In the early 1900s, there was sentiment that the innocence of childhood must be preserved. A whole person should not only devote himself to academic pursuits, but cultural ones as well, including art, music, physical movement, and social responsibility. German philosopher Rudolf Steiner opened the first Waldorf school in 1919 in the plant at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany, at the request of the plant’s owner. Waldorf education holds that a school is an organic mix of children and their teachers, who should lend their individual talents to the school. Additionally, Waldorf education prescribes that in the first seven years of life, children learn by observing and imitating the work of adults and peers. In providing real-life materials as well as open-ended props to support imaginative play, the child is able to recreate that is within him—be it something observed or something imagined.
In the work of Rudolf Steiner, it is clear that the child is not seen as an empty vessel, waiting to be filled with by an adult with knowledge. Instead, Steiner saw children as brilliant, capable, and innocent. Surrounded by beautiful things and given opportunities by loving teachers, children make meaning in great ways. We agree.
To borrow from Waldorf education, play with open-ended materials will be a highly valued part of the day at The Good Earth Farm School. Such play allows children to imitate what they have learned about the world and to express their active imaginations. Special attention is placed in surrounding the children with beautiful, natural, and interesting toys and materials that they may use in their play.
Posted in: Resources