A Waldorf school follows the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, who felt that schools should cater to the needs of children and encourage creativity and freethinking. A key element of Waldorf schooling is a strong emphasis on arts and music, with formal reading instruction delayed until second- or third-grade level. During the early years, emphasis is placed on developing oral language skills through storytelling.
During the elementary years, the students have a class teacher who stays with them from year to year. In early grades, all subjects are introduced via artistic mediums. All children learn to play the recorder and to knit; children also spend time gardening and usually study two foreign languages. Math instruction relies on developing a conceptual understanding. Textbooks are avoided, but children maintain their own workbooks for each subject, recording their experiences and what they have learned. No grades are given at the elementary level; instead, the teacher writes a detailed evaluation of each child at the end of each school year.
Because your child will not be expected to read until about age nine, it is unlikely that dyslexia will be detected in the early years. This is a mixed blessing: while your child will be develop and learn in a supportive environment, it will be harder for you to know when extra help is warranted.
A Waldorf school can provide a safe and nurturing environment for your child with dyslexia, where the child grows and learns in a supportive, family-like atmosphere. The emphasis on art projects and imaginative play provides a realm where your child can flourish emotionally and learn through the sensory pathways that best fit his learning style. On the other hand, few Waldorf teachers will be prepared to help your child if he does not naturally transition into reading at age nine or ten; the teachers are not trained in methods for dyslexia, and the practice of having your child with the same teacher can backfire if that particular teacher is not skilled at guiding children toward reading proficiency.