Garden and farm work, nature exploration and creative outdoor foster healthy physical development and nurture strong bonds with the natural world. It is this exposure in their early lives that will set the foundation for their future relationship to the Earth, a stewardship complete with reverence for the simple but true, an awareness for the interdependence of all natural systems, and an active responsibility for a balanced existence in the world.
Sustainable Whole Systems Practical Arts
We introduce our students to simple, ethical, and balanced energy-efficient living through permaculture with gardens, greenhouses and animals. We provide a healthy, living, green environment in which the children learn responsibility for their basic needs – namely, food, shelter, and clothing - through hands-on experience working within the interdependent relationships of the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms.
Farm to Table - Animal to Clothing – Mineral to Metal Work – Wild Harvesting to Woodworking and Nature Crafting
A great benefit derived from the farm and nature element of the site is the endless opportunity for working with the vibrant natural materials we will be producing and collecting. From preparing meals with our vegetables and animal products to nature crafting with herbs to make soap, essential oils, and toys, our students will benefit from the nourishing sensory-integration opportunities of such fresh resources.
Our fiber arts offering which demonstrates a whole system practice of caring for our angora fiber producing goats and rabbits, to shearing, cleaning, and processing the wool, to dying, spinning and weaving it into practical artistic creations is an important life experience. Current neuroscience recognizes how extensive fine motor experience conducted in a repetitive, rhythmical manner is incredibly beneficial to the myelination of brain passageways.
“Nimble fingers make nimble thoughts” --Rudolf Steiner.
About Waldorf Education
The Mountain School is part of a growing international movement arising from the philosophy and methods of Rudolf Steiner who founded the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany in l9l9. In addition to innovative education, Steiner’s insights have also lead to new approaches in medicine, architecture, fine arts, economics, and agriculture.
Waldorf education is designed to address the whole child: the head, the heart and the hands. It stimulates the mind with a full spectrum of traditional academic subjects; it nurtures healthy emotional development by conveying information experientially as well as academically; and it teaches the hands to be valued members of the child’s being through a broad range of artistic and physical activities that promote creative expression and serving others.
Waldorf education emphasizes respect, wonder for nature, and reverence for human existence.Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of vast amounts of information; rather, learning is an engaging voyage of discovery, both of the world and of oneself. Because it touches children on many levels, they remember more easily what they have learned.
Each Waldorf school is independent, but all share a core curriculum, methods and beliefs, including the idea that a fulfilled and creative life involves considerably more than mental development or the ability to earn a living. Every child also needs the balance provided by the strong and healthy development of the will (an ability to get things done) and of the feeling life (emotions, aesthetics, and social sensitivity).
The Mountain School offers an educational experience based upon the principals of anthroposophy.Anthroposophy is a rigorous science of the spirit, initially developed and practiced by Rudolf Steiner. One continually investigates the history and destiny of both the Human Being and the World. Out of this understanding of the Human Being, a sound, ever-evolving pedagogy arises for educating the young. Through the study of anthroposophy by freely acting and independently responsible teachers, parents, and other community members, an environment is created that provides children with an education that furthers the likelihood that each will be able to discover, and functionally fulfill, his or her own self-determined destiny.
You and Your Child
Parents want to know what they can do to support their children’s schooling. In this section are suggestions that will help you become an active participant in the education of your child and to work in harmony with the education brought to them at school. Reverence is an essential factor in the development of a rich and healthy inner life. The child's sense of beauty and reverence is enhanced by a consistent rhythm of activities brought daily, weekly, and seasonally both in and out of school.
Daily and Weekly Rhythms
Close to the heart of Waldorf education is an understanding that a consistent, predictable daily rhythm of regular meal and bed times is essential for the health and well being of the child.
Children crave harmony in their immediate environment; it is important for them to know what to expect. Parents can make meals and bedtime into meaningful and enjoyable experiences, bringing richness and goodness to life, by developing rituals around these simple rhythms.
These rituals not only bring order to the child’s life, but they also bring deeper meaning to the family experience, giving parents and children special times to unite.
A regular bedtime that allows for adequate sleep is vital for a successful school experience.
What children receive at school and during their waking hours is taken into their sleep life and integrated deeply into their being. It is recommended that young children receive 11 to 12 hours of sleep each night and older children 10 to 11 hours. Late weekend nights disrupt the sleep rhythm and may adversely affect schoolwork during the week. Bedtime might include a warm bath; a warm towel and pajamas are very soothing. For the young child a candle may be lit during the bedtime story and then a lullaby sung. Going over the child's good deeds of the day and saying an evening verse gives children a feeling of lasting security and inner well-being before going to sleep. Family meals are special times for the family to come together each day. A blessing said or sung before the meal teaches reverence and gratitude. A candle lighted on a well set table adds a special touch.
A weekly rhythm can also be incorporated into family life. Household chores, projects, and family outings can be scheduled for particular days of the week. These traditions bring the family together and give children something to look forward to each week.
Warmth and the Growing Child
Growing children need both physical and emotional warmth in order for them to develop in a healthy way. They come fully into life when they are showered with love and kept physically warm. Because children do not fully develop the sense of warmth until about 10 years of age, it is important that parents make sure their children are dressed warmly. Two or three layers of lightweight clothing made from natural materials is more effective that one heavy sweater. The weather and temperature can change dramatically in the course of the school day, and layers can be removed or added when needed.
Observing and becoming aware of nature and of the changing seasons help to convey to children a since of wonder and reverence for the world around them. Creating a seasonal table at home, like the ones we have in the classrooms, is a wonderful way to bring the beauty of nature and an awareness of the seasons to your children. These tables reflect a picture of nature and are transformed as the seasons change. Your child will enjoy collecting treasures from nature and helping to create one of these special tables. We can also reaffirm our connection to nature, and come closer together as a community, through the celebration of seasonal festivals
Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, gardens, food production and nutrition. Biodynamics was first developed in the early 1920s based on the spiritual insights and practical suggestions of the Austrian writer, educator and social activist Dr. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), whose philosophy is called “anthroposophy.” Today, the biodynamic movement encompasses thousands of successful gardens, farms, vineyards and agricultural operations of all kinds and sizes on all continents, in a wide variety of ecological and economic settings.
Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Preparations made from fermented manure, minerals and herbs are used to help restore and harmonize the vital life forces of the farm and to enhance the nutrition, quality and flavor of the food being raised. Biodynamic practitioners also recognize and strive to work in cooperation with the subtle influences of the wider cosmos on soil, plant and animal health.
Most biodynamic initiatives seek to embody triple bottom line approaches (ecological, social and economic sustainability), taking inspiration from Steiner’s insights into social and economic life as well as agriculture. Community supported agriculture, for example, was pioneered by biodynamic farmers, and many biodynamic practitioners work in creative partnerships with other farms and with schools, medical and wellness facilities, restaurants, hotels, homes for social therapy and other organizations. Biodynamics is thus not just a holistic agricultural system but also a potent movement for new thinking and practices in all aspects of life connected to food and agriculture.