberty is an intense time, full of peaks and valleys. Dealing with sensations and emotions is of great importance. Students are busy with each other, with the development of their own ideas and thoughts and learn to develop the capacity for abstract and conceptual thinking.
With a curriculum that integrates all academics with the arts and social learning, Waldorf Education develops not only the left and right sides of the brain, but the whole human being.
In addition to (but not at the expense of) the main subjects such as mathematics, languages, geography and history that you encounter at every primary school, we will also spend time on experiences in nature, sports and games, painting, drawing, making music, crafts, woodworking, horticulture, theater, eurhythmy, world stories and mythology, bread baking, foreign languages, singing and dancing and of course the annual and seasonal festivals.
The curriculum consists of an educational program that prepares children for further education in the Netherlands or abroad. The Waldorf International School Amstelland will also be connected to other Waldorf schools outside the Netherlands.