At Westside Waldorf School, we strive to engage the mind, ignite the imagination, and strengthen the will within each student.
Our curriculum and teaching methods nurture and engage each child in ways that inspire creative thinking, a sense of purpose and connectedness, and a lifelong love of learning. Here are some of the ways the Waldorf teaching approach treats each child as unique and inherently curious.
The critical value of the Waldorf approach is not what is taught, but when and how it is taught. At the heart of the approach is the idea that the gifts of childhood must be valued and protected. Our integrated, developmentally appropriate curriculum and teaching methods engage each child physically, intellectually, and emotionally in the learning process. Subject matter is introduced as children reach developmental milestones that demonstrate a readiness to learn.
Thematic learning, concentrated main lesson blocks, and remaining with the same teacher over a course of years are all Waldorf innovations that research now supports as enhancing the learning process. Stable relationships built over the course of years allow students to interact authentically with their classmates and teacher, and feel comfortable taking academic risks. At the same time, teachers are able to identify and steadily build each child's innate abilities.
You will teach them to fly. But they will not fly your flight. You will teach them to dream. But they will not dream your dream. You will teach them to live. But they will not live your life. Nevertheless, in every flight, in every life, in every dream, the print of the way you taught them will remain.
— Mother Teresa
Waldorf Education balances academic rigor with artistic and practical disciplines to cultivate self-confident, motivated, creative, and independent thinkers. Our curriculum weaves art into every subject, using music, storytelling, drawing, and movement to bring academic subjects to life. Research also shows that arts integration helps children better retain academic subject matter.
Science, math, and engineering are learned through everyday experiences with art, music, and nature. Children are encouraged to develop skills of observation and experimentation and apply creative thinking and scientific reasoning to solve problems rather than rely on memorization and repetition.
Daily life is infused with meaningful outdoor experiences that nurture a lasting connection to nature and a respect for all living things. Classrooms full of natural light and organic materials help to fully engage students while creating a healthy learning environment. Engaging children's senses (touch, taste, smell, sight) also helps them better understand and retain lesson material.
Our curriculum includes an integral social dimension that teaches children the importance of peace, respect, empathy, and compassion. From the earliest grades children participate in community service, learn valuable conflict resolution skills, study world cultures and languages, and cultivate a strong sense of moral purpose.
Waldorf taught me how to think for myself, to be accountable for my actions, to be a good listener, and to be sensitive to the needs of others. It also helped me to focus on the underlying importance of beliefs, and values that are the foundations of good leadership.
— Kenneth Chenault, American Express Company Vice Chairman