Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
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Class size note: my daughter's class was 28 to start with and her teacher was just starting her career. The teacher had been a waldorf student with a mother who was a waldorf teacher, so she did have some extra supports!
Waldorf education actually works better with larger class sizes. In European waldorf schools classes usually have an upper limit of 40 students! I don't think anyone has ever tried this in the U.S. as our children seem to have some differences in behavior that make a class size that large impractical.
So why do large classes work better? The explanation I've heard has to do with the story-telling approach to learning. The teacher can be funny, dramatic, tragic, and so on, in the presentation of a story. Just as in a theater, a larger audience works better, so in the classroom a larger group helps to bring the story to life. One or another child will identify with the events being presented, begin to get drawn in and their heightened emotions will pull in the surrounding children.
One of my favorite waldorf stories: my daughter's kindergarten teacher had taught in the grades. (She was a superb story teller) In fifth grade she told the story of Socrate's trial. At the end, there was a moment of thoughtful silence. Then one of the students spoke up. "Miss Sharpe, were you there?"