13 Ways to Give your Kids the Benefits of an Expensive Waldorf Education for Free

Updated on January 2, 2017
Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy has been working in the field of education for many years specializing in both Waldorf and Montessori methodology.

During the time that my children attended a Waldorf School I was amazed at the positive influence it had on our family. Although they attend school during the day, they carry home with them a peaceful yet enthusiastic sense of the world and this is engaging and contagious. I feel that all families could benefit from this educational method, even without having a child attend a Waldorf School, so I have made a list of suggestions.

Before I get to the suggestions, I would first like to summarize what the Waldorf philosophy is about. The Waldorf method of education is based on a keen awareness of child and human development and seeks to educate the child as a whole person, not just their academic development. This theory considers every aspect of the child’s growth with emphasis on the heart, hands and mind. With respect to our goals for children, Waldorf Education founder Rudolph Steiner states:

Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings, who are able themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.

From an early age movement is highly regarded and is an integral part of as many activities as possible. During the first seven years of life children learn primarily through repetition and movement. Most of my suggestions involve incorporating movement into your child’s day. This is one of the main aspects of Waldorf which set it apart from most other methods of education. Waldorf parents are encouraged to follow up with the philosophy at home. Here are some easy ways that all parents can provide their child with this kind of experience in the home for free.

1. Allowing your young child as much free play as possible. Free play in the early years is encouraged with open-ended toys like silks, blocks and dolls. This kind of play is needed for the healthy creative and emotional growth of a child and is the best foundation for later intellectual development. (see more about free play and developing your child's imagination)

2. Outside play is a large part of the Waldorf school day. Children are encouraged to climb trees, run and dig in the most natural setting possible. It is through movement that a child connects with themselves and their environment.

3. Shut off the TV and minimize media as much as possible. It is believed that TV and media prevent proper development in part because the child is sitting still. Remember that children are naturally inclined to move and that if your child is sitting for extended periods your child is doing something that is unnatural. Television also disrupts development of a child's inner imagery by furnishing imagery from an outside source, replacing their own natural responses.

4. Eat meals by candlelight. When Waldorf children eat, they do it with reverence, and so can you. What better way to bond with your family than by sharing a meal lit by candlelight? In our home we sing a blessing before we begin the meal and during the meal we share acknowledgments with each other.

A Waldorf teacher talks about consistency and rhythm

5.Waldorf educators believe that children feel safest and flourish when they have a consistent environment. When a child knows what to expect this offers a sense of security and in this environment your child can focus on learning and developing. Early Childhood classrooms even serve specific meals on days of the week, for example, soup on Monday’s, rice on Tuesday’s; this also helps children learn the day of the week. In your home you can provide consistency by having bedtime routines, dinner together or perhaps something like waffles every Sunday. Kids look forward to these predictable activities.

6. Consistency and rhythm hold value in the day as well as into the evening. Getting a good night sleep is highly encouraged by Waldorf Educators. A good bedtime routine helps kids to get to bed on time and get the hours they need. If young children are not in bed by around 8pm they often start to get a second wind and end up staying up too late.

How Much Sleep do Kids Need?

Sleep Needs
Toddlers (1-3 years)
12 to 14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
11 to 13 hours
School age children (5-10 years)
10 to 11 hours
Teens (10-17 years)
8.5 to 9.25 hours
Source: National Sleep Foundation

7. Celebration of holidays also offers consistency as well as a way to connect with heritage, tradition, culture, their community and to learn about the seasons. By celebrating the holidays of your heritage you are offering this enriching opportunity to your children. Children will naturally know about the holiday of Christmas even before they have learned that there are 12 months in a year. Commemorating holidays is an integral part of a Waldorf Education that you are probably doing already.

8. Fingerplays and nursery rhymes. These are highly valued by early childhood Waldorf teachers and you can sing these with your child, The Wheels on the Bus and The Eensy Weensy Spider are good examples. If you consider that language learning, rhythm and movement are so vital in this whole body learning philosophy, then you will see that these songs and rhymes meet a lot of the criteria for nurturing a child through heart, hand and mind. (see more about finger plays)

9. Have children work with their hands as much as possible. Waldorf students finger knit in kindergarten and knit with needles in first grade. Encouraging your child's involvement in crafts such as a loom or hobbies which utilize their hands is a way to keep up with their Waldorf counterparts.

10. Children learn a lot about self-sufficiency and their importance as a helpful and vital member of the family by doing chores. And it is another opportunity as well for them to use their hands and keep their bodies in movement by such activities as sweeping the floor or wiping a table. Getting kids to complete the chores can be a struggle but the payoff is well worth it. In the preschool classroom, Waldorf children take part in the chores such as window washing, sweeping and table wiping.

11. Painting with watercolors on large paper: Waldorf students begin painting using the ‘wet on wet’ method. This means that the paper has been wet with a sponge. When the child paints the color is fluid, thus allowing the child to “experience” the color and the movement. This kind of painting is very much about the experience of painting and not about the finished product. The large paper allows the child to make wider movements, which benefit the child’s physical and spacial development.

12. Reading classic literature like fairy tales and fables aloud. These stories encourage imagination, human understanding, morals, thought and connect on a deep level with the listener. It is also a great introduction to literature for children. (see more about fairy tales)

13. Invite children into the kitchen to cook with you. Waldorf children take part in making the daily snacks in the early childhood classrooms and kindergarten. Cooking with kids has a long list of learning benefits including measurement, community, science and self-sufficiency.

“I am struck by the fact that the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think that the same is true of human beings. We do not wish to see children precocious, making great strides in their early years like sprouts, producing a soft and perishable timber, but better if they expand slowly at first, as if contending with difficulties, and so are solidified and perfected. Such trees continue to expand with nearly equal rapidity to extreme old age."

