Working out of the principles of Waldorf Education, the Westside Waldorf School offers students an education that embraces the academic, the artistic, and the practical. Our mission is to engage the mind, ignite the imagination, and strengthen the will within each student. We strive to achieve these goals by bringing to our students a developmentally appropriate curriculum through artful teaching that promotes independent thinking, individual initiative and social responsibility, while cultivating a thirst for knowledge and lifelong learning. Waldorf education seeks to awaken the true potential of the human being's uniqueness and creativity in thought and expression and strives to be in partnership with families in raising confident, compassionate human beings.
- Westside Waldorf School Mission
Waldorf education is the largest and fastest growing independent school movement in the world, and one of the most established and successful models of New Education, which began in central Europe in the aftermath of WWI. It was part of an initiative for social change by the reformer, philosopher and visionary Rudolf Steiner. The first Waldorf school in the United States, founded by a group of Americans inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s educational theories, opened its doors in Manhattan in 1928. Since that time this educational impulse has spread and evolved throughout the world, particularly during the past two decades, and now 200 schools in North America and nearly 1,000 worldwide in 83 countries bring these educational ideals to children in both privately and publicly funded school settings.
Waldorf education balances academic rigor with artistic and practical disciplines to cultivate self-confident, motivated, creative and independent thinkers. The critical value of the Waldorf approach is not what is taught, but when and how it is taught. At the heart of the approach is the idea that the gifts of childhood must be valued and protected. This integrated, developmentally appropriate method engages each child physically, intellectually and emotionally in the learning process, introducing subject matter as it corresponds to each stage of readiness. The classical curriculum weaves art into every subject, using music, storytelling, drawing and movement to bring academic subjects to life. Thematic learning, concentrated main lesson blocks, and remaining with the same teacher over a course of years are all Waldorf innovations that are now supported by research as enhancing the learning process. Waldorf education nurtures a lifelong love of learning, and encompasses an integral social dimension that instills a sense of moral purpose.
"Waldorf taught me how to think for myself, to be accountable for my actions, to be a good listener, and to be sensitive to the needs of others. It also helped me to focus on the underlying importance of beliefs, and values that are the foundations of good leadership."
- Kenneth Chenault, American Express Company Vice Chairman