Washington Waldorf is one of more than 1,000 Waldorf schools worldwide, and our pedagogy is rooted in the pioneering work of Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf schools strive to develop the whole human being in a healthy and nurturing environment.
WWS is a member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
Waldorf Education at WWS
WWS educates the whole child. Our curriculum is designed to develop our students academically, emotionally, and physically. In addition to a strong grounding in core academic skills - WWS students have many opportunities to engage in the arts, music, and drama, as well as textile arts, metalwork, woodwork, and more. Waldorf students all participate in a variety of movement, physical education, and outdoor education classes and our approach puts a focus on the benefits and skills developed through extensive exposure to the natural world.
The Waldorf curriculum is developmentally appropriate.
Children have very different capacities at different ages and our curriculum is designed to meet the students where they are.
- We believe young children need to spend much of their time in free play, building their capacities for imagination and goal setting, along with social skills and small motor skills.
- Academics are introduced in the early grades, and gradually become more intense into the middle school years. 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 very real 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 goal is to help our students know who they are so that when that time comes, they can go forward with confidence that they are equipped to thrive.
Although there is no typical Waldorf student, our students tend to be individualistic, creative, hard working, and open to new experiences and ways of learning.
Many different kinds of students thrive at WWS. All students discover new facets of themselves. In many cases, students who have become stressed or indifferent in other settings blossom at WWS. Even though we are a relatively small school, students experience a rich social life, and no one is anonymous.
WWS is not equipped to support students with severe learning or behavioral challenges, though many students with unusual learning styles do well here.
We do not "teach to the test."
- Students are evaluated regularly, and teachers are always available to parents to discuss a child's progress.
- Students typically begin getting letter grades in grade 6.
- Although we do not administer any standardized tests (with the exception of the PSAT, which we give to 10th grade students), we recognize their place and prepare our High School students for the SAT and other such tests. The average SAT scores for WWS students is above the average for Montgomery County Public Schools.
We are thoughtful about the use of digital media in education.
We believe that young children benefit from little or no screen time and our classes reflect that belief. During the pandemic, we have used digital technology as a tool to connect with students when they could not be with us in person. Our teachers have been particularly careful about the amount of screen time used (by age) and have balanced screen and non-screen time where appropriate alternatives .
Typically, we introduce digital media by middle school when our students begin to use the Internet for research, and we include digital literacy and Cyber Civics in the curriculum to help students understand their rights and responsibilities as "digital citizens." By the high school years, students are fully conversant in the use of computers and a variety of applications. Read a recent article about Waldorf's use of Cyber Civics principles.
In general, we want our students to maximize their experience of the real world rather than the virtual world. Thriving in a highly technological world requires a high degree of flexibility, adaptability, and creativity — precisely the qualities the Waldorf curriculum fosters. Waldorf graduates are very well represented in high technology fields and media, where their special brand of creativity is highly valued.
Our graduates are admitted to a wide range of colleges and universities, and most gain admission to their top choice.
Waldorf graduates stand out in the admissions process, and our personal 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 themselves.
For more information about the Waldorf school movement and Steiner, visit the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
Other Waldorf Schools in our region: