Q: My friend's child goes to a Waldorf School in Connecticut. Is the program the same? How are Waldorf Schools related?
A: Each Waldorf school is independently operated, but all share a commitment to the same educational philosophy. Each school in the nearly 40 countries where they are located adapts its curriculum to its particular culture.
Q: A diverse school setting is important to me. Is the Waldorf School diverse?
A: One of the hallmarks of a Waldorf education is our commitment to ensuring access to our program to people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. When you walk through our hallways, you can see that diversity is important to us. The Waldorf School draws from urban, rural, and suburban communities in and around Baltimore.
Q: I want my child to experience the Waldorf program, but he's already in the 4th grade. Can you start the Waldorf program at any grade?
A: Many young people begin their educations with Waldorf in kindergarten and stay with us throughout their academic careers. Nevertheless, there are plenty of families who come to us from other schools and at various ages. Waldorf nurtures new students during the transition. However, there is sometimes a period of adjustment in the lower school, because the Waldorf teaching style relies heavily on effective listening without the use of electronic media.
Q: Can you tell me about the art program at the Waldorf School of Baltimore?
A: Every Waldorf student can play an instrument, paint, draw, and work in the handcrafts. However, we are not an art school. Waldorf schools around the world have integrated the arts into every subject, using movement, music, storytelling, and rhythm to bring the material to life and help students develop a lifelong sense of wonder and joy of learning. By pairing the academic and the aesthetic, students are invigorated by the learning process.
Q: What about math and science?
A: The math and science curriculum is rigorous, and students are taught to engage math and science in a way that is practical in the real world. Waldorf graduates are critical thinkers and problem-solvers, and have found that the math and science foundation gained while at Waldorf prepares them to go into any field they choose.
Q: Can you tell me about how children learn to read at Waldorf?
A: Waldorf students become voracious readers. The Waldorf program does not impose formal reading instruction too early. Rather, through storytelling, performance, and illustration of letters and words artistically, students naturally develop an enthusiasm for literature. Each student is encouraged to develop in a manner that supports a long-term love of reading.
Q: What is the approach to homework?
A: Research has shown that homework begins supporting a student's school performance in middle school. However, we begin small homework assignments in 3rd grade so that students develop responsibility, organizational skills, and good habits. By the time students are in middle school, they have homework loads similar to those in other schools. Teachers try to avoid weekend assignments so that students have time to be with their families and pursue extracurricular interests.
Q: What is eurythmy?
A: Eurythmy combines movement, music, rhyme, story, and geometric shapes into an art form that develops one's concentration and capacity for aesthetic appreciation. Students learn to choreograph group movement and to be sensitive to other people.
Q: Is the Waldorf School of Baltimore accredited?
A: The Waldorf School of Baltimore is accredited by the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS), is a full member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), and is licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education. The Maryland State Department of Education and the Child Care Administration license the kindergarten and early- childhood programs.
Q: Is there a dress code?
A: There are no uniforms required at the school; however, there is a dress code designed to support the learning environment. The dress code guidelines vary from the early-childhood program, to the lower and middle schools. Please contact the school for more details.
Q: Is Waldorf a religious movement?
A: Waldorf students come from a wide variety of religious and spiritual interests and backgrounds. The school does not embrace a specific religious doctrine, but the program is based on a belief that all humans in fact, all living things possess a spiritual dimension. We seek to educate students about cultures and religions from around the world.