Waldorf education was created as a democratic educational model that “would make [students] so healthy, strong and inwardly free that they would become a kind of tonic for society as a whole.”
Now, more than ever, it is necessary to embrace that idea and expand its boundaries to include the spectrum of rapidly growing demands that will meet our school’s students when they move into the larger world.
Specifically, the following categories reflect the ways in which Blue Oak retains the conceptual vision of Waldorf Education while evolving toward the demands of the 21st-century student:
Multiple Literacies: Literacy empowers students with the ability to read, write, listen, and articulate in compelling ways. At Blue Oak, literacy goes beyond the traditional meaning to also include the development of children who are mathematically competent, scientifically adept, and empowered in the upper grades for technological aptitude.
Creativity and Innovation: Creative and imaginative thinking empowers students with the ability to think unconventionally, to question assumptions, and to imagine new scenarios. Imaginative thinkers craft astonishing work because they recognize their creative capacities and celebrate them through a variety of artistic mediums. They also act on opportunities for growth and show a willingness to take reasonable risk.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Critical thinking and sound decision-making empower students with the ability to assess the credibility, accuracy, and value of the information that barrages them every day. Students with highly developed skills in this area analyze and evaluate information while still honoring intuitive capacities. They think through solutions and alternatives and explore new options if approaches don’t work. This often entails working well with diverse populations to make reasoned, ethical decisions and take purposeful action.
Responsibility and Habits of Mind: A strong sense of responsibility empowers students with the ability to be vital, disciplined, and hard-working individuals. Responsible students take initiative, self-regulate, and are fully accountable for their own actions. They honor their capacities for reason and resourcefulness with an ability to follow through on commitments and honor their word.
Lifelong Learning: The qualities listed above culminate in an enthusiastic lifelong learner. We envision the 21st-century student to be joyful, confident, self- motivated, aware, inquisitive, resourceful, and persistent people who can thrive in an ever-changing world.
Blue Oak maintains that learning best occurs when teaching methods, curriculum, and supporting organization include:
- An instructional model that recognizes the individual child’s stages of development and supports the unfolding of the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social aspects of a child.
- An integrated academic curriculum inspired by Waldorf education that is developed in an artistic, interactive, creative, and stimulating environment while incorporating Common Core Standards that meets the needs of the 21st century California student.
- Staff sensitive to each child’s unique intelligence so they can support and guide the child, fostering attitudes and habits that promote responsibility and confidence.
- A school faculty that is held accountable for upholding the philosophy and learning goals of Blue Oak through regular staff meetings, ongoing training, and yearly teacher evaluations.
- A prevailing school attitude that encourages and supports cooperation over competition.
- Educational models in which the emphasis on the process and outcome are equally important.
- Limiting children’s exposure to electronic media with the aspiration that these will be replaced by creative play, recreational reading, social interests, and physical activity.
- Parental commitment, support, and involvement in the child’s education and school.
- Standards-based local assessments in grades 2-8.