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Understanding Waldorf Education

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  316 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
A jargon-free picture of the key components of a Steiner-Waldorf education, ideal for parents and teachers.
Published June 1st 2010 by Floris Books (first published September 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 690)
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Dec 29, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to Waldorf method for the skeptical but curious newcomer. If you have already read a lot of other books on the topic I'm sure that the material in this work is nothing new to you. But if you're like me and are interested in Waldorf but spooked by some of the weird anthroposophist stuff, this book is a great distillation of strictly the educational principles associated with Steiner. The author does a good job tying the advantages of Waldorf into contemporary mainstream educat ...more
Mar 17, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted a basic primer of Waldorf theory/practice, and in hindsight, I suppose that's what I got, but the style and organization of this book felt scattered to the point of distraction to me. The content began suddenly and ended suddenly, without any helpful direction from the author. I felt tossed into pretty theories about truth and beauty and heart-warming examples of clever teaching methods without first being given an overview of basics or any history or any reference to things I was alrea ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
So I wanted to learn more about Waldorf, and so I got this book from the library and read it. As usual with a book like this, the tone really bothered me: all is so rosy, life so simple, here is the answer. Sometimes I wish I thought like that, but really. I don't. However, all that aside, this book made me think about teaching differently, especially with my high school students, and Waldorf-style education does sound pretty awesome (if I was interested in private school), especially for elemen ...more
Angie Libert
This book is more of an appeal for parents to send their kids to a Waldorf school, than a book about the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner. The author actually only quoted Steiner twice throughout the whole book. Most of his quotes came from Jane Healy and Howard Gardner. I like Jane Healy and Howard Gardner, but you would think it would be more appropriate to quote the founder of the Waldorf schools, than modern professionals.

I guess if I want to hear the philosophical thoughts of a Waldorf educa
Nov 23, 2009 Adrienne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
I read this as part of my quest to learn about various educational philosophies in preparation for homeschooling. I thought it was a very helpful overview of the method and I found a lot of things I like and will try. I only gave it 3 stars because,after reading the book, I learned that there is a whole spiritual side of the Waldorf philosophy (anthroposophism) that this author did not address, most likely because it can be rather controversial. So I thought it was grossly incomplete in that sen ...more
May 10, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Came across more like a prospectus for a Waldorf school. Did not really address the issue of the actual mechanics of Waldorf education or the philosophy behind it. All very woolly and vague, lots of talk of well rounded and treating the child as a whole but no nitty gritty. The title of the book was Understanding Waldorf Education and this book did very little to help me understand.
Lindsay Evermore
This was a decent overview of Waldorf education, but it didn't provide me with an understanding of the "why's" and "how's" of the Waldorf approach. I think it would best serve as a handbook for parents of children attending Waldorf schools, not parents homeschooling or looking to introduce Waldorf concepts in the home.
Hannah Noel
Feb 14, 2008 Hannah Noel rated it really liked it
A good place to start learning about Waldorf education. Decent overviews of education during each stage of childhood: Preschool, grade school and high school. Now I want to know more.
Nov 12, 2008 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homeschooling
This was an excellent book!! I'm definitely going to implement some of the characteristics of a Waldorf education into our home!
I started reading this book to give me an idea of this educational philosophy and I have to say, it definitely sparked my interest in learning more about it. Plus, it really made me think twice about public education and how, although we are taught good methods are used, my eyes are starting to be open to how there are much better methods being used or that can be used. The two downfalls I had with this book are the lack of focus on the spiritual aspect of this method and I really, really wish t ...more
Megan Jacobsmeyer
This gave me a good basic overview, however I give it three stars because he glorifies a good teacher as being one who goes to school sick, shows up early and stays late, works on the weekend and to me that's not a good teacher. A good teacher is present, connected and balanced. It's not good practice for anyone to work that much without having a balance. That actually does not embody the rest of the philosophy I read to understand in my opinion. I wish there was more about what the Waldorf scho ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Stacey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Written by a Waldorf educator, this is a good introduction to the basic philosophies of a Waldorf school system.

Some of Petrash's main points that stuck with me are:

Waldorf curriculum exposes students to a wide range of subjects and encourages them to develop in a well-balanced way... it helps children overcome gender stereotypes.

It prepares students for life, not just for university or a future job. Waldorf schools emphasize that it's important to help children think for themselves and problem
Jun 05, 2008 Brenda rated it really liked it
I felt this was a pretty decent overview of the Waldorf education philosophy. It gave me good in site into how the school are run, how this type of education effects the minds of children and what is expected of the teachers.

