Child Development is the Key
"Education and development are seeds one to the other: the key is the humanisation of schools and the development of a comprehensive curriculum based on the worth of the whole individual."
Education is a burning issue today. The well being of our children and the health of our societies are greatly influenced by our schools. A child‘s development must be carefully and lovingly guided if he or she is to have a firm foundation for becoming a socially balanced and productive adult.
The curriculum of the Waldorf School is unique in the central focus that it attributes to child development. Rudolf Steiner - and later Piaget and others recognised that a child passes through specific developmental stages both physically and psychologically. Different faculties, interests and problems arise at different ages. Every new phase is important and needs special care.
Each year the child ripens to another level and the natural modes of learning change dramatically in the three principle phases: Pre-School, Primary School and High School. Within these phases there is much transition: The loss of milk teeth and the transformations at puberty mark two important changes in the physical and psychological development of the growing child which have to be taken into account, both in the curriculum content and the teaching methods used. Therefore a subject is only introduced when the child has reached the particular stage where understanding and assimilation can best take place. To skip a phase or to introduce one too early can be harmful to the child.
Each child has her own needs, her own temperament and her own level of capability relative to thought, feeling and action. A versatile, creative personality is formed through the harmonious interaction of intellect, emotions and will activity.
In the holistic approach of Waldorf education the health and well-being of the child is central. Children, particularly today, present with many different barriers to learning. A key task of the educator is to ensure a healthy physical development as a basis for a healthy soul-spiritual development and also to facilitate the provision of appropriate support for children who present with difficulties. In the Waldorf school movement specific therapies have emerged that can provide support to such children, such as curative eurythmy and extra lesson therapy.