As part of our re-branding last year, the Da Vinci Waldorf School wrote a new tag line: “The art and science of imagination.” One of the fundamentals of Waldorf education is developing a child’s imagination. From the pictures the preschool child creates in her mind when she hears a fairy tale to the connections the middle school student experiences between his own inner life and the chemistry of combustion and crystallization, Waldorf education is designed to nurture this innate part of the growing human being. People looking at Waldorf from the outside often wonder at the value of so much emphasis on play and imagination. The Waldorf school can look like something from another century, with its simple tools, its emphasis on story and the arts, its insistence on getting children outside and letting them play freely with one another. However, you have only to look at the most cutting edge brain science to understand the value of these things. Imagination is key for the development of a healthy human being with the capacities to achieve personal success in the new “imagination economy” described by Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind. Developing the imagination will give our children the capacity to imagine and create new designs, technologies, and solutions that we so desperately need. Imagination will also help them develop the moral intuition to navigate the complex issues that our modern world presents, such as the use of drones or the choices presented by the ability to perform genetic testing, among so many others yet unknown that will face our children.
If you’d like to read more about the importance of imagination and the results of its decline in recent years in areas as diverse as national security, economic security, and the development of new patents, this article is excellent: