The Orchard Waldorf School Ltd
Waldorf and its beginnings
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, had been a private tutor and a lecturer on history at the Berlin Arbeiterbildungsschule an educational initiative for working class adults.
The first school based upon Steiner's ideas was opened in 1919 in response to a request by Emil Molt, the owner and Managing Director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Stuttgart, Germany, to serve the children of employees of the factory. This is the source of the name Waldorf, which is now trademarked for use in association with the educational method. The Stuttgart school grew rapidly and soon the majority of pupils were from families not connected with the company.
The school was the first comprehensive school in Germany, serving children from all social classes, abilities and interests.
The curriculum in a Waldorf school reflects the developmental theory and philosophy on which it is based, namely an emphasis on the whole development of the child — spiritual, physical, moral and academic.
At each stage of development, the curriculum is designed to engage the
abilities of the growing child. In the kindergarten, this is done through guided
creative play, in the primary school through the imaginative and artistic
presentation of material by the class teacher and in high school through
challenging the student’s awakening capacity for independent thought.
In this way the Steiner curriculum responds to the developmental needs
of the pupils at each level. It has proved to be a relevant and contemporary
curriculum over 80 years, largely because it is broadly based, integrated,
interdisciplinary and comprehensive.