Steiner school: 10 educational principles of Waldorf pedagogy

he pedagogy Waldorf or Steiner ‘s educational approach developed on indications of Rudolf Steiner from 1919. The Steiner schools , also called Waldorf schools , are now spread throughout the world.

The educational approach of the Steiner school covers the age range from pre-kindergarten to eighteen. Rudolf Steiner was a pedagogist and a philosopher, founder of anthroposophy, anthroposophical or steinerian medicine and Waldorf pedagogy itself.

The first Steiner schools were born in Germany after the First World War and the Stuttgart school was the model for the subsequent Steiner schools. Today in Italy there are 31 Waldorf schools , for a total of 720 schools in Europe.


  • Evolutionary anthropology
  • Importance of artistic subjects
  • Love for nature
  • Manual intelligence
  • Children learn in pictures
  • The role of fairy tales
  • Waldorf dolls
  • Curative pedagogy
  • Emulation and experimentation
  • Teachers as educators

Evolutionary anthropology

According to Steiner, pedagogy must be completely dedicated to the evolutionary needs of the child . In this case we speak of evolutionary anthropology. However, it should not concern objectives such as professional qualification and economic productivity, as required by industrial society. Growing up, the child will learn to understand what his role will be in the world and in society, without impositions from parents .

Importance of artistic subjects

Steiner believed that the conjective-intellectual aspect of learning should not predominate at the expense of artistic, creative and artisan subjects . So here is a pedagogy that gives a lot of space to artistic and craft materials instead of basing the school only on the classic study of the different subjects. Artistic and expressive elements should be present in every lesson. There is talk of “art of education”.

Love for nature

Waldorf pedagogy teaches children love for nature and respect for the environment . The ideal environment for the education of children is rural, almost bucolic. Much importance is given to natural agriculture and the origin of food. Organic and biodynamic nutrition is highly valued.

Manual intelligence

The practical teachings of Waldorf pedagogy relate mainly to the conduct of manual activities . For example, children are encouraged to participate in creative, artistic workshops and importance is given to teaching practical activities such as knitting . This is because Waldorf schools inspired by the Steiner method. Manual work has a high pedagogical and educational value, develops hand-eye coordination and keeps the brain in training.

Children learn in pictures

The child’s imagination is cultivated through images. Imaginative teaching stimulates representation skills. Fairy tales told to children are accompanied by images related to the world of fantasy. Images are also used in teaching children to write. The images are part of the way of speaking of the teacher who will say to “put the lock on his mouth” instead of “to be silent”. Here more information to deepen the importance of images in the Steiner schools.

The role of fairy tales

Steiner claimed that children need fairy tales . He stressed the importance of telling the children fairy tales of the popular tradition both locally and from the rest of the world, since fairy tales not only represent an invaluable cultural heritage but above all because for the child they become an instrument of fundamental growth. Fairy tales, with the obstacles and tests to be faced that make them up, tell the stages of the journey that the child faces in life. Fairy tales give comfort to children and contribute to the development of fantasy and understanding of emotions.

Waldorf dolls

The Waldorf dolls are soft handmade dolls used to help the child develop the imagination. The main feature of Waldorf dolls is the poor definition of the facial features, which serves to leave more room for the child’s imagination. In this way, children can associate their favorite emotions and expressions with the dolls. In addition, Waldorf dolls are considered an important tool to facilitate the child in dialogue with himself.

Curative pedagogy

Steiner has created an original educational approach based on curative pedagogy . The curative pedagogy serves to accompany the evolutionary process of the child and the boy when he is faced with obstacles and moments of difficulty. In Italy the reference point for curative pedagogy, widespread in 50 countries around the world, is the “Association of Italian language for curative pedagogy and anthroposophic sociotherapy

Emulation and experimentation

Children learn by emulation , for example by imitating the activities in which their parents are engaged, and thanks to experimentation, that is, putting themselves into play in these activities, when possible. Observing a parent or a family member while preparing dinner, knitting or sewing a Waldorf doll by hand becomes a truly concrete starting point for the child to learn manual activities.

Teachers as educators

In Steiner schools teachers are real educators , in particular during the first eight years of school, a period in which they always remain responsible for the same class. Furthermore, great importance is given to the teaching of foreign languages from the first year of school. The ‘ language teaching takes place through games, conversations and performances.

by Abdullah Sam
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