My life has one overriding purpose. . . Nothing else matters: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever
My parenting has one purpose. ..thus my homeschooling has one purpose: to teach my kids to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
So when deciding how to teach and what to teach, I ask myself, “What is the best means of teaching my kids to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?” I have chosen Waldorf. Not a popular choice for Christian homeschoolers. Most Christian homeschoolers aren’t familiar with Waldorf, and those who are, are often negative.
Today, I’d like to examine why I believe a Christian Worldview can be taught using Waldorf pedagogy.
Please reread my last sentence. I want to emphasis, my goal is to teach a Christian Worldview USING Waldorf … not to teach Waldorf and incorporate Christian theology. There is a difference, and that difference makes all the difference.
What is Christianity?
The American Heritage Dictionary, 2005, states that Christianity is “the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, sent by God. They believe that Jesus, by dying and rising from the dead, made up for the sin of Adam and thus redeemed the world, allowing all who believe in him to enter heaven. Christians rely on the Bible as the inspired word of God.”
Christians believe there is only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Christians also believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Therefore the Bible is the only means of absolute truth because it is God’s words revealed to man. The Bible speaks on its own validity when it states, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30: 5 – 6
What is Christian Worldview?
People live what they think. Therefore, a Christian Worldview is when all of life, all ideas, all beliefs, and all events are filtered and interpreted through the Bible, the only means of absolute truth. Therefore, all choices come from a biblical perspective and the result is a lifestyle that looks more and more like Jesus himself.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
What is a Christian Education?
A system of education in which all learning focuses on loving God. All subjects, all philosophies, all sciences, everything that goes into the mind is evaluated according to the truth of God’s Word and for the purpose of loving God fully.
“The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4 – 7
What is Waldorf education?
Waldorf education is an educational method which focuses on the whole child as he grows and changes in different stages of his life. It is based on the philosophy of anthroposophy which was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early twentieth century.
What is anthroposophy?
The Anthroposophical Society in America states, “Anthroposophy is a discipline of research as well as a path of knowledge, service, personal growth and social engagement. Introduced and developed by Rudolf Steiner, it is concerned with all aspects of human life, spirit and humanity’s future evolution and well-being.”
In contrast to the Christian belief that truth is based on God, Anthroposophy claims that humans create truth. Steiner states, in “truth is a free creation of the human spirit that never would exist at all if we did not generate it ourselves. The task of understanding is not to replicate in conceptual form something that already exists, but rather to create a wholly new realm, that together with the world given to our senses constitutes the fullness of reality.” (Steiner, Truth and Knowledge, Introduction to the Philosophy of Freedom, Introduction) Therefore, the basis of anthroposophy is humanism and existentialism.
Is Waldorf Christian?
Waldorf is not Christian. Waldorf is spiritual in nature, but that spirituality is based on the presupposition that man is eternal and has a soul. Waldorf schools around the world claim to embrace all religions equally, including Christianity.
Yet at the base of Christianity is the belief that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. To a Christian, man is spiritual because God created him in His image in order to have an eternal relationship with him.
And once again, Christians believe the basis of truth is the Bible and Waldorf believes the basis of truth is anthroposophy (existentialism).
Can I use Waldorf without accepting anthroposophy?
I believe the answer is yes. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. I would ask is any educational method “Christian”? Christianity is a belief and a lifestyle, not an educational method. Using textbooks or unit studies is no more “Christian” than Waldorf teaching materials. The Bible does not dictate a specific technique for teaching.
Waldorf education was developed through observation of children and the study of child development. Modern scientific research on the brain advocates for similar teaching methods. Waldorf also has many similarities to Classical education (based on Aristotle, a non-Christian’s philosophy) – especially three stages of childhood learning. For me personally, Waldorf has elements that logically make sense.
Truth is always grounded in the word of God, even if it originated from a non-Christian. I believe there is a lot of truth in Waldorf pedagogy. Using the methodology is an educational choice which is neither Christian nor pagan.
How can Waldorf pedagogy and Christian principles work together?
Many specifics of a Waldorf education can either be directed toward knowing God more fully, or because God created them.
- Rhythm = God Created Rhythm
- Teaching to Head, Heart, Hands = Teaching to love God with Heart, Mind, Soul & Strength
- Art = God is the Creator and part of being created in His image is creating
- Reciting Verse = The Bible says to take every thought captive, this is training in doing so
- Music = Sing and make music to God
- 12 senses = God Created the Senses so we would know and love Him
- Emphasis on nature = God gave man stewardship of the earth
- Purposeful Work = Work as unto the Lord
- Teaching to the Temperaments = God Created us as individuals to worship Him fully
- Fairy Tales =Teaches godly character traits and that good triumphs over evil
- Dance and Movement = Dance unto the Lord
Many other elements of Waldorf are neither Biblical nor non-Biblical, but personal choices:
- Delayed Academics
- Block Learning
Steiner may have developed Waldorf education, but God developed humans, and the basis of Steiner’s research is rooted in truth. Thus, I believe you can use a Waldorf based education to teach a Christian worldview.