Waldorf and Montessori: How do they compare?

June 2015

The Waldorf and Montessori movements are both holistic, child centered approaches to learning. Both movements began in similar times, in similar parts of the world as an answer to a very rigid educational system.

Rudolf Steiner, 1861-1925

Maria Montessori, 1870-1952

Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Schools, was from Austria, and started the first Waldorf School in Germany in 1919; Maria Montessori was from Italy and started the first Montessori school in Rome in 1907. Steiner, who lived in a very industrial, intellectual part of the world, brought a rich and beautiful arts-based curriculum to Waldorf Education. Montessori, who lived in an arts-rich culture, brought science and math as a focal point of the Montessori curriculum.

Both Steiner and Montessori developed educational systems that were developmentally appropriate for children, and both stress a learning environment that is aesthetically pleasing. Both systems are designed to awaken the senses of the young child, and both incorporate moral development in their curriculum. Both philosophies discourage television for young children and consider it to be detrimental to the child’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. Both philosophies also value the concept of students having the same teacher for several years.

There are many differences in the “methods” of the two philosophies.

Read more at Cincinnati Waldorf School

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