Parents seeking an alternative form of education for their young ones might have come across the Waldorf or Steiner approach. Their emphasis on nature, arts and imagination have certainly attracted parents keen on eschewing the traditional rote learning in favor of creative play especially during a child’s early years. Currently, several Waldorf schools can be found in major cities across Malaysia. Read on to find out more about this fascinating form of experiential learning.
Back in 1919, Emil Molt, owner of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany, was looking to establish a school for the children of his workers. He turned to renowned artist and scientist Rudolf Steiner for help in creating a curriculum that will help the children engage with their head, heart and hands – or thinking, feeling and doing.
This educational approach Steiner adopted for the school was built upon the foundations of Anthroposophy, a philosophy he developed based on the belief that humanity has the wisdom to transform itself and the world, through one’s own spiritual development. The Waldorf pedagogy and teaching methods are designed to nurture the potential of every child in helping to shape humanity.
The Waldorf education’s intended outcome is to produce young people who are well-rounded individuals, independent thinkers and problem-solvers, capable of creatively meeting challenges. The goal is to expose children to a wide range of experiences and to develop within them many interests and capabilities. This, in turn, leads to well-balanced young people with high levels of confidence in their ability to apply skills developed in one area to another, and the knowledge that they can master anything.
At kindergarten level, children between 3 to 6 years might be in the same room, and typical activities carried out during lessons include free play, movement games, story circle, arts & crafts, baking, puppet plays, nature walks and celebrating the festivals. The daily schedule and rhythm in a Waldorf classroom provides room to support a child’s curiosity. Classrooms can take place indoors and the outdoors, amongst nature where play is very much the norm, along with learning and movement.
Waldolf teachers are geared towards encouraging the child’s inner enthusiasm for learning. As a result, this eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and rewards, thus allowing motivation to develop from within and provide the opportunity for joyful learning. A Waldorf-certified educator must undergo a minimum of two years of fulltime training at a recognised Waldorf teacher training centre.
Currently, Waldorf schools are mainly located in the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang, and offer from kindergarten level, with either Mandarin or English as the medium of instruction. Here’s where you can find them in the Klang Valley:
Hilltop House Child Development Centre (Preschool), www.facebook.com/Hilltop-House-Child-Development-Centre-136169723083336
Kajang Waldorf Inspired school (Primary), www.facebook.com/kajangwaldorfinspiredschool/
Kuala Lumpur Steiner Education (Kindergarten to Grade 3), https://klsteinerschool.my/
Little Forest House (Kindergarten to Primary), https://littleforestkl.wordpress.com/
RimBayu Playgarden (Preschool), www.facebook.com/Rimbayuplaygarden/
Waldorf Sasama Malauysia @ Waldorf Kelip Kelip , http://kelipkelip.com.my/
Waldorf Kelip Kelip Preschool - Kota Kemuning, www.facebook.com/waldorfkelipkelippreschool
Malaysia Waldorf Primary Education, www.facebook.com/Malaysia-Waldorf-Primary-Education-467700856652397
Persatuan Pendidikan Waldorf Selangor, www.facebook.com/selangorwaldorfsociety/
Photo Credits: Waldorf Kelip Kelip