Foreign Languages in Waldorf Schools

Mar 09, 2021

Right from the start of the first Waldorf school in 1919, Steiner advocated the teaching of two foreign languages from Grade One. Besides the pragmatic utility of speaking some foreign languages (even more in today’s world), Steiner had a whole range of other educational intentions in mind.
After the disaster of the First World War, Steiner realized that encouraging cultural awareness,  human understanding and empathy was a core requirement in children’s education. Foreign language teaching helps towards this goal. When you learn a foreign language, you open up to a new way of thinking, of seeing the world, of expressing yourself, to new cultures, customs…thus you enhance empathy and intercultural understanding. Learning of foreign language opens a window into the soul of other people. And, in doing so, it also deepens the awareness of your own mother tongue.
Another educational benefit of foreign language teaching is in building up your confidence towards the unknown: you need the confidence to try the unfamiliar, to learn from mistakes, to be opened to the challenge that a completely unknown language represents.
To reach these goals, foreign language teaching in Waldorf education uses a specific method. Lessons seek to emphasise the ‘language genius’ – the spirit of a language as rendered from its core sounds and sentiments. To do this children are immersed in poems, songs, stories, games, crafts…all in the foreign language. During the first three years, this is done purely orally. Then, slowly, reading, writing and grammar will be added to add more consciousness in the learning process.
At Seasons of Seven Virtual School™, we offer American Sign Language (integral part of the full class experience in 2021/2022) and French as a single enrichment class.

~Ms. Sandrine: Seasons of Seven™ French Teacher

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