- Henry David Thoreau

As a parent you might already be following some or many of these suggestions. Things like chores or playing outside seem like common sense, but with the TV on and video games to play it is often hard to remember what kids really need. It is empowering to remember that although educators can do a great job in educating your child, you are your child’s first and best teacher and you have the greatest impact of all.

I hope that this information has been useful to you and I encourage and welcome any comments. This list could be longer but I feel that it includes the essence of what the Waldorf philosophy can offer to the home life.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Tracy Lynn Conway


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Laura Pruitt 

        5 months ago

        Thank you so much for a wonderful read! I have shared this and will bookmark for future reference. I love the simple way you wrote this and the layout is easily readable. Thank you

      • profile image

        Devine Jevine 

        22 months ago

        This is so inspiring,it is reality to the child not all the misleading toys we have nowadays.Thank you for posting!

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        thanks for the nice hub!

      • profile image

        Eniolorunda oshodi oyeleye 

        2 years ago

        In fairness I'm really impressed with your work, in fact you have given me the best ways to handle my Amazons, thanks a million God bless us Amen.

      • Gaurav Oberoi profile image

        gaurav oberoi 

        2 years ago

        Wow a really great Hub. Thanks for sharing

      • Priya Barua profile image

        Priya Barua 

        2 years ago

        That seems really right. My school is very academically oriented, and the most imp thing are grades. You are intelligent if you have good grades, otherwise you're not.

      • profile image

        Shakeh Hart 

        2 years ago

        Thank you!

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Thank you writing this article Tracy!

        While it may be true that some 'believe' " TV and media prevent proper development in part because the child is sitting still," there are volumes of actual research showing the effects of media on the developing brain.

        Waldorf is an educational revolution that is far ahead of it's time. Visit your local independent Waldorf school to learn and see more. There is nothing to 'believe' in. Just the facts. I love that this conversation is happening! Thank you Tracy!

      • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

        Kimberly Vaughn 

        3 years ago from Midwest

        I had never heard of The Waldorf Method before. I'm so glad you shared your knowledge!

      • Rosetta Slone profile image

        Rosetta Slone 

        3 years ago from Under a coconut tree

        As a Montessori teacher, I've never really taken the time to find out more about Waldorf but this article has piqued my interest. There are definitely some great points here that any parent or educator should take into account when raising children. I'll be trying the wet on wet painting this week!

      • Maggie.L profile image


        4 years ago from UK

        A great article reminding us all what's really important when bringing up children. I especially agree with limiting screen time and encouraging physical activity.

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        5 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Literatelibran - The "wet on wet" technique offers a great introduction to the properties of color and the relationship between colors in a simple exploratory way for a young child. Once the painting is dry it has a unique look as well. I am glad that you enjoyed the article, Thank you!

        Best, Tracy

      • literatelibran profile image


        5 years ago from Williamsburg, Virginia

        I had no idea what "wet on wet" paining was- what a neat idea! I definitely agree about the screen time, and LOVE the idea of incorporating more fairy tales and free-play into learning! Great post.

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        5 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Sharon - I am glad you enjoyed the suggestions and photos! Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

        Best, Tracy

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        Thank you for the list. I love the photos you have with each example.

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        6 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Thank you, Spangen! These Waldorf methods have been known to make for contented kids.

      • spangen profile image


        6 years ago from Woodstock, Ontario

        Great hub! Great information and going to look into it. Sounds like your wee ones are happy.

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        6 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Kellyward, thank you so much, I really appreciate your compliments.

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Great Hub! Loved the content and the pictures! You did such a great job. Thanks for sharing.

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        6 years ago from Virginia, USA


        Your comment makes me so happy. I think there is so much value in this method of education and parenting that can benefit others even if only in small ways. Thank you so much!

      • frugalfamily profile image

        Brenda Trott, M.Ed 

        6 years ago from Houston, TX

        Tracy, I am a big Waldorf fan but I have never been able to describe it to others. You've done a wonderful job of spelling out the essentials and making it easy for others to understand. I'll be sharing it with others!

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        6 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Cee, I am so glad that you have find this information helpful in redirecting your family back to a more wholesome place. Your comment has put a smile on my face and warmed my heart. Thank you!

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Thank you for the straight forward article. We have moved far away from our Waldorf Preschool and my kids are getting older. I have lost the connection and a lot of chaos has entered our home. You very nicely laid out a plan for me to get our house and home back to what it could and should be to help keep the family healthy, happy and whole. Thank you!

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        6 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Marie, thank you!

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Cool, cheers Marie

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        6 years ago from Virginia, USA

        @Ubanichijioke - Thank you for your generous compliments, they are much appreciated and are inspiration for my continued writing.

      • ubanichijioke profile image

        Alexander Thandi Ubani 

        6 years ago from Lagos

        You ve penned down a great piece for the total education of the child. You re an awesome writer. I love your work

      • Tracy Lynn Conway profile imageAUTHOR

        Tracy Lynn Conway 

        7 years ago from Virginia, USA

        Kate, Thank you so much for the compliments, they mean a lot to me. Having worked with children for so long, you must already have a great deal of knowledge. You sound like you are on your way to one day being a great parent. I think more parents (or future parents) should have access to this kind of information since raising great kids is the most noble goal of all. Thank you for your votes and for sharing.

      • Kate Spenser profile image

        Kate Spenser 

        7 years ago from Austin, TX

        This hub is fantastic - probably one of the most informative and useful hubs I've read on the site. I'm not a parent (yet), but as a nanny I've worked with young children for years, and I've always been curious about Waldorf education and have started to consider it for when I have my own kids. These are fantastic suggestions! I'm definitely going to bookmark this hub and come back to it in the future, and I'll pass it along to others as well! Up/Useful/Awesome!


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)