Discover Waldorf Education

How does play enhance language development and social skills in young children? What does movement have to do with math and memory? Why does consistent time in nature improve a child’s health and wellbeing?

Today’s leading researchers are discovering answers to these and other questions as they explore child development, education, and neuroscience in our fast-changing digital age. Their findings affirm that Waldorf’s unique approach is truly ahead of its time. Here are a few of the ways:

  • Multi-year teaching is shown to increase instructional time, enhance student engagement, support meaningful relationships, and improve academic performance. Still considered innovative in most American classrooms, the practice is well-established in Europe and Japan, and fundamental to Waldorf education. Source: Nicole L. Thompson, Dana Pomykal Franz, Nicole C. Miller, Association for Middle Level Education; Research Summary: Looping. Click here.
  • The benefits of pretend play on childhood social, emotional, and cognitive development extend from about age two and a half through six or seven years. Source: Scott Barry Kaufman and co-authored by Jerome L. Singer and Dorothy G. Singer, “The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development” Scientific American, November 11, 2013; and Melinda Wenner, “The Serious Need for Play,” Scientific American, January 28, 2009. Click here.
  • Studies show that movement can help the brain retrieve information and create new ideas. Sources: Erin Jensen, Teaching with the Brain in Mind, May 2005; Click here. Susan Goldin-Meadow, Susan Wagner Cook, and Zachary A. Mitchell, University of Chicago; “Gestures Lend a Hand in Learning Mathematics; hand movements help create new ideas,” Psychological Science, 2009.
  • Researchers have found that the mastery of handwriting (along with the delay of keyboards) aids in reading and can improve the development of idea composition and expression. Source: Karin H. James,Laura Engelbart a.b.a; Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University and Columbia University; “The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children”; Click here. Gwendolyn Bounds, How Handwriting Trains the Brain; Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas; Wall St. Journal; Oct. 20, 2010. Click here.
  • Taking notes by hand is more conducive to learning than documenting lectures on a laptop. Sources: Maria Konnikova, “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades”; June 2, 2014; Click here. Cindi May, “A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop,” Scientific American;June 3, 2014. Click here.
  • A correlation between music training, reading acquisition, and sequence learning is being discovered by researchers. Sources: Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara; “Arts and Cognition: Findings Hint at Relationships,” part of Learning, Arts and the Brain, a Dana Foundation Report, published by Dana Press; 2005, Click here. “Music helps children learn math,” Educational Studies in Mathematics, as reported in The Telegraph, March 22, 2012; Click here. Laura Lewis Brown, The Benefits of Music Education, PBS; Click here.
  • Leading research universities and nonprofit organizations around the world affirm the powerful impact of a nature-based curriculum: increased student engagement,improved academic performance, and enhanced health and well-being. Source: Annotated Bibliographies of Research and Studies, written by Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., and Alicia Senauer Loge, Yale University; “Children’s contact with the outdoors and nature: a focus on education and educational settings; Children and Nature Network,” 2012. Click here.
  • Foreign language study in childhood aids in the development of critical thinking, creativity, flexibility of mind, and even mathematical aptitude. Source: American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; Cognitive Benefits of Language Learning, Volume 8, Issue 1, Fall 2007; Click here.
  • Global awareness and foreign language instruction is readily named by leaders in education, business, and government as essential for today’s graduates. Source: Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2007), National Research Council (2007), the Committee for Economic Development (2006), and the Asia Society (2008); as reported in ACSD, “Leading for Global Competency.” Click here.
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