A Comparison of Waldorf and Public School

IMG952375When parents are researching private schools, the myriad of options and different educational philosophies can sometimes be overwhelming. Many of our prospective parents are considering transitioning their children from public school into a Waldorf Education. And so, the question becomes, “What exactly is the difference between my child’s current experience and Waldorf?”

One might generally summarize the differences in this way: Waldorf puts high value in art, critical thinking, and creativity and does not pursue academic instruction before the age of seven. Public school puts a high value on standard and measurable academics, with a focus on math and reading starting at age five.

But this does not shed much light on the multi-layered and nuanced approaches of each system. In an effort to clarify, we have created this chart describing similarities and differences in each educational system. But, for true clarification about these methods and their appropriateness for your child, visit schools in your area and experience in-session classroom visits.



No matter what type of education is right for your child is up to you and your family, we encourage you to tour a Waldorf school while class is in session to experience Waldorf education first hand. Learn More HERE if you’d like to visit Spring Garden Waldorf of Northeast Ohio.


(1) http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/

(2) https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ecd/ehs_cc_partnership_grant_powerpoint.pdf

(3) http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/frequently-asked-questions/

(4) http://www.corestandards.org/search/?f=all&t=technology

(5) http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Early-Learning



(8) http://www.pbs.org/onlyateacher/today2.html


(10) http://www.corestandards.org/search/?f=all&t=Gifted+Children ; http://www.corestandards.org/search/?f=all&t=Individual+Learning ;

11) http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/key-design-consideration/

4 thoughts on “A Comparison of Waldorf and Public School

  1. Mary – Actually, there are quite a few public Waldorf charter schools and the number is growing. There is also a growing community of Waldorf homeschoolers and co-ops. The public seems more interested in Montessori because of the earlier introduction to academics.

  2. Thank you for sharing this comparison. I will save it for future reference. Waldorf is pricey, I will agree, and there is no school near my children, so we learn at home using Waldorf methods. There are ways to make it work and I’m so glad I took the chance to do it.

  3. You forget one giant, important difference. Waldorf: costs more than I make in a year. For the elite. But absolutely, a wonderful program. I wish Waldorf enthusiasts would work as hard as the Montessori Enthusiasts do to get it into the public schools. But Waldorf enthusiasts don’t need to, because generally they can pay, and their kids are secured. So much for ethics, engaging with the world, and all that emphasis on community.

  4. Hi,
    I went to a traditional Waldorf School for Steiner Education in the Adelaide Hills for 14 years of education. I learned a lot and grew fully, at my own pace, flourishing with the beautiful, natural way of the system. Throughout my schooling I was asked what my education was like, how it differs from state school education, and I could never really answer this with the full depth of my feeling and passion for the way in which I knew that I learned and was being taught. My answers never did the system or my experience any justice.
    Since leaving, I have been asked by various people the exact same question. I have gained more insight into the system which I was not a part of, as well as the Steiner Education, and so have been able to give a fuller answer, and convey a few of the benefits of Steiner Education. However, I always wished that I could have some guidelines by which to follow when questioned as such, and here we have them – at least a basic description of the differences between the two systems.
    So thank you – you have provided me with a stepping stone by which to fuel my answer.

    Ember Bolto-Marlu

    PS: I am studying Outdoor Education in Bendigo, currently, and am aiming to become a teacher in a Steiner School when I complete my study. Do you have a recommendation for the best path to follow to gain Waldorf Teacher qualifications?

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