The Merits of Waldorf Education

The result of a good Waldorf education is that children learn to be at peace with themselves, that they become creative in their thinking and prepared to make a difference in the world.

Since the middle of the eighties the Waldorf impulse in South Africa branched out to be inclusive to all the segments of the population. In addition to the schools, mainly catering to the more affluent population, thousands of children in the informal settlements, townships and rural areas were give the possibility to receive a quality education. Essential to this has been the ongoing training of teachers and early childhood practitioners, first at the Baobab Community College in Johannesburg, then at the Centre for Creative Education in Cape Town.

How has the Waldorf Impulse been received in South Africa?

When the ANC came to power, educationists were sent to forty countries to research the different education systems to come up with the best ideas for a new educational philosophy. Waldorf education, as experienced in Germany, was high on the list to be used as a model, yet a decision was made to implement the Outcome Based Education model. Many countries who first adopted this model, have already discarded it as unworkable. There has not really been a transformation in the educational arena in South Africa. The OBE model has become extremely bureaucratic. Teacher trainers and teachers have become pen-pushers, overwhelmed with administrative functions, therefore unable to cope with the real task of teaching.

To hint at the real joy of learning and teaching, I add the following words, written for the 21. Birthday Celebration of the Inkanyezi Waldorf School in Alexandra, Johannesburg:

Joy for life, inquisitiveness,
Readiness for new unchartered vistas,
Trust and respect between teacher and child,
A place where the creativity of the mind is enhanced,
With social cohesiveness
Between children, teachers and parents,
The Inkanyezi School,
A work in progress since 21 years,
fed by the ideals and ideas
Of Waldorf Education.

Waldorf education is greatly appreciated by the parents. It is attaining more and more respect and interest in education circles through ongoing negotiations with government officials.

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