Education for Success & Fulfillment, The Waldorf Approach

WELCOME!

This week’s post is in response to requests from both Clients and subscribers who have asked that I share a little about Waldorf early childhood education.

Since many of my Clients and subscribers have children, grandchildren, or are thinking about starting a family, I decided to create a post that provides some information about Waldorf inspired early childhood education to serve these folks.

I might add that one reason I started my blog was to promote all aspects of conscious, loving, mutually fulfilling relationships.

I have a deep conviction that the Waldorf approach to early childhood education helps to build a strong foundation for conscious, loving, mutually fulfilling relationships.

This is why Waldorf education ‘deserves’ mentioning in my public offering.

I sincerely hope that you find the information contained in this offering inspiring and useful.

Education for Success and Fulfillment:

The Waldorf Approach 

Every parent I have ever met wants the best for their children.

We want our children to be successful, prosperous, socially ‘well adjusted’, and able to adapt and adjust to the ever changing demands of an increasingly complex world.

The primary purpose of education is to facilitate the development of our children so that they can have fulfilling, meaningful lives, while making productive contributions to the richly diverse society in which we live.

Success in our world requires more than academic proficiency.

Success in our world requires creative thinking, positive self-esteem, character development, and social awareness, as well as academic competence.

The roots of Adaptability:

Adaptability is most commonly defined as: “being able to adjust oneself to new or changed circumstances”.

The key to true success at anything requires adaptability.

Think about it.

Where does the capacity to adapt come from?

All human beings are born with an incredible capacity to adapt.

These capacities begin to manifest at birth and in the young child, a solid foundation begins to form when they begin to develop ‘fantasy’ as a way to understand and interact with the outer world.

Fantasy allows a child to co-create the world in which they live.

They might fantasize that the tree in their backyard is the home of a magical kingdom, or that it is a rocket ship that will take them to space, or some other thing that suits their fancy in the moment.

This process is very important as it allows the child to begin to see that they can manipulate the outer world to suit their desires and needs.

This gives the developing child a sense of control, stability, and supports the development of positive self-esteem.

Fantasy develops into imagination, which allows the child to continue on their path of self-discovery.

The developing child uses imagination to discover many things about the world and how he fits into it.

Albert Einstein said it succinctly:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

Why Waldorf Kindergartens are play based.

By allowing the developing child the freedom to play we are maximizing his potential for imagination, the foundation of original creative thinking.

Carefully conducted scientific research (also known as empirical research) is establishing that Kindergarten aged children need to engage in spontaneous, creative play in order to maximize the opportunity for their imaginative capacities to develop.

There is this precious, never to be repeated ‘window of opportunity’ to fully develop imaginative capacities.

One long-term study revealed that children who attended play based early childhood programs and kindergartens tended to demonstrate far more flexible, adaptive, ‘original’ thinking in high school and early adulthood than children who were in purely academic types of early childhood and kindergarten types of programs.

Kindergarten aged children are eager to play because they are inwardly driven to do so.  This inward ‘drive’ is present to maximize our human potential.

Spontaneous, creative play allows the developing child to ‘create and test’: to try this or that out and see how it works to meet the outcome they have imagined in their growing mind’s eye.

Empirical researchers are now finding that this process is essential in the development of original, creative thinking.

Properly supervised creative, spontaneous play also provides the developing child the opportunity to experiment with various social situations and roles, and gives the child the opportunity to learn virtuous behavior through imitation.

Children aged birth to 7 years of age learn primarily through imitation.

Children this age tend to ‘copy’ or imitate the behavior of those around them.

Since young children instinctively know that adults are here to care for them, they tend to pay special attention to what the adults are doing and try to imitate their behavior.

A Waldorf inspired education program provides a ‘social learning environment’ where sharing, cooperation, and collaboration are modeled by the teacher(s).

This gives the developing child the opportunity to learn to think and behave virtuously.

Virtues are generally seen as moral excellence, right action and thinking, goodness or morality.  Some examples of virtues are kindness, generosity, sharing, putting the needs of others first, service, etc.

Creative, spontaneous play that is properly supervised and supported by a trained Waldorf teacher supports the development of ‘virtues’.

Waldorf education supports the whole human being by providing an educational experience that maximizes the developing child’s potential while encouraging virtuous attitudes and behavior.

I hope that you found this informative.

Please feel free to share it with family members, friends,  and colleagues with school aged children.

See you next week.

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