Receive the child in reverence  Educate them in love  Send them forth in freedom 

- Rudolf Steiner

Association of Waldorf Schools of North America

Principles for Waldorf Education

Waldorf schools support freedom in teaching within the context of the school's shared agreements. 

The conscious development of human relationships fosters individual and community health. 

Spiritual development in support of professional grow this an ongoing activity for the faculty, staff, and board. 

The image of the human being as a spiritual being informs every aspect of the school. 

Waldorf schools foster social renewal by cultivating human capacities in service to the individual and society.

Anthroposophical understanding of child development guides the educational program. 

Collaboration and shared responsibility provide the foundations of school leadership and governance.

The principles above were developed and agreed upon by member schools and institutes. Our principles strengthen the foundation and identity of Waldorf Education, and propel us into the future with clarity and inspiration.

A Brief Overview

Waldorf Education was founded in the early 20th century, and is based on the insights, teachings and principles developed by scientist, philosopher and artist, Rudolf Steiner. 

Waldorf Education is premised on Steiner’s empirical observation that childhood is made up of three distinct stages of roughly seven years each—birth to age seven (early childhood), seven to 14 (middle childhood), and 14 to 21 (adolescence).  Each stage shapes the way children feel about and approach the world—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—which, in turn, shapes the way they learn. Waldorf educators are trained in methods appropriately tailored to these developmental stages, each evolving as childhood unfolds.

Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically inspired approach to education that is integrated with the arts from preschool through Grade 12 to enhance and enrich learning, to inspire a life-long love of learning in all students, and to enable them to fully develop their innate talents and abilities. Teachers in Waldorf schools are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child, thus eliminating the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and external rewards and allowing motivation to arise from within.  

Professors who have taught Waldorf students across many academic disciplines and across a wide range of campuses—from State Universities to Ivy League Colleges—note that Waldorf graduates have the ability to integrate thinking; to assimilate information as opposed to memorizing isolated facts; to be flexible, creative and willing to take intellectual risks; and are leaders with high ethical and moral standards who take initiative and are passionate about reaching their goals. Waldorf graduates are highly sought after in higher education. 

Waldorf Education is independent and inclusive. It upholds the principles of freedom in education and is independently administered locally, nationally and globally with over a thousand schools worldwide today. Waldorf Education is truly 'Inspired Learning'.

Source: Association of Waldorf Schools of North America