Students in Waldorf schools will ideally have the same main lesson teacher for first through eighth grade. The one teacher approach to elementary, intermediate and middle school helps children learn by respecting and modeling authority figures. Keeping the class teacher (by no means the child’s only teacher) as a steady authority in a child’s life is beneficial to social and intellectual learning.
Class teachers also have time to learn children’s gifts and challenges and are able to serve as the child’s true learning advocate by consulting with subject teachers and parents about learning styles and techniques that suit individual children and/or work well for the class as a whole.
Here is Spring Garden Waldorf Parent, Tyra Scott’s, experience with our one teacher approach.
- A snow pass for every Saturday from 9am to 1pm
- Five lessons for any level
- And four pick a day/club passes good for any day, any time at Boston Mills, Brandywine, Alpine Valley, or even a snow tubing session.
These passes can be used by the member or anyone they choose to give it to!
Use our easy online registration – 3 easy steps:
- Just go to this link: https://www.skipeakresorts.com/ShopBMBW/ClubHome.aspx
- Our login is: springgarden and our password is: in your email box in the ski club email (or email Michael West).
- Follow the instructions provided.
- We are tax exempt and you don’t pay online — just drop your check payable to Spring Garden in my Michael West’s folder.
See you on the slopes!
Our own Aramay Moss spent the summer in NYC on scholarship to Barnard College’s early college program. She spent four weeks living in the big apple, taking classes at Barnard, and getting some amazing references from her teachers for college applications.
“Aramay was one of the strongest writers in the class and it was a pleasure to read her work throughout the course. When it came to class discussion, Aramay distinguished herself as a class leader in both examination of outside reading and peer work.” – Instructor, Jill Di Donato
Now Ms. Moss is doing the post secondary program at Akron University as a Firestone High School Junior — taking all college classes and getting joint credit.
On November 19th, Spring Garden’s current Grade Six teacher, Michael Gannon, hosted a lecture titled Child Development 101. During this Coffee and Conversation, he explored the Waldorf perspective on child development through the different classes and ages.
According to Gannon, “Waldorf education strives to see the child for where they are, right now, understand how they are developing, and then work to support that in the classroom.”
Gannon began by explaining Rudolph Steiner’s understanding of child development, which was very forward thinking at his time. A contemporary of Freud and Piaget, Steiner’s training as a philosopher inspired him to look beyond brain development and into the corresponding realms of the social, physical, and spiritual development.
He felt a child’s development was an Epigenesis — a cognitive, social, spiritual, and physical process through distinct stages– leading to a differentiated state of adulthood based on how these elements were influenced. And, of course, one of the primary influences is education.
Steiner divided child development into three distinct stages and labeled them based on the primary force driving a child’s experience in the world. Ages 0-7 are defined by Will, ages 7-14 by Feeling, and ages 14-21 by Thinking. Through each phase, the child works to understand and eventually utilize these forces.
Every action of an infant is done from their own will — a will that strives to survive, to crawl, to walk — all with little to no encouragement from the outside world. This intense desire to do their will continues far beyond infancy. According to Gannon, before the age seven, the child works from instinct converted into impulse and desire, which can then be harnessed into learning and behavior.
That is why, ideally, children during this stage spend as much time as possible learning to master the use of their bodies. It is best for them to do this on a schedule, using their will in a constructive way, as opposed to being told to subdue their will for a specific task. Imitation of the behaviors they see is a natural process for children of this age, and providing healthy models for that imitation, without intellectual explanation, allows the will to develop more fully.
This is also why the day moves between work and play in Waldorf early childhood classes. The work, a channeling of the young child’s will, happens through imitation of meaningful tasks versus an authoritative coercion to understand concepts. At this stage, children will develop their physical, cognitive, and social skills from unstructured play as their will and desire runs up against the forces of the outside world.
After age seven, a child’s world expands beyond the self, and with this expansion, they develop a great subtlety of feeling. Gannon explains that children’s feelings dominate their world in this stage as they move between joy and sadness and learn to manage these different emotions within the greater, more expansive world now open to them.
The healthy feeling life of the child is supported by providing a context of beauty for all things, from simple movements to complex ideas. By appealing to their natural imaginative capacities, children can be encouraged to use these active feelings to connect to learning as a process.
It is at this time that children are ready for academic instruction, as long as it continues to appeal to social and physical realms and, even more so, the realm of feeling. This is why Waldorf grade school lessons are taught through engaging stories of trial and triumph. Children who sympathize and relate to a story in these years are moved to carry the information and process it in a deep and meaningful way that persists as they grow into a more conceptual and thinking way of being.
By the time they reach high school, children are ready to work with their thoughts and beliefs. They are ready to think critically and evaluate the world around them. Where they first learned to manage their will and then work with their feelings, they now learn to work with their thoughts.
According to Gannon, children at this stage become immersed in the world of ideas and have the capacity to think abstractly and critically, seeing both sides of a story, which can then be broken down and criticized. Steiner believed that, along with their search for knowledge, children at this age also search for truth as they work to make their lives their own. He believed that teaching through a sense of idealism and justice was essential for the health of the young adult, who, if not given role models of hope, would succumb to cynicism.
