The Sebastopol Independent Charter School uses the Waldorf curriculum, which was first developed nearly a century ago, and is one of the fastest growing non-sectarian educational movements in the world. Today there are some two thousand institutions -Kindergartens, schools, and centers of higher education throughout the world, whose work is based in a common understanding and respect for the developmental needs of children. Children who attend these Schools generally attain a high degree of success in academic achievement, personal creativity, and social effectiveness.
The Waldorf Curriculum works because it engages children. It presents new material only after specific developmental levels have been reached, thereby reducing frustration. Lessons are always presented in lively ways. The children are motivated to learn through the enthusiasm of the teacher, not through fear of failure. Periods of challenging mental work are balanced with artistic and physical activities so that the children move through their day in a healthy way.
Finally, the curriculum itself meets the fundamental need of the child to learn about the world in a way that conforms to the child’s own logic, that is, starting from what is most familiar and moving outward. The Waldorf Curriculum also works because of the dedication of the Waldorf Teacher who stays with the same class from the first grade through the eighth. Over this period a deep bond of respect develops between teacher and child, resulting in less attention to discipline and more attention to learning on all levels.
The Waldorf curriculum emphasizes disciplined creativity, wonder, reverence and respect for nature and human existence. A comprehensive academic, artistic, and physical education program presented in a supportive, structured and non-competitive environment is meant to allow the child to develop in a healthy way, balanced in feeling, with the initiative in action and clarity in thought. The aim is to strengthen the child to meet not only the challenges of school but also those of life. The Waldorf Curriculum is meant to be the beginning of a life-long love of learning.