Head Heart Hands Education

“The heart of the Waldorf method is that education is an art – it must speak to the child’s experience. To educate the whole child, his heart and his will must be reached, as well as the mind.” -Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
Core Principles

Alliance for Public Waldorf Schools

1. Image of the Human Being
Public Waldorf education is founded on a coherent image of the developing human being.

  • Each human being is a unique individual who brings specific gifts, creative potential, and intentions to this life. Public Waldorf education addresses multiple aspects of the developing child including the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, cultural, moral, and spiritual. Through this, each child is helped to integrate into a maturing whole, able to determine a unique path through life.
  • Rudolf Steiner’s educational insights are seen as a primary, but not exclusive, source of guidance for an understanding of the image of the human being.
2. Child Development
An understanding of child development guides all aspects of the educational program.

  • Human development proceeds in approximate 7-year phases. Each phase has characteristic physical, emotional, and cognitive dimensions and a primary learning orientation.
  • State and federal mandates, including standardized testing and college and career readiness, are met through our developmental perspective. This requires creativity and may stimulate innovation.
  • The Public Waldorf curriculum and teaching methodologies address the needs of the individual and class in order to support comprehensive learning and healthy, balanced development. Public Waldorf schools use a few key, distinctive methodological guidelines to accomplish this.
3. Social Change through Education
Public Waldorf education exists to serve both the individual and society.

  • Public Waldorf education seeks to offer the most supportive conditions possible for the development of each student’s unique capacities and for engendering the following qualities to work towards positive social change:
  • A harmonious relationship between thinking, feeling, and willing;
    Self-awareness and social competence;
    Developmentally appropriate, academically informed, independent thinking;
    The initiative and confidence necessary to transform intentions into realities; and
    An interest in the world, with active respect and a feeling of responsibility for oneself, one’s community, and the environment.

  • Such individuals will be able to participate meaningfully in society.
4. Human Relationships
Public Waldorf Schools foster a culture of healthy relationships.

  • Enduring relationships — and the time needed to develop them — are central to Public Waldorf education. The teacher works with each student and class as a whole to support relationship-based learning.
  • Healthy working relationships with parents, colleagues, and all stakeholders are essential to the well being of the student, class, and school community. Everyone benefits from a community life that includes festivals, events, adult education, study, and volunteer activities.
  • Public Waldorf education encourages collaboration in schools, within the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, among all schools working out of a developmental approach, in conjunction with the broader field of education.
  • 5. Access and Diversity
    Public Waldorf Schools work to increase diversity and access to all sectors of society.

    • Public Waldorf schools respond to unique demands and cultures in a wide range of locations in order to provide maximum access to a diverse range of students. Schools work towards ensuring that students do not experience discrimination in admission, retention, or participation.
    • Public Waldorf schools and teachers have the freedom and responsibility to creatively meet the developmental needs of the students with the most inclusive possible approaches for all learners.
    • The Public Waldorf curriculum may be modified to reflect the student population in the school.
    6. Collaborative Leadership
    School leadership is conducted through shared responsibilities within established legal structures.

    • Faculty, staff, administration and boards of a Public Waldorf school collaborate to guide and lead the school with input from stakeholder groups. To the greatest extent possible, decisions related to the curriculum are the responsibility of those faculty and staff with knowledge and experience of Rudolf Steiner’s educational insights.
    • Governance and internal administration are implemented in a manner that cultivates active collaboration, supportive relationships, effective leadership, consequential action, and accountability. A Public Waldorf school is committed to studying and deepening its understanding of best practices of governance appropriate to its stage of organizational development.
    7. Schools as Learning Communities
    Public Waldorf schools cultivate a love of lifelong learning and self-knowledge.

    • Public Waldorf education emphasizes continuous engagement in learning and self-reflective practices that support ongoing improvement. At the individual and classroom level, teachers reflect regularly on their observations of the students and of the educational process. Essential aspects of school-wide work and professional development include self-reflection, peer review, faculty and individual study, artistic activity, and research.
    • Rudolf Steiner is a primary, but not exclusive, source of guidance for developing an active inner, meditative life and an understanding of the dynamics within society.
    • Public Waldorf schools encourage all community members to engage in active and ongoing ways to enhance their capacities as human beings through self-reflection and conscious social engagement.

    Recommended Literature

    Waldorf Education: A Family Guide by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen Rivers
    For those who are new to Waldorf Education and don’t know which book to read first, this is it!
    The #1 introduction to Waldorf Education available today! Often referred to as “Waldorf 101,” this book is often provided to all newly-enrolled families in many Waldorf schools. This collection of articles—written by parents, teachers and others—offers a “first look” into the history, philosophy, curriculum, and traditions of this unique education. Learn why Waldorf Education is the fastest growing independent school movement in the world.

    Title: “Waldorf Education: A Family Guide”
    Authors: Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen Rivers
    Publisher: Michaelmas Pr (June 1, 1999)
    Paperback: 221 pages
    ISBN-10: 0964783215
    ISBN-13: 978-0964783218

    Amazon SmileSelect Monterey Bay Charter School on Amazon Smile and a portion of your purchase will be donated to the School!

