Anthroposophy – A philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner that postulates that through study and practice, people can awaken and develop their inner nature to access spiritual realities of nature and the cosmos. Therefore deepening inner development and reverence for all of life.
Annual Giving – Vital support that allows Waldorf schools to continue to provide the very best curriculum, materials, and training to ensure an incredible Waldorf Education and experience for the whole child.
Beeswax – A wax, produced by bees, which serves as a natural modeling material. The wax must be warmed by hands to soften it for molding, which requires patience, determination and budding small motor skills.
Coffee House – A signature event, Coffee House is held three times a year by the 8th Grade class. The Coffee House provides a venue where students, parents and family friends can provide entertainment through music, verse, movement or story. They are lively and fun events often held seasonally on a Friday evening and open to students and their families. The Coffee House serves as an important fundraiser for 8th-grade class trip.
Dusty Gnome– He’s the kindly little fellow that lets you know it’s time to clean the Early Childhood classroom. “I met a little dusty gnome, He says it’s time to clean our home, Round and round, Swish swish swish, Clean our home.”
Eurythmy – Eurythmy is a form of expressive movement created by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Marie von Sivers. It is taught and practiced in Waldorf Schools to enhance coordination, spatial awareness and rhythm, and as a form of artistic expression. Eurythmy is taught in schools by a trained specialist.
Faculty Meetings – In common with Waldorf schools around the world, Faculty Meetings are held each week and provide an arena where teachers come together to build and strengthen collegiality through study, artistic work and discussion of pedagogical issues and decisions. These meetings enhance and enrich the work of the teachers by providing a venue to work together for the good of the children and the school.
Fire Fairy – “Fire Fairies warm and bright, thank you for your golden light!” Another early childhood verse that puts the magic into the Waldorf Early Childhood Program.
Form Drawing – An artistic brain teaser of sorts. Form drawing is a freehand drawing of non-representational forms of repeated patterns, geometric figures or interlaced designs, as examples. This practice builds spatial awareness, eye-hand coordination, and the corpus callosum as children engage in midline crossover on paper.
Garden of Light – Celebrated on or around November 30th the Garden of Light honors the Winter Solstice. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia celebrates during this time of year with reverence by inviting students to walk a spiral of garden greens with lighted candles.
Hats – Waldorf Early Childhood and Elementary Students wear them in rain and shine because of the rain and shine! Waldorf’s focus on play outdoors requires our little ones to dress for all weather and hats just make sense. Waldorf grades students knit or crochet their own hats.
Holiday Fair – This event is a welcoming of the greater community to come and experience all of a Waldorf’s school’s creative offerings – crafts, food, magical rooms, and fun activities that can be experienced at a weekend celebration of family fun.
Kindergarten Bread – The halls of a Waldorf Early childhood schools are often filled with the smell of fresh baked bread, typically made by the children one day of the week to help mark the day for children with a traditional rhythm (also see Kindergarten Soup). Many children (and parents) remember the fresh baked bread from our Early Childhood classes with great fondness.
Kindergarten Soup – Like Bread Day, Soup Day is also a tradition in Waldorf Early Childhood classrooms. The children come together one day a week to make the soup together — often stone soup (made from veggie child contributions) or a traditional vegetable soup recipe.
Knitting – To make a garment, blanket, etc. by interlocking loops of wool or other yarn with knitting needles. Knitting, crocheting, and handwork are elements of the Waldorf curriculum. There are many benefits to knitting, including hand-eye coordination; math skills such as counting, the four math processes, basic geometry; the ability to understand and follow a process from concept to completion; and the ability to focus on a project for an extended period of time. Waldorf students make their own toys and garments. See Hats.
Martinmas – St. Martin, a patron saint of the poor and outcast, is celebrated by lighting and carrying lanterns to represent how St. Martin spent his life bringing light and warmth to those in darkness. At the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, we honor Martinmas with the Lantern Walk, a path lit only by candlelight.
May Faire – Waldorf students welcome spring by celebrating May Day — a traditional song and dance celebration around the ribbon-clad May pole. Different schools celebrate it in different ways, but the outdoor welcoming of spring is a common celebration in the Waldorf tradition.
Michaelmas – Held near the time of the autumnal equinox, this traditional European festival is associated with harvest in the Northern Hemisphere. The associated folklore tells of St. Michael conquering the dragon of darkness using a sword forged from stars. St. Michael is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition and his defeat of the dragon is symbolism of triumph over the upcoming season of darkness. Read more about Michaelmas here.
Morning Verse – The morning verse, of which there are two, is a verse recited by every class each morning, calling for strength and love to work and learn as the students commence their school day. There is one for the lower grades (1-4) and another for the upper grades (5-8); they were written by Rudolf Steiner for the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. They have since been translated into many languages and are used in Waldorf Schools throughout the world.
Pentatonic flute – A flute based on the pentatonic scale — a musical scale with five notes per octave. These fundamental tones harmonize well together, meaning that young children will not hear “mistakes” as discord in their early music education. This simple scale is perfect for learning in an unselfconscious and open manner.
Pot Luck – Waldorf folk love a self-sufficient good community gathering. Bring a dish to share plus your own tableware and have a low maintenance gathering where the priority is on the good company!
Rain Pants – It seems self-explanatory, but in Waldorf Education this means dressing a child for ALL weather. So outdoor gear includes rain and snow boots, rain and snow pants and jackets, gloves, scarves, extra socks, and hats. So many hats.
Rose Ceremony – The Annual Rose Ceremony is a formal welcoming of First graders into their Waldorf Elementary Education. It is also an important milestone for Waldorf Eighth graders who are traditionally paired with a young incoming student and welcomes the first graders to school by presenting them with a rose. The ceremony is seen as part of the symbolic gesture leading the young children into a new phase in life — where schooling and community, away from parents, will support their budding sense of self, learning, and individuality.
Waldorfian – A person who has graduated from a Waldorf school. Waldorf graduates are some of the coolest people on the planet. Waldorf graduates are known for being critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.