Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Program

Master of Arts degree with a major in Education

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Eric Van Duzer

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Kenny W. Richards

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Education

Abstract

This thesis research focuses on the study of Waldorf education and how it benefits the whole child. It begins by looking at Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf educational program and its foundational history and then takes an in depth look at the key elements of its rich philosophy and pedagogy. The literature review focuses on the key question, ‘Does this 100 year-old teaching philosophy encourage a more well-rounded and integrated educational experience than traditional public schools?’ The review highlights four broad topics in relationship to Waldorf education. These include: Educating the Whole Child; Education for the Three Stages of Childhood; Early Childhood Education; and Integrated Education. The review also compares Waldorf education to traditional schools. A mixed methods research project was conducted to go more in depth into the topic of the value of Waldorf education. The overall concentration of the mixed methods research was to answer two central questions. The first question was, ‘How do parents feel about their children's Waldorf education?’ The second question was, ‘What aspects of their children’s Waldorf school experiences are important?’ The study was carried out by conducting interviews and surveys with Waldorf parents. The interviews focused on the aspects of children’s Waldorf education that influences their present and future schooling and beyond. The survey focused on two questions, ‘Does Waldorf curriculum offer a well-rounded education?’ and ‘Does Waldorf curriculum prepare students for the upper grades and life more generally?’ The study revealed that parents highlighted many key elements they feel are integral to educating the whole child - hands, heart, and head. The interview research showed that parents place a high value on many themes some of which include: Child Development and Developmentally Appropriate Practices; Special Techniques for Teaching Math; Nature Connections and Science Lessons; The Arts Curriculum; and Social-Emotional Development. The survey research disclosed some important themes described by the statistical data and Pearson Correlations. Some of these themes are: How Academics are Taught using a Waldorf Curriculum; Holistic Education and Educating the Whole Child – Hands, Heart, and Head in Relationship to Waldorf Education; and the Importance of Math Being Taught through the Waldorf Curriculum. The results were clear – parents do appreciate their children’s Waldorf education. They feel that it is a fundamental curricular program that helps their children to benefit from its important strategies, achieve their optimal development, and become prepared for upper grades and life in general.

Citation Style

APA

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