A School for Life: The Holistic Approach of Steiner Education

Table of Contents


Contemporary education is taking a strong turn from traditional methods based on the transmission of knowledge and information. The chances of distraction are too many in today’s world and disintegrate individual attention.

Accordingly, young pupils and students will assimilate nothing unless they become aware of their learning strategies and comprehend how to voluntarily direct their attention to novel acquisitions.

This course will reinforce teachers’ capacity to promote intrinsic motivation for learning by helping them implement the principles of Rudolf Steiner’s method and the Waldorf educational philosophy.

Waldorf schools aimed to support children in becoming their true selves and being good citizens. This depends -Steiner claimed- on considering holistically the learners, that is, in their academic, physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions in order to create resilient, multi-competent, emotionally strong adults. 

Steiner also argued that teachers must take into account the weakness and autonomy of the learner, and channel the desire to learn more than transferring novel competencies and knowledge.

The course will help participants apply these ideas in the classroom. On the one hand, it will explore how teachers can finalize their work to the transferring of key competencies for lifelong learning, which is more apt to engage students because they support giant growth not only at school but also across their whole life.

Among these, the course will specifically focus on metacognitive skills, i.e., those psychological capacities that target one’s own cognition and promote consciousness and awareness. Supporting meta-cognitive skills at school is fundamental because they prompt awareness of one’s learning, thus reinforcing attention and motivation.

On the other hand, the course will also propose and exemplify several methods for active learning (e.g., experiential learning, cooperative learning, and project-based learning) suitable for what is relevant and appropriate to students of different ages (as it is carefully considered in Waldorf education).

By promoting doing, creating, and producing, these methods will scaffold student autonomy and responsibility into learning.

By the end of the course, participants will be familiar with the principles of Rudolf Steiner’s method. They will also master a variety of didactic tools and strategies that will act as a healing salve in their teaching, make their students more autonomous, instill energy into them, and reinforce their motivation.

Concept by: Alessandro Pumpo

Learning outcomes

The course will help the participants to:

  • Apply the Steiner Methods for improved experiential learning;
  • Discover the concept of life skills and how to apply them in daily life;
  • Incorporate life skills in school curricula;
  • Connect and relate different concepts of entrepreneurship;
  • Integrate technology through creativity processes;
  • Learn about metacognition in education;
  • Teach students how to think, focus on their own learning.

Tentative schedule

Day 1 – Introduction to the course and holistic education

  • Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
  • Icebreaker activities;
  • Presentations of the participants’ schools.

Holistic education and meta-cognition

  • Waldorf School: a holistic approach to education;
  • Introduction to meta-cognitive skills.

Day 2 – Introduction to the Steiner Method

  • What is experiential learning?
  • Waldorf Education: the Steiner Approach.

Day 3 – Critical thinking in education

  • Steiner on critical thinking;
  • Metacognition and its relevance for learning;
  • How to implement motivation and academic fulfillment in the classroom;
  • Group discussion and focus group.

Day 4 – Practical Activities

  • Cooperative learning;
  • Entrepreneurship as a life skill;
  • Practical exercises, creating and designing ideas based on students’ youth culture.

Day 5 – Learning for life

  • Practical exercises promoting autonomy and resilience;
  • How to apply “authentic learning” in the classroom.

Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities

  • Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
  • Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
  • Excursion and other external cultural activities.

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