Educational Programs

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When you enter a Waldorf school, the first thing you may notice is the care given to the building. The walls are usually painted in lively colors and are adorned with student artwork. Evidence of student activity is everywhere to be found and every desk holds a uniquely created main lesson book.

Another first impression may be the enthusiasm and commitment of the teachers you meet. These teachers are interested in the students as individuals. They are interested in the questions:

  • How do we establish within each child their own high level of academic excellence?

  • How do we call forth enthusiasm for learning and work, a healthy self-awareness, interest and concern for fellow human beings, and a respect for the world?

  • How can we help pupils find meaning in their lives?

Teachers in Waldorf schools are dedicated to generating an inner enthusiasm for learning within every child. They achieve this in a variety of ways. Even seemingly dry and academic subjects are presented in a pictorial and dynamic manner. This eliminates the need for competitive testing, academic placement, and behaviouristic rewards to motivate learning. It allows motivation to arise from within and helps engender the capacity for joyful lifelong learning.

The Waldorf curriculum is broad and comprehensive, structured to respond to the three developmental phases of childhood: from birth to approximately 6 or 7 years, from 7 to 14 years and from 14 to 18 years. Rudolf Steiner stressed to teachers that the best way to provide meaningful support for the child is to comprehend these phases fully and to bring age appropriate content to the children that nourishes healthy growth.

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Waldorf Education

For the Waldorf student, music, dance, and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about, ingested and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world. Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on a profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child--the heart and the hands, as well as the head.

Waldorf Education at Whidbey Island Waldorf School

Since 1985, our “little school in the big woods” has been providing Waldorf education on Whidbey Island. The school has survived and thrived because of the vision and generosity of its founders and the flexibility, creativity and determination of those who have carried the school forward.

The design and construction of our beautiful school building were gifted to this community. Because of the unique demographics of our island location, WIWS works with combined classes and team teaching to ensure continuity and stability with the dynamic forces of learning in small to medium class sizes.

What every parent would wish as the best for his or her children, Waldorf education provides. The fullest development of intelligent, imaginative, self-confident and caring persons is the aim of Waldorf education. This aim is solidly grounded in a comprehensive view of human development, in an intellectually and culturally rich curriculum, and in the presence of knowledgeable, caring human beings at every stage of the child’s education.
— Douglas Sloan, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

Enrollment and Class Sizes

Currently, our nursery through grade 8 enrollment averages 135-140. Our individual grade school class sizes range from 5 to 14 students. When combined, our classes range from 14 to 26 students. Our nursery, preschool and kindergarten classes range in size from 12-18 with one or two assistants as needed.

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Special Subjects

Whidbey Island Waldorf School is pleased to offer the following special subjects with their own teachers: Spanish, Music, Orchestra, Movement & Games, Handwork, Gardening, and Eurythmy (in blocks.)