    Waldorf Schools: Kindergarten and Early Grades, ed. Ruth Pusch
    Focuses on the early grades. Written by Waldorf education’s pioneers -William Harrer, Al Laney, Christy and Henry Barnes, Marjorie Spock, Gisela O’Neil, John Gardner and others – this anthology deals with subjects like: The effect of Waldorf education on home life; What do we mean by education as an art?; The moral education of young children; The role of the teacher and Work with underprivileged children.

    Title: “Waldorf Schools: Kindergarten and Early Grades”
    Editor: Ruth Pusch
    Publisher: Mercury Pr (June 1, 1993)
    Paperback: 220 pages
    ISBN-10: 092997929X
    ISBN-13: 978-0929979298

    Amazon SmileSelect Monterey Bay Charter School on Amazon Smile and a portion of your purchase will be donated to the School!

    Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out by Jack Petrash
    Written by a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, this book offers a jargon-free view of Waldorf education and its philosophy of the importance of a three-dimensional education. Whether you’re a Waldorf parent or teacher, or you just want to learn more about these innovative educational concepts, this book contains important ideas on learning that you can apply today.

    Title: “Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out”
    Author: Jack Petrash
    Publisher: Gryphon House (September 1, 2002)
    Paperback: 192 pages
    ISBN-10: 0876592469
    ISBN-13: 978-0876592465

    Amazon SmileSelect Monterey Bay Charter School on Amazon Smile and a portion of your purchase will be donated to the School!


    Recommended Websites

    Alliance for Public Waldorf Education


    Waldorf Education in Public Schools

    Harvard Graduate School of Education:

    The Alliance for Childhood



    What People are Saying

    “As the parent of two students, what sets MBCS apart from other (excellent) schools is the focus on developing not only a very competent, but confident person. Most institutions can teach the necessary curriculum for higher education, but it takes an intentional effort on the part of the entire school to help a child develop a sense of “self” that cannot be easily unraveled by one challenging exam or shaken by a classmate’s comment. At MBCS, the children learn to shift their attention from how they rank relative to their peers, to how they compare to the best version of themselves. The effect is a profound realization that eludes many adults: academic abilities and struggles are not a reflection of a person’s value. Unraveling their self-worth from their abilities frees MBCS students from any hesitation to go deeper into the areas of study that don’t come easily. For these students, learning truly becomes a passion rather than a benchmark; opening them up to unparalleled creativity and engagement.”
    — MBCS Parent
    “By the time students reach us, they are grounded broadly and deeply and have a remarkable enthusiasm for learning. They possess the eye of discoverer and the compassionate heart of the reformer, which when joined to a task, can change the planet.”
    — Arthur Zajonc Ph.D.,Professor of Physics Amherst College
    “MBCS is proof that a solid institution transcends its mere structures; despite a somewhat nomadic existence as far as physical locations over the years, the community’s coherence and dedication shine through with great consistency.”
    — MBCS Parent
    “If I had a child of school age, I would send him to one of the Waldorf Schools.”
    — Saul Bellow, Nobel Laureate
    “By tapping into the experiential and expressive aspects of music, teachers can add a distinctive dimension to instruction in other subjects.”
    — From Growing Up Complete: The Imperative for Music Education, The Report of the National Commission on Music Education, March 1
    “The school has a strong sense of community. Teachers treat the students with respect offering them to grow as indiviuals with its unique curriculum.”
    — MBCS Parent
    “Waldorf methods education nurtures the intellectual, psychological and spiritual unfolding of the child.The concerned parent and teacher will find a multitude of problems clearly addressed in this practical, artistic approach.”
    — Joseph Chilton Pearce, Author, Magical Child
    “Entering a classroom at this school can be a transformational event in changing your expectations about what school can be about.”
    — MBCS Parent
    “Waldorf methods provide a program that not only fosters conventional forms of academic achievement, but also puts a premium on the development of imagination and the refinement of the sensibilities.”
    — Elliot Eisner †, Ph.D., Professor of Education and Art, Stanford University
    “Parents will find nothing quite like this school anywhere in the area. Beyond the Waldorf-inspired curriculum, with its emphasis on the love of learning and the potential of every child across multiple intelligences, the community has been inspirational.”
    — MBCS Parent

    What Our Alumni Say

    “I was a kindergartener. This was a Waldorf school. From Kindergarten to 8th Grade I sang, drew, knit and played to my heart’s content. We didn’t have text books. We made them. Hundreds of pieces of paper sat on our desk as I sew together a book of my writings and drawings. When I graduated MBCS, I wasn’t just a complete student but a complete person. I wasn’t taught just names and dates but taught care, love, respect, and responsibility. We all have different beginnings and backgrounds, but I think it’s always important to find a place that feels most at home, a place that feels safe and identified with. A place that is truly you.”

    – MBCS Alumnus, now attending York School

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