Art experiences in Waldorf education: graduates' meaning making reflections
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The purpose of this study was to implement a descriptive inquiry about the nature of art experiences in Waldorf Education through the lens of Waldorf graduates' reflections. This qualitative study sought to gain insight into the meanings graduates attribute to past Waldorf school arts experiences. The central research question for the study was as follows: What meanings do Waldorf graduates attribute to their lived Waldorf school art experience? Three-interview Series (Dolbeare & Schuman, 1982) were utilized to gather data from Waldorf graduates. This semi-structured interview protocol was designed to first, ascertain the graduates' overview about art experiences; second, narrow to their reflections about key moments (epiphanies) within arts experience; and third, attribute meaning to their art experience reflections. The results articulated benefits stemming from students' involvement in seamless arts integration and hands-on arts experiences in Waldorf Education: (1) expanded ways of knowing; (2) internalized knowledge through visual representations; (3) afforded will-developed intelligence, flow experience, creativity, and emotional intelligence; and (4) balanced the whole (sense and reason) being. Review of the literature demonstrated that no previous study was available towards garnering the meanings Waldorf graduates attribute to arts experiences. Findings of this study addressed the nature of arts-infused curriculum within Waldorf Education and provided examination of an alternative educational paradigm that honors whole child development.