In Richard Louv’s recent book Vitamin N, Louv shares 500 actions to bring more nature into our lives. One of my favorites is the suggestion that parents choose schools, such as Montessori or Waldorf schools, that support direct-experience learning often in natural settings. In the following interview, Jane Zeender, the Director of Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, Colorado, shares how Waldorf Kindergarten programs can impact children’s health and happiness.
Jason Sperling: What is Waldorf Education?
Jane Zeender: Waldorf Education was founded almost 100 years ago by an Austrian philosopher by the name of Rudolf Steiner, who was approached by the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory to create a new educational system that would raise healthy, balanced, human beings so that the world could avoid a repeat of World War I. Today, Waldorf education is the fastest-growing educational movement in the world, in both the charter and private schools, and our fastest growth is happening in China, which speaks to the continued need to educate children in this holistic way.
In Waldorf education, we not only focus on the intellect but also on the social/emotional growth of the child as well as the physical and spiritual growth of the child. All of our work with children is done with a deep understanding of healthy human development, so that we meet each child, at each age, with what speaks to them emotionally, physically, socially, as well as intellectually.
Our students graduate from our school with a solid understanding of who they are, with personal connections to themselves and others, and with the capacities and skills to go out into the world in service to humanity. Waldorf graduates are unique, healthy individuals with a strong sense of purpose and who find meaning in the world and in their lives.
To read the full article at the Children & Nature Network:
About the Author:
Jason Runkel Sperling found Running Wild family nature club in Boulder, Colorado, in 2015. He is a skilled and experienced outdoorsman who earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a youth – and went on to travel and live around the globe for 20 years, scuba diving, surfing, backpacking, skiing, rafting, and adventuring. He is the author of several books that help parents get their children outdoors, and reconnected with nature, themselves, family, and friends. Read his blog and all his books (for free) on www.jasonrunkelsperling.com.