School Mission, Core Values and Educational Philosophy
Chicago Waldorf School is an urban independent school offering a comprehensive, creative, vigorous education rooted in the pedagogical methods established by philosopher, social innovator and artist Rudolf Steiner.
School Mission and Core Values
Chicago Waldorf School provides a diverse PreK-12th grade education that supports the development of self-directed young adults dedicated to the pursuit of ongoing learning and eager to contribute positively to the global society of the 21st century. This education is rooted in the ideals, insights and pedagogical methods of Rudolf Steiner, who stated:
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
Rudolf Steiner, 1861–1925
Founder, Waldorf School Movement
The Core Values of the Chicago Waldorf School are:
We weave academic and artistic excellence with social engagement and moral awareness into an integrated whole. We work with educational principles established by Rudolf Steiner to encourage imagination, flexibility in thinking and a love of learning.
Respect & Reverence
We work in respect and reverence for the gifts and destinies of our students. We encourage in them the same respect and reverence for the wonders of the world and of their own humanity.
Wholeness & Self Reliance
We build wholeness and self-reliance by protecting the essential quality of childhood. We introduce age-appropriate questions and challenges progressively to encourage initiative and self-direction in our students as they grow.
We respect the dignity of each person and aspire to be a diverse, healthy and collaborative community. We apply Waldorf education in ways relevant to our time and place, and we inspire our students to reach out to the world in engaged inquiry and service.
Chicago Waldorf School is founded upon the central insight of Rudolf Steiner that each human being is comprised of body, soul and spirit and in full maturity is guided by a unique, self-awareness. This conviction informs all aspects of the education and personal relationships within Chicago Waldorf School. It is our core mission and responsibility to help our students develop this deep center of their being as they move from early childhood to adulthood. To this end, the education we offer is designed to appeal to—and nurture—the special capacities that emerge at each stage of the child’s adolescent development.
The relationship between teacher and student is fundamental to the unfolding of the student’s unique identity. Chicago Waldorf School expects its teachers to engage in the study of anthroposophy—the philosophy and pedagogical perspective founded by Rudolf Steiner—and in self-reflective practice in order to hone their imagination and creativity; master their capacity for learning, teaching, and fostering caring relationships; and develop the acuity of their intuition and perceptiveness. The teachers’ willingness to work actively on self-understanding and transformation—as well as to remain current in their subject areas—sustains their knowledge of human development. Their internal self-awareness and external and active participation in the world are essential to the Waldorf model of education and equip them to fulfill the school’s mission and goals.