Frequently Asked Questions
You will may have questions about what makes Waldorf education different from other teaching methods. Please see several commonly asked questions and answers below. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please do not hesitate to send us an email or give us a call at 808.878.2511 and we will be happy to assist you.
Why should I choose a Waldorf school?
Waldorf schools honor and support the developing individuality of each child from preschool through adolescence. Every effort is made to make Waldorf schools safe, secure and nurturing environments for the children, and to protect their childhoods from harmful influences. Waldorf education has a foundational philosophy of child development underlying the curriculum. All subjects are introduced in an age appropriate fashion through an artistic approach. Finally, Waldorf Schools produce graduates who are academically advantaged, who consistently gain admission to top universities, who thrive in our increasingly interconnected global world, and who are prepared to create lives of meaning and purpose.
What kind of training do Waldorf teachers have?
Class teachers have both university degrees and teaching certification from a recognized Waldorf teacher training college or institute. (There are Adult Waldorf Education classes held right here at HWS.) Waldorf teachers are artists. They apply a creative and lively approach to teaching in a dynamic and enlivened environment that engages students. Typically, the course of study for teachers is from two to three years (in addition to the B.A. degree) and includes practice teaching in a Waldorf school under the supervision of experienced Waldorf teachers. Teachers must also satisfy whatever state credentialing and licensing requirements that might apply.
Why do Waldorf students stay with the same teacher for eight years?
Between the ages of seven and fourteen, children learn best through acceptance and emulation of authority just as in their earlier years they learn through imitation. In elementary school, particularly in the lower grades, the child is just beginning to expand his or her experiences beyond home and family. The class becomes a type of “family” as well, with its own authority figure - the teacher - in a role analogous to parent. With this approach, the students and teachers come to know each other very well, and the teacher is able to find, over the years, the best ways of helping individual children in their schooling.
Why do Waldorf schools discourage TV watching?
Waldorf philosophy emphasizes using creative imagery to spark the imagination and encourage harmonious play. The images children get from television, videos, computer games, and movies can work against the innate creativity and healthy physical development of the child.
We strongly believe the best policy is no screen watching for young children at all. We ask that you severely limit your child's viewing from birth to age 7. Particularly we ask that you do not allow your child to view any screens in the morning before school or in the evening before sleep. Please be conscious of the images your child takes into sleep time.
How is reading taught in a Waldorf school?
Waldorf language arts education begins with storytelling. Teachers relate stories (told from memorization) utilizing rich language and vibrant images throughout kindergarten and preschool. These stories captivate the children’s hearts and inspire their imaginations. If a child has a well developed imagination, they will be able to make the leap from little black marks on a page to what those marks represent in terms of letters forming words. Writing emerges as a desire to express what is spoken. During the first grade year, the children explore the alphabet, and how to use that alphabet. They learn how to represent what they say through the phonetic elements presented to them. Reading is learned as part of the writing process. Writing and reading are thus experienced as an active, creative endeavor.
Is Waldorf education Christian?
Waldorf schools seek to cultivate positive human values of compassion, reverence for life, respect, cooperation, love of nature, interest in the world, and social conscience, as well as to develop cognitive, artistic and practical skills. The soul life of the child is affirmed and nourished as the ground for healthy, active thinking. Because of this, Waldorf schools sometimes are mistakenly perceived as religious, or, in particular, as Christian schools. Waldorf schools are based on a spiritual view of the human being and of the world. However, no religion, including Christianity, is promulgated in a Waldorf school. (From Renewal: Spring 2001, Volume 10, Number 1)
What colleges and universities do your graduates attend?
Over 94% of Waldorf graduates nationwide attend college, with 88% completing their degrees. This compares favorably with the 90% of private high school graduates that attend college and the 76% of private school graduates that complete their college career. Waldorf graduates are three times as likely to study social and behavioral sciences, and twice as likely to study science and math as the general United States population.
What career paths do your alumni take?
Haleakalā Waldorf School graduates go on to careers in such varied fields as business, education, information technology, law, medicine, politics, science, social services, and the arts.
Well-known graduates of Waldorf Schools internationally include Jennifer Aniston (actor), Matthaus Atkinson (NASA project engineer), Kenneth Chenault (CEO and chairman of American Express), Julianna Margulies (actor), Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (automotive engineer and designer for Porsche), Charles Rose (award-winning architect), Aram Roston (CNN correspondent), and Jens Stoltenberg (Prime Minister of Norway).