We recently participated in a local meeting with members of our regional Pedagogical Section Council, Waldorf class teachers, and administrators. The topic of the evening was Waldorf at 100 - Growing Old or Growing Wise?
Many schools and teachers (and Waldorf related organizations) are still not sure how to include Waldorf homeschoolers in these larger conversations - we always appreciate being invited to the table. We consider one important part of our work to be bridging this gap. How do we help homeschooling families gain access to training resources, and, how do we help local Waldorf schools find ways to include homeschoolers in their offerings?
The evening’s conversation was rich. We touched on questions such as:
What does it mean for the future of Waldorf education that the students of today aren’t the students of a decade ago, let alone of 100 years ago?
How do we meet the children of today and stay true to the underlying essence of Waldorf education?
Clearly the answers require more than one night of discussion. However, it’s more important than ever for those of us who love Waldorf education to talk openly about these (sometimes uncomfortable) questions.
There is a real danger of things becoming stagnant - becoming “things we do in Waldorf because that’s what we’ve always done.” One part of the discussion that we personally resonated with was this question:
What happens to our thinking if we change Waldorf from a noun to a verb?
Instead of saying “we do Waldorf” or “we use the Waldorf method” how different does it start to feel (and look) if we instead say “this is how we Waldorf” or asking the question “how does your family Waldorf?” Suddenly it shifts from being a stagnant Thing, to being alive and breathing! Always changing based on the child in front of us, which was Steiner's goal all along.
Freedom in Anthroposophy means acting out of love - Acting from a place of deeply knowing the child/ren in front of you. As homeschoolers, this intimate understanding of our children allows us to take what we understand to be the essence of a particular grade or block, and then INNOVATE responsibly. Achieving the same goals, but with entirely different, child-driven means than another Waldorf family might use.