The class teacher method, or “looping” as it’s sometimes known, has been a foundational philosophy of all Waldorf schools ever since Rudolf Steiner and Emil Molt founded the very one in Germany almost 100 years ago in 1919. There are now over 1000 Waldorf Schools in 64 countries worldwide, each one still practising the class teacher method for those first critical years of formal education.
Essentially, this method describes the practice of keeping one class of children together with one teacher for between four and eight years, depending on the individual school’s philosophy. Although this practice has drawn criticism from certain quarters, and is often labelled anachronistic and unwelcomingly reminiscent of “little red schoolhouse” days, the method has overwhelming support from millions of Waldorf parents around the world, all of whom appreciate the benefits that looping offers their children.
An Alternate Family with a Class Teacher
By staying with the same class for several years, teachers assume a quasi-parental role, forming an almost familial social group with the children. In this setting, teachers get to know to know their students very well, and develop the best and most appropriate ways of helping them cope with individual challenges. Teachers also get to know the parents and siblings of their class members on a far deeper level than is usually possible, creating a level of comfort, respect and trust that doesn’t happen when you have to get used to a new parent every year.
Better Classroom Management
Teachers like to establish procedures and routines for everything, and to let the children know what the class rules are, and what is expected of them. By keeping classes together with the same teacher for several years, these routines become second nature to the children, and they don’t have to adapt to new rules and methods every year. This continual developmental loop saves time and reduces “new school year” anxiety.
If you’d like to know more about the class teacher method, or anything else about the Waldorf way, visit us on https://www.rosewaywaldorf.co.za or call +27 31 768 1424.