When you look at your child, you see the whole person. The child they are now, and the potential of the adult they will become. You also realise that there are significant emotional, social and cognitive milestones they will experience along that journey. This is the same way that Waldorf schools – also known as a Steiner school – looks at your child. We take a holistic view of education, appreciating that children have hands and hearts, as well as heads. Bringing all these elements into balance and harmony and introducing content and experiences at strategic moments that meet the child’s changing educational needs, is a core philosophy of all Waldorf schools.
One of the fundamental differences between Waldorf schools and mainstream schools is that before the age of seven Waldorf schools teach children through play, and teaching methods which focus on how to think, not what to think. We know that focusing on abstract academics at this stage of development has a negative impact on future learning. Children often become stressed, anxious and rigid in their thinking when formal learning happens at too young an age. We place emphasis on the development of critical life skills – being able to look after yourself, avoid violence and care for others. This emphasis on life skills builds the foundations of reading, writing and arithmetic.
In many traditional mainstream schools, subjects are taught for the sake of gaining content knowledge, whereas in a Waldorf school subjects are experienced so that content knowledge is used for growth and development. At Roseway Waldorf, we know that primary school children connect more effectively with their school subjects through feelings as a part to the intellect. This stage of development is the optimal time for nurturing imagination. Steiner stated, “this vital picture-making capacity…gives life and insight to logical and conceptual thinking.” This is why we bring some form of artistic activity into every subject and every lesson. In the lessons, there is a balance between listening, speaking, and doing …between humour and seriousness, taking in, transforming, and giving out.
When young children learn in an environment that nurtures and recognises all their senses, they go on to become emotionally secure adolescents who are more than ready to successfully navigate life’s challenges with confidence, courage and enthusiasm.
Our high school curriculum is broad, rigorous and inspiring! We do not encourage premature subject specialisation. Roseway Waldorf pupils have the privilege of five years of science, five years of mathematics, five years of biology, history, geography, literature, language studies, art, music, craft, farming and so on. The various aspects of the curriculum provide a real challenge to the individual pupil, who has to display a larger measure of independence and originality of thinking than is normally the case at secondary school level. At the end of this process our pupils are equipped not only to successfully manage Matric and enter into their chosen course of tertiary studies, but most importantly they are ready to tackle life with courage. They face new challenges undaunted, armed with the certainty that they are prepared for what the future sends their way, ready to grasp new opportunities the moment they recognise them.
The twelve-year journey through of our curriculum is designed to awaken children’s imaginations, encouraging them to communicate effectively, think critically, and develop rich perspectives about the world in which they live. We use an integrative and innovative approach to learning, encouraging our children to become life-long learners with the necessary initiative resilience and creativity to make a positive impact on their future.
We believe that once you’ve had the chance to look around our beautiful school, your question won’t be “Why choose a Steiner School?” but rather, “Why not?”