What are Waldorf toys and how do I choose them?
If you’ve heard of Waldorf toys but are yet to fully understand how they differ from other toys and how exactly they’ll benefit your child, you’re in the right place! Here at Capikooa we love celebrating any type of learning which encourages child-led discovery and nurtures imagination, which makes Waldorf a favourite. Keep reading to find out more...
What is the Waldorf method?
The Waldorf method (also known as the Steiner Method) is an educational philosophy devised by Rudolf Steiner. Its focus is on encouraging a child’s development (intellectual, artistic, and practical) in a holistic manner. It uses a broad curriculum and takes a whole-child approach. Waldorf educators are concerned with "head, heart and hands". They do not want to rush childhood for the sake of education and focus on hands-on learning which is age appropriate.
A Waldorf curriculum is as broad as possible based on the time available, and matches time spent on academic subjects with artistic and practical opportunities (which are just as important). Before age 7, Waldorf learning focuses on imaginary play as a way to help children thrive.
Is Waldorf similar to Montessori?
Yes, there are similarities between both Waldorf and Montessori learning - the main similarity being that they take a holistic approach to education and realise the innate value of a whole child - rather than being focused on reaching academic milestones. Both methods respect the creativity, independence, and capability of children, and prioritise spiritual, mental, physical, and psychological wellbeing over academia.
Both styles of learning & play also emphasise the benefits of nature. Whether that’s being outdoors or using natural resources in the home/classroom - so picking wooden toys over plastic.
The large difference is that Montessori focuses on giving children opportunities to practice real life skills from even the toddler years, while Waldorf is much more concerned with imaginative play in the early years.
What are the advantages of the Waldorf Method?
Advantages of the Waldorf Method of learning include:
- A whole child approach which respects the overall wellbeing of each child and wants them to be happy and healthy in all areas
- A slower approach to childhood with formal learning not coming until around age 7 - leaving plenty of time for play!
- Hands-on, age-appropriate learning which encourages real engagement
- Children are encouraged to take an active role in their education and what they learn
- Time away from technology - Waldorf is screen-free
- Pupils usually have the same teacher for several years, which strengthens child-teacher bond and helps with engagement
What are examples of Waldorf toys?
Wooden waldorf toys are the main focus for the play initiated using the Walford Method. Toys are simple and natural; they don’t use a lot of detail and are not battery operated. A Waldorf toy collection might include wooden building blocks, wooden rocker toys and climbing frames, silk scarves, small wooden world dolls, wooden animals and other open-ended toys which allow flexible play led by a child’s imagination.
Ready to invest in Waldorf style play? Browse our wooden balance boards designed for open-ended fun that’s perfect alongside Waldorf learning.