The Orchard Waldorf School Ltd





Myths about Steiner / Waldorf education 


Is it true that Waldorf students are not taught to read until second grade?

In Waldorf Education, the foundation for reading is laid already in the kindergarten. Reading is much more than recognising sound/symbol relationships. For true reading to occur, the child must form an inner picture of what he or she is reading so that comprehension develops. Through the rich language of fairy tales, the pictorial imagery of songs and poems and the desire of the young child to listen to and repeat rhymes and sing songs, a child will come to love "the word". Vocabulary and a sophisticated understanding (comprehension) of the world develop through hearing this rich and complex language.

Then students will be introduced to writing and spelling the letters and words that are part of their stories. And, as a final step, the students will read from their own texts describing the stories that they have heard. In this way, students have the proper time to develop all of the skills that are part of the complex skill of reading at the time when it is most appropriate for them to do so. When reading is approached in this way, children become voracious readers who love and understand what they choose to read.


Computers are never used and children will fail to learn about

technology at a Waldorf school.

The primary reason that Waldorf schools do not use computers is because

we believe that young children learn better through contact with real people

and real environments. For example knowing about frogs means feeling

the slipperiness of the frog's skin, listening to the frog's call, and observing

the frog in its environment. language skills, depend upon a responsive

human being who listens, responds, and communicates feelings as well

as content. It is believed that the real world is much more complex and whole than the virtual world of the computer.


Children who use computers may be missing the lessons of will and purpose involved in writing with their own hand, as well as the spatial sense and aesthetic judgment which are part of the practice of handwriting.


Computers enable young children to depend on down-loading the ideas and thoughts of others and forego the time and effort involved in being original.


Waldorf teachers do not believe computers are always inappropriate. They simply believe they are not effective educational tools for young children. In a Waldorf high school you may find students actually building their own computers, thereby developing a more thorough knowledge of computers and technology than most children who grew up with them from the beginning.




Would a child be at a disadvantage if he were transferred from a public school into a Waldorf school?

Children who transfer to a Waldorf school in the first four grades usually are up to grade in reading, math, and basic academic skills. However, they usually have much to learn in bodily coordination skills, posture, artistic and social activities, cursive handwriting, and listening skills. Listening well is particularly important since most of the curricular content is presented orally in the classroom by the teacher. The human relationship between the child and the teacher is the basis for healthy learning, for the acquiring of understanding and knowledge rather than just information. Children who are used to learning from computers and other electronic media will have to adjust.


Would a child be at a disadvantage if he were transferred out of a Waldorf school into a public school?

Children who transfer out of a Waldorf school into a public school during the earlier grades probably have to upgrade their reading ability and approach science lessons differently. Science in a Waldorf school emphasises the observation of natural phenomena rather than the formulation of abstract concepts and laws. On the other hand, the Waldorf transferees are usually well prepared for social studies, practical and artistic activities, and mathematics.


Children moving during the middle grades should experience no problems. In fact, in most cases, transferring students of this age-group find themselves ahead of their classmates. The departing Waldorf student is likely to take along into the new school a distinguishing individual strength, personal confidence, and love of learning.


Abbreviated From Five Frequently Asked Questions by Colin Price from Renewal Magazine, Spring/Summer 2003


Art Teaching

Too often, Steiner’s call for artistic teaching is misunderstood as a call for art teaching. Any subject may be taught and learned in a creative way. A teacher with a particular gift in an art may impart more to her students by offering a broad and deep experience of that art than she would by trying to be all things to all students. Little bits of too much produces dilettantes. Artistic teaching is required especially to teach math, science, and subjects that might otherwise easily lose their vitality.


Low Academic Standards

Steiner himself had a doctorate, no mean feat in 19th century Germany.

Schools can work harder to implement “soul economy” and to demonstrate to parents and communities that there is no compromise between a good academic education and a Waldorf school education. This will not mean teaching more material sooner, chasing the local independent day school or aiming for high scores on a standardized test, but teaching more deeply and more consciously.


Rudolf Steiner was Racist

Nothing could be further than the truth. Steiner strived for a world where human spirituality ignored the physical differences between cultures. Please read further by following this link