Recently, on a very popular Facebook group for Moms (most of whom are in India, or are of Indian origin) a question came up regarding Waldorf Schools in India. Waldorf, also known as Steiner schools, is used the world over in various pockets of groups looking for an alternative way for children to learn to be. Waldorf isn’t about memorization or being the first child in the group to read at age 3 or write their entire name at age 2, in fact, it is quite the opposite. For that reason, many families are fearful of having their children in this type of alternative schooling. But, should we fear alternative education?
Alternative Education in India
I’ve previously wrote about a few schools that are of the alternative education route for India. But, the fact is, in the end, these schools end up getting the kids on to a “syllabus” for getting college admission. What it is, then, is a way for people to learn to be without the pressure early on when the self is developing.
Levels of Development in Steiner School
During the early years of education up to age 6 or 7 (learning or developing) for a Waldorf or Steiner school will really hone in on the practical, hands-on activities that help us develop. Outdoors and a clean environment is important. Hands on, creative play (imagination!) is important. There isn’t a focus on reading and writing at this point.
In a Steiner elementary school (also known as primary school), or beginning around grade 1 or 2, the emphasis is on developing pupils’ artistic expression and social capacities, fostering both creative and analytical modes of understanding. At this point there will be an introduction to reading and writing, while still focusing on development of the individual.
By standard 8, (or around age 14), developmentally, there is a keen focus on a person’s ability to really think and think critically. Plus there will be the sense of idealism. Waldorf schools continue to encourage the use of imagination in learning. Artistic, practical and really keeping these all together to integrate the subjects of learning are important.
Waldorf focuses on a child’s development and not when the exam will take place for CBSE board.
Can a Waldorf child be a doctor?
Of course! Here’s the thing, a child who attends a Waldorf-inspired, or even a more TRUE Waldorf school will likely find a passion somewhere that burns deeply. By having an open learning that focuses on treating each other well, being aware of the environment, the spiritual world and beyond, a child may not take to a forced career. Thus, parents who choose Waldorf should be willing to allow a child to choose their own path when it comes to college and careers.
Does India recognize Waldorf schools?
Most Waldorf schools, and most Waldorf inspired schools, follow a Steiner education philosophy and then switch to the IGCSE board around standard 5 or 8. IGCSE schools generally do not have testing until around standard 5, thus, this is perfectly acceptable. A child may not test well early on, but it does not mean the person is not learning. In fact, their education is likely broader and they likely understand the material better than someone who only has memorized specific examples.
So, the school may not be “recognized” but the students generally end up passing with an INTERNATIONAL board, rather than a local board school.
What is Anthroposophy?
A concern for some families is anthroposophy and its relation to Waldorf schools in India. Anthroposophy is generally pretty well woven into Waldorf schools. Of course, many Waldorf-inspired schools may not take the anthroposophy as seriously. If it does concern you, do ask the school when enquiring for admissions.
Note: (And this goes for ALL schools) If a school doesn’t answer questions you have, will your child be allowed to ask questions for better understanding? If a school doesn’t answer questions DO NOT give your money to them, MOVE ON! I find it mind boggling the number of schools I visited where the officials are unwilling or unable to answer questions. Education, as prized as it is, is only as good as we allow it to be. If everyone demanded answers, imagine the difference we’d have when it comes to bribes, donations without receipts and more. Here’s the thing, many of the “big name” schools (not talking about Waldorf here, just going on a bit of a tangent) have shorter school days (5 or so hours) and then the kids are forced into additional tuitions. The schools accept advertising from these tuitions and then they get to say “oh we trained X toppers” – is your child really learning from that school? Really? What’s the VALUE of that school if your child is forced to learn from tuitions? Yes, I realize most of you know I’m a foreigner (with pending PIO status), but where I’m from there are few tuitions, instead there is tutoring. Few attend and usually it is to get someone caught up because they need extra help. NOT because the school requests the kids all take tuitions because in the 7 subjects, there isn’t enough time to teach the 45 or 60 kids per class.
Okay back to Waldorf
Waldorf is a philosophy that has been around in education for almost 100 years (95 ish). Its methods create a beautiful environment that really engages and invites the child to want to learn.
Music (eurythmy) is embraced, along with handicrafts (knitting, for example). Art is throughout the curricula. There is plenty of math and science in art, right? Symmetry, color wheels and more. It really can inspire a child to be engaged and really LEARN and embrace a topic.
