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.
It is an education that emphasizes wonder in nature, respect for our resources and reverence for human existence. Learning becomes much more than the acquisition of information; rather, an engaging voyage of discovery, both of the world and of oneself.
Each Waldorf school is independent, but all share a core curriculum, methods and beliefs.
Parenting Wisdom : 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 our 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 that 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.
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, that 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.