I love the idea of a three-dimensional education for children. One that appeals to the "head, heart, and hands" as the book puts. I think Petrash is right on the money when he says modern education is failing because it treats students as empty vessels waiting to be filled r
Dec 25, 2014 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As my first introduction to reading on Waldorf education I thought it was pretty good. Looking for some ways to infuse my homeschooling with something that will engage my son more in the learning process. Definitely walked away with some ideas as to how to create a more gentle homeschool life and engage him a bit more in creative ways instead of me teaching to 'fill the pail' of his brain. Worth the read.
Jan 18, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this short easy to read resource book on waldorf education. I am happy that I did not purchase it since I read it in a day and probably would not refer to it again but it definately filled in some gaps of my waldorf knowledge and is worth the reading time.
Apr 30, 2012 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I have a great desire to see a Waldorf Education in action.

I loved the philosophy behind the education.

Teaching the whole child. Focusing on stories and myths to teach. Seeing education as three-fold: Hand, Heart, and Mind. The person who pioneered this type of education understood that children learn in stages.

I realize that usually only the very wealthy can afford this type of education...but if teachers were more aware of these methods, I believe a lot of good could
Apr 29, 2014 Marsha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To parents considering this style of education - or for those needing to keep close in touch with their kid's development through the Waldorf curriculum this is the book to read. Clear, simple and very informative.
Nov 10, 2015 Adrienne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: prospective Waldorf parents
Recommended to Adrienne by: San Francisco Waldorf School
A clear, concise primer. I'm sending my daughter to the San Francisco Waldorf School this year and I was given this book by the school. Since some of their teaching methods are quite different than those my own public school experience, it's nice to read the rationale behind their methodology in a format that's not too filled with Steiner jargon. He brings in plenty of references from contemporary education reform (such as Parker Palmer, a personal favorite) as well as interesting quotes from pe ...more
Interesting read. Lots of good ideas about childhood development and education, although some seem less realistic than others.
Sep 07, 2011 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book with lots of brilliant ideas on education. My only criticism was that I was wishing it was more Waldorf-specific. Some of the great education ideas that the book discusses are used in Waldorf schools but are also used/talked about by non-Waldorf educators. This book seems to be written more to non-Waldorf communities about what education in general should include. I guess I was hoping for more specifics on Waldorf schools themselves. That being said, there are a lot of bril ...more
I found this to be an informative introduction to the Waldorf method. It gave basic principles of the education and their application without getting too bogged down in pedagogy and theory. I did find myself wishing it had a little more history of the method, but it was so informative in so many other respects I didn't mind.
While Petrash touches on spirituality, he stays far away from any of the out-there ideas on astrology that the Waldorf method is associated with. I'm not sure if he never re
Tara Adams
Oct 22, 2013 Tara Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though, I do not agree with all Waldorf principals - I LOVE most of them. This was a good book for an overview of this philosophy and practice. I did not like that they didn't go over their philosophy on waiting for the second cycle of reading development to directly teach reading. As this is the part I disagree with on first glance, I would have liked to understood more about it.

After reading this book, I have chosen to incorporate some Waldorf teaching practices in my classroom and will conti
Feb 28, 2013 Kaye rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was too small to go into any kind of depth on Waldorf education, and was perhaps ambitious in its scope (surely not the fault of the book, but the author). However, I do want to say that the use of examples was well done, particularly the segment on how children are taught their letters and reading, a topic I have long wondered about. The book overall wasn't too pertinent to my goals at this time though, which has surely colored my views on it.
Jul 05, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it
Essential reading for any parent considering a Waldorf school or looking for alternatives to typical private and public offerings (or interested bystanders like me). Petrash is a longtime Waldorf teacher and provides a good, readable survey of the philosophy as well as specific examples of how it works in the classroom. The only thing missing is a more thorough discussion and response to criticisms of the Waldorf method.
It's interesting to read about and understand the theories of Waldorf education, but this book was a little too watered down for my taste. On the plus side, this book is written from an entirely personal perspective (the author is a Waldorf educator) and he provided a lot of examples that he saw in his own classroom. I wished it would have given a bit more theory and background information about the development of Waldorf.
Susan Crozier
Jan 13, 2014 Susan Crozier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great introduction to Waldorf education. Heartwarming experiences from Waldorf teachers and introduction to the Steiner Waldorf philosophy.
Jun 28, 2009 Novanz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
An excellent introduction to Waldorf/Steiner education. Clearly explains the key elements, their application and effects.

Not extremely in-depth, but doesn't get bogged down in the finer points of the pedagogy, or the anthroposophical movement like many other books on this subject.

Simple, well written, and inspirational.
jessica wilson
Aug 07, 2013 Catherine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found it nearly unreadable and ended up skimming most of it. I was hoping to understand what a Waldorf education looks like in action and what the outcomes are, but I did not find that in this book. The basic idea of a Waldorf education, per the author, seems to be balance in life.
Courtney Bocci
Apr 23, 2012 Courtney Bocci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, nook, 2012, owned
I really wish we'd known about Waldorf schools when my oldest was starting school. I'm a firm believer in public schools unless they don't work . . . but even with that belief, this system sounds amazing.
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