What is Waldorf-Aligned?
A friend reading this website asked me to offer more information about the selection of books that I categorize as Waldorf-Aligned. This page is the beginning of a response, partly to explain Waldorf Education story curriculum. For more detailed information about Waldorf Education, especially about becoming a Waldorf teacher, I invite you to visit the website of the Waldorf Teacher Training program, where I received my training.
For me, books may be aligned with Waldorf Education in one of two ways: aligned with the curriculum, and/or aligned with the values proposed in Waldorf Education.
The curriculum part is easy. Based on my Waldorf teacher training, I have an approximation of the story curriculum by grade. For a good listing of books, you might look at the tables of contents of books listed for each grade on Live Education (click on curriculum for each grade to see books, then click on contents). Here’s an overview:
1st Grade: Fairy Tales, Happy Endings; trials that wind up good
2nd Grade: Legends of Saints, and fables
3rd grade: Old Testament Stories
4th Grade: Norse Myths, Kalevala, Geography
5th Grade: Ancient History: Atlantis, India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece.
6th Grade: Rome, Middle Ages, New Testament, Islam, Age of Chivalry
7th Grade: Renaissance, Reformation, Exploration, Aladdin
8th Grade: Modern History: Romantics, Revolutions, Civil War, Slavery, WWI, II, Industrial Revolution.
So when I see a book that covers for example, the Knights, (such as the series of books by Gerald Morris), then I included them as Waldorf-aligned, as I know they relate well with the curriculum.
The other criteria, values, is more subjective. It’s not that the other books on this website are not consistent with Waldorf education; however, there are some that are so clearly similar. Topics like fairies (which is big for the little ones in the early grades of Waldorf), or self-sufficiency (Waldorf emphasizes the practical arts, making things oneself), or nature (a big component of any Waldorf school)… all of these would fall under values.
One over-arching umbrella of Waldorf education are the three principles of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth, which are imbued in the curriculum and brought out in the children as they develop. So when I read a book which seems to capture one of these qualities I would include it as Waldorf-aligned. These principles are not just abstract. For example, Goodness, from ages 0 to 7, manifests as expressing gratitude. Somehow, I think of the book Little Lord Fauntleroy in that light. Beauty, emphasized in ages 7-14 expresses itself as love for the world. And Truth, for ages 14-21, (beyond this website’s focus), shows up as responsibility and duty. It’s about children learning to put their own truth into action.
However, all that being said, creating this particulary category was a bit arbitrary. The category is meant to highlight those books which are very closely aligned, without making a statement that others are not equally worthy. My sincere hope is that parents of Waldorf students will consider any of the books on the website, as I wouldn’t post them if I didn’t feel they were suitable. .
To the friend that inquired, thank you for the inquiry. I hope this helps. I look forward to community comments.
To wonder at beauty
To wonder at beauty,
Stand guard over truth
Look up to the noble,
Resolve on the good
This leadeth us truly,
To purpose in living
To right in our doing,
To peace in our feeling
To light in our thinking,
And teaches us trust
In the working of good all around
In the wide world,
In depths of soul.