The International Waldorf School The Hague: Education that feels like home
It was late in the afternoon on a day in early spring. Light filtered through the curtains in the Kindergarten classroom with a gentle brightness, the way light streams through tree leaves in a forest. In the middle of the room sat our daughter’s future teacher, inviting us in. There was something tender and unintimidating about the teacher that made it easier for my normally shy daughter to release her grip on my leg and walk inside.
The International Waldorf School the Hague is now accepting enrolment for children aged 4-11!
Something immediately struck me about the space that made me realise it was not like the Kindergarten classroom of my youth or the ones I had seen in other primary schools. Everything in the room was made from natural materials, with earthy and botanical colours that were muted and soft.
I saw wooden benches, felted animals, and dolls made of cloth and wool. The teacher had laid out a blue-green silk scarf on the floor like the water of a stream, with stones and felted flowers to mimic the riverbank. She placed small wooden animals around the scarf and started to play with it, while my daughter slowly crept towards her.
I had been nervous and a bit insecure about this meeting. Our youngest also came along, then a baby, and I was sure she’d get fussy. But as soon as we sat down, watching the teacher and my daughter play on the floor, an overwhelming sense of calm set in and everything seemed right.
The aesthetic of a Waldorf classroom is very unique and immediately recognisable, no matter which Waldorf / Steiner School you visit. Coincidentally, just before our daughter was scheduled to start in our home city’s Waldorf School, my husband was offered a position with his company overseas.
So, when we landed in the Netherlands, we were happy to find a new Waldorf School: International Waldorf School the Hague. And even though we were in a new country with a very different culture from our own, it was as if we had come home again. That is how the Waldorf classroom is intended to be, to allow the child to enter an environment that looks and feels like home.
Children are encouraged to use their imagination
Children, especially younger children, find comfort in the familiar and the rhythm of the daily routines. Classrooms have kitchens and children help with “household” chores and cooking. Along with these practical, domestic activities, children are encouraged to play freely and activate their lively imaginations. Teachers support this with the verses they recite, stories they tell, and songs that they sing with the children.
The classroom toys at International Waldorf School The Hague are simply designed and lack intricate detail, so that children may use their imaginations to fill in what’s visually missing.
A sense of community
The celebration of seasons and rhythm of the year is another core element of Waldorf education. Festivals are held throughout the year in connection with the seasons and local culture, encouraging a sense of greater community and an awareness of the world around us.
Working on the foundations
While the Waldorf Kindergarten is intentionally non-academic, children work on the foundations of learning language and math through games, songs, rhymes and also through regular classroom activities. For example, when children cook, they measure out ingredients by weighing or counting.
Some children are more naturally drawn to writing and reading and math, teachers honour that curiosity by giving them extra tasks to strengthen those skills. While Kindergarten isn’t solely focused on teaching reading and math, children are always ready to hone those skills in the first grade.
Body, heart and mind
The Waldorf approach to teaching the whole child – with attention to body, heart and mind – differs from other schools’ focus on endless hours of cognitive training. However, this balanced approach strengthens deep learning while still enabling students to meet Dutch national academic standards that are among the highest in the world.
Now accepting enrolment
The International Waldorf School The Hague is now accepting enrolment for children aged 4-11 in the following groups:
- Kindergarten (ages 4-6)
- Class 1 (ages 6-7)
- Combined Class 2-3 (ages 7-9)
- Combines Class 4-5 (ages 9-11)
Do you want to find out more about the International Waldorf School The Hague? Visit one of the Open Afternoons:
- Dates: May 29, June 5, June 26
- Time: 13:30-15:30
- Address: 2e Messstraat 31, 2586 XA, The Hague
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larailderton 11:30 | 23 May 2019