Holly Krupski



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Holly Krupski, EDU 380: IPDS Italy
Faculty Mentors: Professor Patricia George, Elementary Education, Literacy, and Educational Leadership and Professor Tamara Horstman-Riphahn, School of Education

The Waldorf education model was founded in Germany in 1919 by Austrian theologian Rudolph Steiner, who believed that educational experiences need to focus on the whole child (thinking, feeling, doing) and must connect knowledge to community. For this study, the researcher spent a full day observing in four classrooms – a second-grade Waldorf school and a third-grade standard public school near Buffalo, New York; and a second-grade Waldorf school and a fourth-grade standard public school in Stuttgart, Germany. Observations were made regarding the aesthetics of each classroom, including colors, materials and organization. Classroom teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire outlining their goals and intent with the classroom design. Photos were collected from each teacher’s classroom and follow-up questions were provided to gain additional information about classroom aesthetics. Through this study, the researcher discovered that German and US traditional schools differ greatly from Waldorf schools. In particular, they differ in regard to the emphasis that Waldorf schools place on nature, soft colors, flexible seating and student independence compared to the emphasis the traditional schools place on a well-structured, organized classroom, bright colors, and themed spaces. Beyond the differences, however, it was clear that teachers at all schools work hard to make sure students feel welcomed, comfortable, and engaged.

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Teacher Perceptions About Classroom Aesthetics in Traditional and Waldorf Schools in the US and Germany
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