A Waldorf education is basically D&D camp. There, I said it.
My initial impression was that the curriculum was designed to educate kids to become hippies (here’s the overview from my kid’s school) but now I realize they may actually be training DMs.
Here’s the literature & History curriculum by grade:
|1||Folktales, fairy tales and nature stories to introduce letters and writing|
|2||Fables, legends of heroes, heroines and saints, native American stories|
|3||Biblical stories as introduction to ancient history|
|4||Norse mythology, local history through geography, area development through settlers|
|5||Ancient India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece|
|6||Founding of Rome, life of Christ, crusades, life of Mohammed, Islam,
|7||1400-1700 Age of Exploration, Age of Discovery, Reformation, Renaissance|
|8||1700 – Present U.S. History, industrial revolution, comparative biographies|
Gym class includes the Greek pentathlon and archery. There are a ton of handicrafts including sculpting miniatures out of beeswax and diorama building, not to mention stuff like knitting, woodworking, and gardening — the skill set of medieval peasants. Perhaps most importantly most of the academics are imparted through stories and songs, so that the kids develop this whole mythology of fairies and angels and so on, and a sense of the oral tradition.
So by 8th grade you will have learned almost everything you need to run an awesome campaign, and make your own minis.
The Waldorf method also puts a lot of emphasis on interpersonal skills and conflict resolution, so I’m guessing a gaming group at a Waldorf school would not have some of the ‘special problems’ gaming groups tend to see, or at least they’d have the tools to deal with them.
Best of all, at least for regressive old schooler type like me, is that Waldorf schools also tend to ban or limit “media” exposure (meaning mass media like TV and radio rather than all media, actually). So you probably don’t have to worry too much about “gamer ADD” or losing players to the next shiny thing that happens along — Waldorf kids are generally thought to be somewhat resistant to consumerism because they don’t spend as much time being lobotomized by TV as average.
Also, there is a lot of Waldorf stuff that I am constantly wanting to steal for my games. The school celebrates a number of semi-pagan/semi-Christian holidays, like Michaelmas (gnomes, dragons, knights, and avenging angels!), St. Lucia Day, and more. The first graders learned a ton fairy tales — not the Disney versions, the Grimm and Andrew Lang versions. They love this stuff.
Blind Agnes or St. Lucy?
Also, the annual Children’s Festival at my kid’s school has, among the activities, a miniature trebuchet for launching Osage Oranges. It’s like a goddurn medieval fair I tell you!
Anyway, I’m not saying I sent my kid to a Waldorf school to indoctrinate her into swords & dorkery type pursuits, but it sure isn’t hurting!
Oh, and true story, not so much D&D related but sort of Waldorf related: When we were first checking out the school, we got a DVD that showed what the classrooms were like and interviews with some of the teachers and parents. Part of it went on and on about Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the “Waldorf” teaching method. Initially, I was completely aghast, because I had confused Rudolf Steiner with Wilhelm Reich. I got more and more agitated as they talked about all his great ideas and philosophy. I kept wondering when these sickos would roll out the orgone accumulators and vegetotherapy rooms. Turns out Steiner had some oddball ideas (cough, anthroposophy, cough), but nothing as cracked as Reich!