What about social and emotional development?

 I am happy to say that Waldorf has a big emphasis on social development. In fact, in kindergarten, that was really the main thing I wanted for my child. In kindergarten, they spend a great deal of their time making friends and playing together, with a supportive, loving staff watching over them and giving gentle guidance.

 

In upper grades, they learn communication skills to help them collaborate well with others and create healthy relationships. This survey shows that the vast majority of Waldorf graduates (96%) highly value their interpersonal friendships.

 

A glance at the world indicates to me that we need more relationship skills, not less. Happy adults have meaningful, healthy relationships. Yet standard classrooms are limiting play time and in most cases devote little attention to fostering these skills.

 

In addition, Waldorf schools is devoted to guiding a child’s emotional development, to help every child grow into an emotionally healthy, well-rounded adult. One thing that helps a young child’s emotional health is imaginative play. Studies show that children in general have less ability to regulate themselves today than they did 60 years ago. Self-regulation means controlling impulses, behavior, and emotions. Lack of self-regulation is associated with drug use and crime. One possible explanation for the decline of self-regulation skills is that children spend less and less time at imaginative play, in which children naturally use “private speech”, which is an important skill for self-regulation.