Why do Waldorf students stay with the same teacher for 7 years?

Between the ages of seven and fourteen, children learn best through acceptance and emulation of authority, just as in their earlier years they learned through imitation.

In primary school, particularly in the lower grades, the child is just beginning to expand his or her experience beyond home and family. The class becomes a type of “family” as well, with its own authority figure – the teacher – in a role analogous to parent.

With this approach the students and teachers come to know each other very well, and the teacher is able to find over the years the best ways of helping individual children in their schooling

Does the Class Teacher teach all subjects to the class?

The Class Teacher is the stable, enduring element in the child’s education in primary years
and always teaches the Main Lesson. However, it is seen as very healthy for the class to
experience a wide range of teachers and personalities on a regular basis. Depending on the
resources of the school, there will be specialist Foreign Language, Music, Craft and Learning
Support Teachers who work closely with the Class Teacher.

What if a child does not get on with the Class Teacher?

Normally a Class Teacher will be with his/her class for up to 7 years. During that time relationships between teacher and students will go through different stages.
When there in tension in the relationship, it is seen as an opportunity for change and the Class Teacher will do everything possible to heal the situation.

Class Teachers, because of the length of time they stay with their students, have a long term perspective – it is more like a family
dynamic, where difficulties can arise between family members, but which need to be dealt within a loving and understanding way.
Additionally, during the Class Teacher journey, a real partnership develops between teacher and the families of the children – again
providing a strong base for resolving difficulties. Sometimes however despite all efforts, the situation cannot be healed and this must also be accepted.

Further Readings