In 1919, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, Austrian philosopher and the founder of Waldorf education said, “Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” In the years that followed, he created an education that is as relevant today as it was a century ago, one which lays the groundwork for turning out students with drive, imagination, and capacity for original thought.
Children love to move and learn actively, and the child who sits at a desk all day will not be found at the Waldorf School of Princeton. All areas of the rich education include active learning that stimulates the students’ imagination, prompts original thinking and forms problem solving skills. Waldorf education engages the child and a love of learning unfolds. The school’s 220 students reflect all cultural, racial, social and religious backgrounds. The education — which is part of a worldwide movement of more than 900 schools — strives to provide an education imbued with a fundamental respect for the individuality of each human being. Through a rich curriculum integrating the academic, artistic, and the practical, the children are guided to foster self-knowledge and to meet the world by awakening within them the ability to have original thoughts and strength of purpose.
In the Early Childhood program, younger children are provided a nurturing transition from home life to school. Their sense of wonder and use of imagination is cherished. The program includes purposeful and meaningful free play, bread baking, finger knitting, modeling beeswax, watercolor painting, puppetry, and healthy walks in nature during a typical day. Particular emphasis is placed on the rhythm of the year through seasonal stories and songs. Through these activities, the children discover the beauty of music, language, movement, color and nature.
The Grade School curriculum rests on two core beliefs: the types of activities and instruction should be appropriate to the developmental stage of each age group, and education of the whole child — “head, heart, and hands” — is paramount. This means that not just the intellect, but also the artistic or feeling realm, and the practical arts are present in both the curriculum and within each lesson. The class teacher, who ideally remains with the children from first through eighth grades, is responsible for the child’s education in the primary subjects, including mathematics, language arts, history and science, painting, drawing, and music.
Grade school students are provided algebra, geometry, chemistry, physics, French, geography, history, language arts, literature, geology, physiology and health, botany, zoology, as well as chorus, orchestra, dramatic arts, handwork, painting, drawing, clay, biodynamic gardening, woodworking, sports and games, and eurythmy. Eurythmy, also unique to Waldorf education, is the art of movement.
Parents seeking an environment that recognizes the gifts that each child brings, may contact the Waldorf School admissions office at 609-466-1970, ext. 15, to visit the school campus, which is located on 20 acres of rolling meadows, forest and stream. Visit the website at www.princetonwaldorf.org for more information.