In Waldorf education, the Kindergarten is seen from the perspective of the three phases of child
Here is a quick look:
Today, we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution and it is marked by technological
breakthroughs in various fields like The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and
autonomous vehicles to name a few. Industries are evolving and growing beyond our
comprehension and so are the jobs they are offering. If we don’t answer the call to embrace an
alternate education style and instead continue to push our children to achieve the best grades we
are only going to fail them as their teachers and parents.
We need to give them the wherewithal to be able to learn anything, to deal with life’s challenges
and to become self-actualised adults who can do what they are meant to do and still be happy.
In Waldorf education the child is the curriculum and education a preparation for life. The child’s
innate strengths are drawn out through various activities so they can nourish naturally. Children
are led by curiosity, they love to draw pictures and listen to stories. They engage in all sorts of
physical activity from climbing to Eurhythmy, bettering their coordination and balance. They are
involved in the making of things from ground up instead of having it ready made like cooking,
weaving, making coloured water for their pichkaris during Holi and lots more.
All these activities they are engaged in through the curriculum helps them stay in touch with who
they are, enabling them to become well-adjusted individuals, who are connected to their inner
selves. That ability will equip them to deal with life’s challenges better. Waldorf education
educates from the inside out.
Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education believed that we should continuously prepare
children for the next stage in their lives. He has a threefold principle, which is the foundation of
his approach to education. We as teachers and parents need to understand his principle that the
threefold human being is the basis for child development. He separates childhood into three phases
– early childhood (0-7 years), middle childhood (7-14 years) and adolescence (14-21 years). We
also need to understand the difference levels of consciousness at each of these stages - will, feeling
and thinking, in order to successfully interpret child development.
Its in early childhood (0-7 years) that children are a reservoir of will. The child in this phase is
focused, attentive and that’s why its diffcult to get them to listen. When they play they are
completely oblivious to their surroundings, they forget who they are and where they are.
To be able to face the polarities in this modern world we live in, our children have to have a
balanced emotional life. On the one hand they will need to be receptive and sensitive to new
experiences and on the other hand they will need to be resilient and strong enough to endure any
crisis that they might face. Art can teach our children to develop this deep feeling capacity. All
children are artists. Waldorf education couldn’t stress more on learning through art. Art is a full
brain activity, involving the right and left-brain for one motor skills, sequential thinking, cognitive
ability and artistic sensibility. The success of Waldorf students in later life as entrepreneurs,
musicians, artists and professors bear testimony that all the drawing and painting will pay off in
the boardroom someday.
Education can also occur through playful ideas and problems. Keeping it lively and curiosity
kindling is what will develop dynamic thinkers. Waldorf education will give children the chance to
be imaginative, out of the box, original thinkers who can do the work that needs to be done and
ask the questions that need to be asked. Their multi sensory education will help rebuild the human
connection, and regenerate an environment that is habitable for all, physically, socially and