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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

A Better Way to Learn - Wasington Waldorf School

Mar 07, 2014 05:02AM

For over 30 years, Washington Waldorf School (WWS) has provided students with a better way to learn. Its programs assist children, from infancy to grade 12, in cultivating the capacity to think clearly, feel compassionately and act purposefully in the world.

The Waldorf education was revolutionary for its time—a German industrialist, Emil Molt, along with his good friend Rudolf Steiner, created the founding principles of the co-educational school, which serves children of all social, religious, racial and economic backgrounds. The curriculum and methodology of Waldorf schools are influenced by Steiner’s philosophy, known as Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy recognizes the need to respect both the material and spiritual realities of all humans.

WWS educates the whole child, providing a curriculum that is developmentally appropriate at each grade level. The school’s core academics are supplemented by the arts. Students have the opportunity to participate in music, drama, and even more practical trades, such as textile arts, metal work, woodwork and more. The school’s core values include the healthy development of children and adolescents; a balanced, dynamic curriculum; meaningful teacher-student relationships; exceptional teaching; a diverse and inclusive community; a respect for nature; moral discernment and an active spiritual life. These core values ensure that curriculum is designed to develop students academically, emotionally and physically.

WWS hosts a variety of open house events so that inquiring parents may gain a firm grasp of the core values of the school. Observation Mornings are held on a monthly basis and include a presentation on the philosophy and approach of Waldorf education and a tour of five classes, spanning from infancy to high school. This tour allows parents to witness how the school incorporates the Waldorf education’s essential phases of child development.

The first phase of child development, imitation, begins in the first seven years of life. In these critical years, children absorb the sounds of speech, gestures, attitudes and values of people, their parents and peers. At this palpable age, children learn with little or no formal instruction through instincts and imitation. The children’s garden programs offers support to this early phase of childhood development. The second phase of child development is characterized by the imagination. The lower school programs, grades one through eight, accommodate the child’s readiness for more formal learning. And as their capacity for learning and logical thought increases, the retention of their imagination is encouraged, as it is the child’s most vital asset.

During adolescence, or the stage of truth, discrimination and judgement, the child experiences the power of their own thinking. Grades ninth through twelfth experience a curriculum designed to prepare the student for rigorous critical thinking, often leading to graduates being admitted into the colleges and universities of their choice.

In addition to traditional school programs, Washington Waldorf School also offers aftercare programs, summer camps and international student visitor programs. In order to make Waldorf education available to as many students as possible, need-based and merit-based financial aid is available to eligible students.

Washington Waldorf School is located at 4800 Sangamore Rd., Bethesda. For more information, call 301-229-6107 or visit WashingtonWaldorf.org.

 

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