Why is Waldorf math education unique and powerful?

Waldorf education lays the foundation for each individual to experience the internalization of mathematical thinking.  Like all Waldorf curricula math lessons are carefully planned to meet the needs of the developing child. Math lessons are brought through many subjects and modalities, while mindfully educating and experiencing math through the hands, heart and head.  Waldorf math education involves movement, music, rhythm, art, form drawing, language, creativity, curiosity and wonder, creating a truly multi-sensory approach to mathematics. As a result, Waldorf students acquire a deep mathematical understanding that they carry throughout their lives. Below is a brief overview of how math progresses through the grades. Math Through the Grades The rhythm of the day, of nursery rhymes and poems, and the social considerations of how many friends need a place setting or a swing are all integral parts of the youngest child’s day in a Waldorf early childhood classroom. In first grade, students learn that numbers exist everywhere in the world, especially in nature. Through this holistic approach to learning math, the special significance of the number one is discovered (as in one universe, one human being) and students explore the numbers that are found within each being (each person has two eyes and two ears, four limbs, and so on). In this way, the mystery of numbers is introduced and is further explored through the grades. In first grade, the four math processes are taught simultaneously because they reinforce each other (multiplication is fast addition, division is fast subtraction) and while learning math facts we begin to develop a general number sense which is so important for subsequent work in...

An Inspiring Visit

The  7th and 8th grades were visited today by Shabana Basij-Rasikh.  Shabana shared that as a young girl in Kabul, Afghanistan, her parents, strong advocates for education for girls, dressed her as a boy in order for her to walk freely in the streets and secretly attend a school for girls. This was at great risk of death by the Taliban, which controlled the city. Shabana spoke to the students about her passion for education: “When you educate girls, you educate boys, too. For those girls become mothers who then have sons and share with them a passion for learning for all.”  She spoke passionately about students as leaders and told our students that they need to know that their work can change the world. Eventually, Shabana came to the United States to attend Middlebury College. On returning to Afghanistan,  she founded the SOLA (School of Leadership Afghanistan), a boarding school for girls.  Students are taught in English and many find sponsorships to help continue their education in Europe and the United States. We were happy to host Shabana today and her message served as an incredible reminder of the freedoms we enjoy in the United States — both in terms of educational opportunities and opportunities for girls and women.  She encouraged the students to travel and begin to get a perspective on their own lives by building their relationship to the whole world, and not just their town or country. The following shares some of the stories from the young women at SOLA –...

Letter from Our New Administrator

Dear Parents, Welcome to the beauty of early September and all of the possibilities the beginning of a new school year holds. My daughter Maren, in fourth grade, and I are filled with joy at joining the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm community. Having worked for non-profit educational organizations for more than 25 years I have come to realize that Waldorf Education worldwide is the healthiest model of education available today. At its highest striving, Waldorf Education serves as a vehicle for social change in our challenging world. On a regional level, it is a model for other school institutions in integrated curriculum and relationship building. And finally on a personal level, the teachers, staff, and parents who support Waldorf education are some of the most thoughtful, loving, and insightful people I have ever met, and we have consciously come together to raise our children as creative and engaged participants in life. I know that even within such awareness there are struggles and challenges within communities; this is the wonderful tension of a growing and evolving group of people. As the new administrator, I look forward to facing these challenges with openness, honesty, and the willingness of heart to listen to other points of view. I know that amazing things can happen. In the few short weeks I have been at Moraine Farm I already feel an energy of positive potential all around. I feel blessed to have been invited to help support the next stage of development of this lovely school and school community. I look forward to hearing from every one of you, your hopes and dreams,...

Waldorf School at Moraine Farm Alumni Stand Out in Science

Earlier this year, a graduate of our class of 2011 was selected as a finalist for this year’s Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair for her research on the Effects of BPA on the Regeneration Rate of Lumbriculus Variegatus (Effect of plastics on worm reproduction).  She presented her findings at MIT in early May. A member of our class of 2014 was one of 5 students recently selected to represent his high school in the New England 1:1 Summit in Burlington, Massachusetts. This is a regional education summit where schools leading the way in technology-based education systems share their successes and challenges. Students are selected to represent the school based on their mastery of the technology and their clear perspective on its educational value. Well done Waldorf School at Moraine Farm...

Waldorf Education Featured on The Simpsons Season Finale

The Simpsons gave a comic shout out to Waldorf Education during their Season 26 finale for 2015 — “Mathlete’s Feat”, which aired May 17, 2015. The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) was pleased with the level of in-depth knowledge The Simpsons writers clearly possessed about pedagogy and stereotypes associated with Waldorf Education, which made this fun caricature both lighthearted and flattering. So how did Waldorf Education end up in an episode of The Simpsons? After Springfield Elementary School is bested in a mathlete competition, a well intentioned group donates servers, laptops and smart boards to the school so that students can better compete. Shortly after this tech revolution, there’s a massive server crash and teaching is at a standstill. This is when Lisa comes up with an idea that will save the school — “Learning while Doing.” Springfield Elementary becomes a Waldorf School! From there the students learn by doing — in Simpson-esque, tongue-in-cheek fashion, of course. By the end of the episode, their new Waldorf Education helps them win a mathlete rematch.   AWSNA was honored to have been featured in such a positive light in The Simpsons Season Finale and several Waldorf schools are responding with tributes to The Simpsons. A collective of handmade hats is being created to send to The Simpsons writers. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is having students create beeswax figures of The Simpsons characters to share online and with The Simpsons execs....