Swadhaa and What is Unique about Waldorf Education
By Madhurie Singh, March 19, 2018
The best overall statement on what is unique about Waldorf education is to be found in the stated goals of the schooling: “to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives”.
The aim of Waldorf schooling is to educate the whole child, “head, heart, and hands”. The curriculum is as broad as time will allow and balances academics subjects with artistic and practical activities.
Waldorf teachers are dedicated to creating a genuine love of learning within each child. By freely using arts and activities in the service of teaching academics, an internal motivation to learn is developed in the students, doing away with the need for competitive testing and grading.
Teachers in Swadhaa: One teacher for 8 years. So grade 1 to grade 8, a teacher is with same students and teaches them all subjects. Unlike the other boards where teachers keep changing every year and sometimes two to three times in one year and each subject is taught by a different teacher.
Swadhaa teaches children to read very late. They wait for a child to show interest in reading, then they start teaching them how to read. They believe that the children do not get tired of reading too much too early. Yet, they believe that students catch up and sometimes surpass other children in reading, even if they started reading late.
Centre for Steiner Education and Teachers Training (CSETT) Mumbai. The school is being mentored by them and the teachers are regularly trained by them. Hence there will always be a good number of teachers.
If a child needs to move from Steiner to a conventional board, they take 6 months notice in advance to be able to integrate changes in the curriculum to enable a child to move smoothly to any board.
Since there are no quantitative tests in Swadhaa, they believe that children do not need to be in the competitive environment. If one wins, others will lose. They have many non-judgemental and creative ways of assessing the learning curve of children.
Text Books are not to be found in any Waldorf School. The students use one notebook and write everything in it. They write their own experiences and create their own textbooks.
Subjects like art, music, gardening, and foreign languages that are not given as much importance in other boards, are central subjects at Waldorf schools. All children learn to knit developing the much needed fine motor skill and coordination in fingers, eyes and brain.
The use of electronic media, particularly television, by young children is strongly discouraged in Waldorf schools.
Primary Grades 1 – 3
- Pictorial introduction to the alphabet, writing, reading, spelling, poetry and drama.
- Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories.
- Numbers, basic mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- Nature stories, house building and gardening.
Middle Grades 4 – 6
- Writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry and drama.
- Norse myths, history and stories of ancient civilizations.
- Review of the four mathematical processes, fractions, percentages, and geometry.
- Local and world geography, comparative zoology, botany and elementary physics.
Upper Grades 7 – 8
- Creative writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry and drama.
- Medieval history, Renaissance, world exploration, American history and biography.
- Geography, physics, basic chemistry, astronomy, geology and physiology.
Special subjects also taught include:
- Handwork: knitting, crochet, sewing, cross stitch, basic weaving, toy making and woodworking.
- Music: singing, pentatonic flute, recorder, string instruments, wind, brass and percussion instruments.
- Foreign Languages (varies by school): Spanish, French, Japanese and German.
- Art: wet-on-wet water color painting, form drawing, beeswax and clay modeling, perspective drawing.
- Movement: eurythmy, gymnastics, group games.
Fee ranges between Rs 1 Lakh to 1.5 Lakh from Nursery to Grade 5.