Generally one topic is explored in depth and it is made to be relate-able. So one topic will combine many subjects over up to a month period. Of course, other things take place, but it really allows a topic to really be explored in depth, while taking into account multiple subjects. So, discussion about climates would include an artistic way to help children truly understand the topic in many ways… not just “Monsoon means lots of rain” Here’s a nice illustration of what to expect in a Waldorf school (from Association of Private Waldorf schools of North America).
Waldorf schools are respective of all cultures and religions
Now this is a blanket statement, so there may be exceptions, but, in general, the schools are known to be respectful. Most schools will celebrate and introduce the topics of major religions and cultures. Steins’s religious philosophy was a bit Christian leaning, but all religions are respected. This should be celebrated, of course. Divisions among religions causes a lot of strife, war and loss of life. There isn’t a religious requirement to attend schools, but eurythmy is used, and that is really a spiritual cause that is about developing the beings that we are as humans. Some conservatives may not understand or may not accept this as valid for kids, so please consider that as you look at schools as well.
Waldorf Steiner Schools in India
Here is a link to some “recognized” Waldorf schools in India. There are few, but there are MORE that are inspired and may not have made it to the list. Of course, I have no idea if there’s politics involved with the various Waldorf societies in India, or not, but there are a few different groups it appears.
Also view my list of alternative schools in Mumbai, as it continues to expand.
Here is a partial list of Waldorf schools, recognized and not, in India. Do comment or message us to have this list expanded. We welcome all comments on Waldorf experience as well.
Bangalore Waldorf Schools
Bangalore Steiner School
Sristi Farm, Thindlu Village,
Sarjapur Hobli, Anekal Taluk,
Mobile # Smitha Mallya # 98458 19185,
Mobile # G.Manivannan # 94483 78949
Website : www.bangaloresteinerschool.org/
Delhi Waldorf Schools
Aarambh Waldorf (2014 begins Elementary program)
Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, INDIA
Mirambika Free School
Students here take NIOS at Grade 10, or can be an external candidate and prepare on their own for IGCSE, etc
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Sri Aurobindo Marg,
New Delhi -110016
Ukti Waldorf School
D 979 New Friends Colony,
Near Mata Mandir,
Hyderabad Waldorf Schools
Diksha Waldorf School
Survey No 362 & 363,
Shameerpet Village, Ranga Reddy Dist.
Email : email@example.com
Phone : 9000 DIKSHA (9000 345742
Prerana Waldorf School
47/9 Janardhan Hills (Opp. NCC Urban Apartments)
Telcom Nagar Bus Stop
Gachibowli ‘X’ Road
Land Line: +91 40 6455 5930
Cell Phone: +91 9618686016
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Sloka, The Hyderabad Waldorf School
Plot 287 , Rd# 25 Jubilee Hills,
(off Rd #10 Jubilee Hills, next to Cafe Irani Chai)
Hyderabad 500033.Tel # +91 40 23545206/65994510
Tel # +91 08413 235050
Kompally Waldorf Schools
Abhaya, a Waldorf School
Near Apparel Textile Park
RR District – 500014Tel #+91 8008222056;
Tel # +91 8008222356
Mumbai Waldorf Schools
Inodai Waldorf School
Motibaug, Next to Andheri Fire Station,
SV Road, Andheri West. Mumbai, MH
Tel # 022-65222711
Mobile # 9819855336
Niraamayaa (for special needs only?)
113, Paradise 2,
Mukteshwar Ashram Rd,
Near IIT Market, Powai,
Telephone: (022) 25780867
Mobile: (+91) 9987653780 / 9820963867
Shrishtri Waldorf School
Vimal, North South Road No. 3,
Juhu Scheme, Vile Parle West,
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400056, India
Tridha Waldorf School – Steiner School
Malpa Dongri No. 3
Near Pump House
Opposite Satya Darshan Society
Andheri East, Mumbai 400093
Rainbow Bridge Waldorf Preschool
Lords Bldg, “B – 603”,
Above Croma Showroom,
Palm Beach Road, Belapur,
Navi Mumbai 400 614.
Phone 2: 9819984795
Reading Tree Preschool of Thane (Mumbai Suburb)
207 Arcadia Building
Thane West, Maharashtra 400607
Phone: 0222530 7639
Pune Waldorf Schools
Amor Waldorf School
Plot 29, Kanchanganga Society, Maharashtra, 411037
N Rd, Pune, Maharashtra, India
Phone: +91 98 76 193157
Pune Waldorf School
Shalimar, Gurunanak Nagar, Shankarsheth Road,
Pune, Maharashtra, India
+91 88 88 535146
I hope this post is helpful in seeing how Waldorf works in India. If your child attends one of these schools, do fill out our survey to review the school as well.