Experiences awaken the students to become active participants in their education. Learning progresses from experience to description to abstraction. After careful observation and detailed description, actively-engaged students rise to the challenge of analytical abstraction.
At WSOC, nature becomes the classroom during field trips for astronomy, meteorology, geology, and biology. Role-play and drama enhance history lessons. Surveying provides an intriguing introduction to trigonometry.
Waldorf education addresses the child as no other education does ... these students are grounded broadly and deeply and have a remarkable enthusiasm for learning. Such students possess the eye of the discoverer, and the compassionate heart of the reformer which, when joined to a task, can change the planet.
- Arthur Zajonc, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Amherst College
The unnatural boundaries between subjects, which can make academics seem abstract and irrelevant, are dissolved. Material is presented from a larger context, and students are encouraged to cross disciplines in their independent research as well as the representation of their work. For example, in computer studies students learn about the people who developed early codes and counting machines.
They realize that inventors from many disciplines contributed to the technology we use today. In global studies, they connect how geography, geology, technology, economics, religion, and history affect current events. For a report in geology, a student might write a biography of a geologist, compile a photographic essay of slot canyons, paint a picture of a volcano, or construct geometrical models of mineral crystal structures.
Finding solutions demands human capability in fields we have barely begun to understand. Today an education is needed which enables children to unfold faculties, which go beyond mere tradition or the conventional wisdom of our times. Waldorf education seeks to do this. It seeks to participate in the development of human beings who will become initiators of cultural progress.
- Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiner
Rather than taking a subject such as biology in grade nine for a whole year and then not experiencing this subject again, students take most subjects every year in rotating blocks of three to four weeks.
This approach allows them to fully immerse themselves in a subject with freshness and enthusiasm. As students encounter subjects at different levels of maturity and from different angles, they appreciate that learning in any field is an ongoing and intriguing process.
In our small and nurturing Orange County school community, we get to know each of our students well. Every student has a faculty advisor who provides academic, social, and personal support through all four years. As our students grow intellectually, spiritually, and socially, they come to understand themselves, their abilities and ambitions, and they envision the places they will take in the world as adults.
Student clubs, such as the Model UN, the Chamber Music Group, the Japanese Club, Student Council, and the Sports Club, give our students opportunities to exercise their talents as planners, organizers, and producers. The participation and initiative of each individual is highly valued and supported by the student body, as well as the faculty.
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, CEO and Chairman of American Express
During the four high school years, teenagers are transformed physically, mentally, and emotionally. Their development gives rise to different inner questions. At Waldorf School Orange County High School, those questions guide the way material is taught at the different stages.
Based on a comprehensive, integrated understanding of the human being, a detailed account of child development, and with a curriculum and teaching practice that seeks unity of intellectual, emotional and ethical development at every point, Waldorf education deserves the attention of all concerned with education and the human future.
- Douglas Sloan, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University