Alumni Anne Raley Shares Lasting Lessons from Spring Garden


Anne graduated from Spring Garden in 1996 as Anne Haynes. Anne is the first born in her family.  Her two sisters, Erica and Valerie, also attended Spring Garden Waldorf School.  Anne’s little sister, Valerie Haynes Smith, passed away in 2013. Valerie brought joy and love to all that she encountered and is dearly missed.

Anne attended North High School in Akron and graduated in 2000. After some international travel, Anne was admitted directly into the College for Nursing at the University of Akron.  

While at UA, Anne met her husband and they moved together to Washington, D.C. in 2006, so Anne didn’t finish her degree in Akron. But once in D.C., she returned to nursing school and graduated from University District Columbia in 2012 with an Associate’s degree in nursing. She has been working at a local hospital since and will graduate this year with a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Anne says, “Waldorf education has always challenged me to do my own best work and has also given me a love of learning.” And she’s not just giving us lip service. Anne is putting Waldorf principles into practice as she finishes up her RN degree.

“While studying human anatomy, I created a main lesson book for myself in which I drew, with colored pencils, the system of the body I was studying at the time. This way of learning, of not only studying the facts but seeing the beauty in something and being able to create that for myself, is something I believe is worthwhile.”

In fact Anne believes her Waldorf Education has had many long lasting effects, not just on how she works, but why she works.

“I entered the nursing field less for the technical aspect of it and more for the human caring aspect. The nurse’s responsibility is to care for the person as a whole being (mind, body, spirit). Waldorf education directly affected my ability to see a person in this light and know that I am also a mind, body, and spirit that needs nurturing in a multifaceted way.”

On top of all this hard work, Anne is also a mother, and says her Waldorf Education has even influenced her parenting style.

“I paint, sing, dance, take walks and pick up sticks, acorns, and rocks with my three year old. I made a felted wool mobile for her nursery before she was born. I, just last week, knitted her a sweater and plan to make a matching one for her little sister.  We baked bread together a few weeks ago, and at Christmas one of her presents was a child-size broom/mop/dust pan set so she could help with chores around the house.”

And, as one might expect, it has changed her vision for what she wants her children to experience both out in the larger world and in their own educational experiences.  

“I want them to remain children for as long as possible and learn more through their play than through a formal book learning education.  If everyone in the world could see the beauty in acorns and rocks, knit, sew, paint, draw, and play the recorder, what a beautiful world we would live in! I so wish I lived in Northeast Ohio and could send my children to my alma mater so I could be a Spring Garden parent too!”

We wish that too Anne! But it sounds like DC needs you. Thank you to Anne for sharing her wonderful alumni journey with us and if you are, or know, an alumni we can feature here on the blog, please email Amy Hecky at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *