9th January 2004 at 00:00
Understanding Waldorf Education: teaching from the inside out By Jack Petrash Floris Books pound;9.99. Professor Roland Meighan, while a lecturer at Birmingham School of Education, taught me some years ago that apparent differences in ability between children pale into insignificance compared with the vast untapped potential within every human being.

Rudolf Steiner knew that, too. In 1919 he invented Waldorf Education (so called because it was first used with children whose parents worked at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart).

"Waldorf," Jack Petrash explains, "recognises the genius in all and sets out deliberately to coax the muscles of that genius into play in a far different fashion from the pedagogical orthodoxy."

Petrash explains the Waldorf system, with its emphasis on play, story, the arts and creativity, in a heartfelt and welcome cry against the one-size-fits-all system. It is from the United States but the principles are universal. See for details of Steiner schools in the UK.

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