Philosophy

Waldorf education is based on Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner’s study of child development. Steiner founded an education that meets the cognitive, physical, developmental, emotional, and spiritual needs of each student. Rather than stressing externally driven data acquisition, we emphasize students’ inner growth toward self-reliance, resilience, and creative intelligence. SFWS students embody these traits, which are developed through attention to their growth and capacities over time.

Like all K-12 Waldorf schools, San Francisco Waldorf School’s curriculum addresses three discrete stages of child development:

  • Between birth and age seven, children learn primarily through imitation, and through an emphasis on physical activities. The atmosphere surrounding the child is filled with beauty, goodness, and role models worthy of imitation. At this age children need warmth and protection to develop their capacities in a natural, non-competitive atmosphere for 
    creative play and work.
  • Children between the ages of seven and fourteen learn best from loving and consistent authority figures that embrace the world with interest. At this age subjects are presented in a lively, artistic, and engaging way in order to ignite children’s enthusiasm for learning the academic, emotional, practical, and physical skills they will need for life.
  • High school students learn best from experts in their fields with whom they can exercise their independent thinking and pursuit of truth. At this age students deepen their understanding of the world and of themselves. Through challenging intellectual study, they begin to master a wide range of subjects from mathematics to music, from science to humanities, from art to physical education.