This is why older children in Waldorf Education are often engaged in service to their community and encouraged to contribute their gifts to the world in a meaningful way.
It is with this understanding of child development that Waldorf educators work to support and teach children. Incorporating and addressing these stages of development, every day and within every subject, allows Waldorf schools to educate the whole child by teaching
the right subject matter at the right time, in the right way.
Girls: Intermediate D2/D3 Purple
Sat. 12/6 6p.m. @ Holy Family (Stow)
Sun. 12/7 2 p.m. @ Walsh 2
Sun. 12/14 4p.m. @ Hoban 2
Sun. 12/21 3p.m. @ Hoban 2
Sun. 1/4 4p.m. @ Walsh 1
Sat. 1/10 1p.m. @ St. Paul (Akron)
Sun. 1/11 1p.m. @ Our Lady of Elms
Sun. 1/18 3p.m. @ Hoban 2
Sun. 1/25 3p.m. @ Hoban 2
Sun. 2/1 3p.m. @ Our Lady of Elms
Boys: Intermediate D2 Green
Sun. 12/7 3p.m. @ St.V/St.M James Gym
Sat. 12/13 9a.m.@ Emmanuel Christian Academy/House of Lord
Sun. 12/14 6p.m.@ Walsh 1
Sun. 12/21 6p.m. @ Hoban 1
Sat. 1/3 9a.m. @ Emmanuel Christian Academy/House of Lord
Sun. 1/11 4p.m. @ Walsh 1
Sun. 1/18 5p.m. @ Hoban 1
Sat. 1/24 10a.m. @ Emmanuel Christian Academy/House of Lord
Sun. 1/25 4p.m. @ St. Barnabas-Northfield
Sun. 2/1 4p.m. @ Holy Family (Stow)
By: Spring Garden Waldorf Parent, Abby Boyce
Becoming a parent directs you into a world of decisions and doubts. You wish the best for your child and desire the path that will create a happy, healthy, and successful individual. The onslaught of decisions come swaddled up next to your new infant: breastfeed or formula, cloth diapers or disposable, co-sleeping or cry it out, stay at home or continue in your career. The decisions then mature into discipline measures, childcare, methods of potty training, and preschools. Unfortunately, the decisions are often shackled with the heavy load of self-doubt. It is natural to want to do the “right” thing for your child(ren), but the parent certificate of affirmation never seems to arrive to put your mind at ease. Fortunately, we have received some of such coveted affirmation by making the decision to have our children attend Spring Garden Waldorf School.
Spring Garden Waldorf School is an accredited Waldorf school in Copley, OH. The Waldorf education movement was started in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919 by Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Rudolf Steiner aimed to create an independent educational experience where children emerged as creative, responsible, and free-thinking individuals. His methodology has been implemented in over 600 Waldorf schools in 32 countries, and we are blessed to have one of these schools in Northeast Ohio.
The greatest gift of Waldorf education is the preservation of childhood. The curriculum educates the whole child, addressing the intellectual, social, and creative development of the student. The curriculum is rich and engaging, mindfully presenting material in diverse and fun ways, so that the child is absorbing knowledge without even realizing it. For example, math is taught with stories, creating geometric shapes while learning multiplication tables, or throwing bean bags. Art, Music, Physical Education, Foreign Language, and Handwork are essential arms complementing the traditional Language Arts and Mathematics. They are not viewed as unnecessary electives, but rather crucial to fueling our children’s humanity, as well as their intellect. The children are also taken outdoors three times daily, and encouraged to run, jump, and play. They are given the opportunity to experiment with and manipulate natural materials, such as sticks, stumps, and mud. They are immersed in the changing of the seasons through their experience outdoors, as well as festivals that mark the passage of time. In this way, the Waldorf philosophy emphasizes respect and reverence for human existence and the natural world.
Many aspects of Waldorf philosophy are in stark contrast to our traditional educational system today. Academics are not started in Waldorf education until age 7 or first grade. The education is devoid of monotony, pressure, all-consuming testing, and overwhelming homework. Computers are absent from the classrooms. In fact, watching television, computer, or gaming screens of any kind is discouraged, as it is thought to actually change the brain’s development in young children. Children who watch hours of TV need entertained more and are less able to empathize, to recognize emotions in others. Furthermore, frequent viewers are victimized by the relentless advertisements pervading children’s programming, whose sole purpose is to create “cradle to grave” consumers out of our children. The main lesson teacher actually moves through first to eighth grade with the class. It allows the teacher to really know each student and create a unique bond with each student and family, as well as providing continuity from year to year. The teacher is unable to evade problem behaviors or situations, but must create solutions for each student within the realm of his/her classroom. Attempts are made to address many personalities and learning styles, so that each child can feel some sense of success and confidence.
My children view the world around them with unadulterated wonder and curiosity. They are engaged, and they love school. In fact, last summer, when they were on vacation for a short two weeks, they were asking me “When do we get to go back to school?” These moments, in addition to many others, solidify for me that we made the “right” decision. I realize we have many decisions and situations to maneuver ahead of us, involving driving, the internet, curfews, and colleges. However, Waldorf education is helping us parent our children into happy, healthy, and successful individuals. If it sounds like the right decision for your child(ren) and family, please learn more at http://sgws.org.
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