"Whatever is to be taught and whatever education is to be practised must arise solely out of an understanding of the growing human being and his or her individual capacities. Genuine anthropology should provide the foundation for education and teaching". (Rudolf Steiner The Essentials of Education, 5 lecture, Stuttgart, 8-11 Apr 1924, GA308)
Core to Waldorf teaching is that the curriculum is based on Rudolf Steiner's study and understanding of human development through childhood and adolescence. It follows a series of curriculum themes that meet children and young people's learning needs in a developmentally appropriate way as they grow and change, offering them opportunities also to develop their inherent qualities and character, knowledge and skills across all fields of learning. This approach is complimented today by taking account of contemporary areas of research from the wider educational world to inform practice.
In **Early Childhood** (age birth - 6) children learn mainly through imitating the adults and other children around them, in a nurturing and enabling environment including child initiated and imaginative play.
In the **Lower School** years (age 6 to 11) engaging their natural artistry, practical activity, imagination and wish to please their teacher engages children’s curiosity, focus and desire to learn.
In **Middle School** (age 11 - 14) the intellect emerges more strongly, a sense of justice and a desire to understand the world become motivators.
In **Upper School** (age 14 to 18) the desire to argue, debate, challenge, think critically, explore and move towards adulthood becomes the driving force to learning.
In understanding child development Waldorf UK and schools also draw from and commission training from a range of professionals including educational psychologists, clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists, external SENDCOs, GPs, paediatric specialists and other education specialists.
See Early Years to Upper School