• Joseph Roces Chanco

Acacia Waldorf School and "The Human Touch"


The headlines nowadays seem to be concocted from a mind gripped by lunacy. Everywhere we look, we see our humanity in trouble, forsaken by the forces of greed, rage and avarice. War rages in the southern part of the country over which Martial Law has been declare. A lone gunman went on a rampage in casino and caused the deaths of dozens of innocent people. Jeepney drivers—many of whom voted for Duterte and his platform of “change”—are leaving masses stranded in the middle of transit, as the hold strikes in protest of the government’s agenda to phase out the old, inefficient, unsafe, and pollutive means of transport for better ones.

Amidst the turmoil, the chaotic information, and increasing insecurities we face, one can’t really help but ask more questions, restlessly musing over ever-deepening thoughts. Especially when we realize the fact that generally much of the troubles reeling our concerns these days could have been prevented or even automatically mitigated by very fundamental things, like good education, a consciousness for humanity and a proper understanding of our respective roles in the universe, as human beings and also as spiritual beings. Why are we here? What must we do? Why are such things happening around us? These come to mind. And these are precisely the fundamentals of a philosophy called Anthroposophy.

Founded by Rudolf Steiner, anthroposophy postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world that is accessible by direct experience through inner development. It is a discipline that specifically aims to develop faculties of perceptive imagination, inspiration and intuition through the cultivation of a form of thinking independent of sensory experience, and to present the results of these with rational verification. Its fruition would be seen in the practical applications of theory by its “human-conscious” students in various fields—in indoctrination, in biodynamic agriculture, in medicine and healing, in ethical management of resources, in social synergy and organizational development, and in the multiverse of the arts.

The first Steiner school opened in 1919 as a result of a request by Emil Molt, the owner and managing director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in Stuttgart, Germany at that time. The school was to supposed to serve the children of employees of the factory, and so the name “Waldorf”, which is now trademarked in some countries in association with the method and system of educating. The Stuttgart school grew surprisingly fast and soon enough, the majority of pupils enrolled were already from families not connected directly with the company. This first Waldorf model school was the also the first comprehensive school in Germany, accepting children from all social classes, genders, abilities, and interests.

Through the years, the Waldorf pedagogy has become a recognized philosophy on education and has influenced public schooling, with many Waldorf schools even receiving state funding. Now this educational system is offered south of Manila, at the Acacia Waldorf School.

Acacia Waldorf School in Hacienda Santa Elena, Santa Rosa, Laguna, follows the Steiner philosophy in it educational system. Hinged on the tenets of anthroposophy, Waldorf education puts emphasis on the role of imagination in learning, continually attempting to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of the young human being.

This philosophy is reflected in the school’s approach in teaching and thus manifest as lessons that are practical, designed around hands-on activities and creative play, particularly in early childhood education. After building this practical foundation upon the child, the focus is then shifted to the development of artistic expression and social capabilities in elementary education. And then, critical reasoning and emphatic understanding are instilled during secondary education.

In the Waldorf system, the qualitative assessments of each student’s works are applied in both the classroom and home life. On the other hand, quantitative testing is limited to a minimal role in primary education and standardized testing usually limited to that required for college entry. Meanwhile, teachers are given a significant amount of freedom and autonomy in determining curriculum content, teaching techniques an lessons, and overall student governance.

Waldorf education is built around the ultimate purpose of developing free, morally responsible, and well-balanced, well-integrated individuals that possess a high degree of social competence. In a world that is quickly spiraling down to an abyss designed by the inhumane, perhaps Acacia Waldorf School can do a lot, providing "the human touch".

For more information on Acacia Waldorf School and anthroposophy, you may call 09175540435 or 09989808185. Or email: admin@acaciawaldorfschool.com.

You may also check out Acacia Waldorf School's website at: http://acaciawaldorfschool.com and their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/AcaciaWaldorf/

* Published in print version (Voice of the South, Volume 13, No. 6)

#Education

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