Washington Waldorf cultivates each student's capacity to think, feel compassionate, and act purposefully in the world. We are committed to the education movement inspired by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner's pioneering work and advanced by Waldorf teachers worldwide.
At Washington Waldorf, we encourage the connections that broaden students' experiences and help them grow in new directions. Our teachers incorporate academic, artistic, and practical elements into every subject, creating memorable lessons, successful scholars, and healthy individuals. Washington Waldorf's values, listed below, are the basis of our actions. These core values guide our choices, define our courses, and establish our direction as an institute for learning.
The healthy development of children and adolescents
A balanced, dynamic curriculum
Meaningful teacher-student relationships
A diverse and inclusive community
A respect for nature
An active spiritual life
At the Washington Waldorf School, we prepare young people for the future by developing their full capacities for creative imagination, critical thinking, and active engagement in the world. Waldorf education is truly an education for "head, heart, and hands." Our purpose is to develop the whole human being in a healthy and nurturing environment.
WWS educates the whole child. Our curriculum is designed to develop our students academically, emotionally, and physically. In practice, this means that, in addition to a firm grounding in core academic skills, WWS students have many opportunities to engage in the arts, music, and drama and practical manual skills in textile arts, metalwork, woodwork, and more. Moreover, the arts are not merely extra classes. They are woven throughout the curriculum. Waldorf students also receive extensive training in movement and spend lots of time outside.
The Waldorf curriculum is developmentally appropriate. Children have very different capacities at different ages, and our curriculum is tailored to meet students "where they are." We believe young children, up until grade 1, need to spend much of their time in free play. This builds their capacities for imagination and goal setting while also building social skills and small motor skills. Academics are introduced in the early grades and gradually become more intense into the middle school years. Simultaneously, the Lower School curriculum is rich in the arts, storytelling, and drama, which cultivates the students' ability to be empathetic and compassionate. By High School, the curriculum is designed to cultivate the students' capacities for rigorous critical thinking, supplemented by continued, more advanced work in arts, music, and expressive movement.
We create a safe and nurturing community for students and their families while preparing our students for life beyond Waldorf. In a genuine sense, WWS is an oasis, especially in the Children's Garden and Lower School, where "children can be children." As students get older, we help them engage the larger world in a healthy way that allows them to develop their independence and good judgment. Our families face the same choices and challenges as other families, and ultimately our students will have to make their way in the larger world outside the Waldorf school. Our goal is to help our students know who they are so that they can go forward with confidence that they are equipped to thrive when that time comes.
Although there is no typical Waldorf student, our students tend to be individualistic, creative, hard-working, and open to new experiences and learning ways. Many different kinds of students thrive at the Washington Waldorf School. All students discover new facets of themselves. In many cases, students who have become stressed or indifferent in other settings blossom at the Washington Waldorf School. Even though we are a relatively small school, students experience rich social life, and no one is anonymous.
We delay the use of digital media in education. This is an area where there are many misconceptions about Waldorf. We believe that young children benefit from little or no screen time. Moreover, we are skeptical about the much-touted positive impacts of instructional technologies, especially for young children. However, we recognize this field is changing rapidly and that such technologies are becoming more effective.
Otherwise, we want our students to maximize their real-world experience rather than the virtual world. Contemporary life is saturated in technology, and every child must be prepared to thrive in a highly technological world. Above all, this requires a high degree of flexibility, adaptability, and creativity — precisely the qualities the Waldorf curriculum fosters. Finally, it is worth noting that Waldorf graduates are very well represented in high technology fields and media, where their unique brand of creativity is highly valued.
Our graduates are admitted to a wide range of colleges and universities and must gain admission to their top choice. Waldorf graduates stand out in the admissions process, and our approach means that teachers are equipped to provide highly individualized, persuasive recommendations. Many of our graduates also receive substantial merit-based financial assistance. Beyond college, our graduates excel in a wide variety of careers. Our graduates are highly creative, entrepreneurial, driven, socially-minded, and grounded in who they are.