The Housatonic Valley Waldorf School is a place where your child will be truly known.
Why Choose an Independent School?
The term “independent school” implies a separation from the policies, curriculum, expectations, and obligations that are found in the state-mandated schools. An independent school may be the right choice for families who seek a specific philosophy of education, freedom from a certain framework of instruction and testing, and a more intimate environment. If you think this is a pathway for your family, you may wish to read the following essay by the Director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, Doug Lyons.
Your Child’s School Is Important
Why Choose HVWS?
When deciding which school will provide the best educational fit for your child, we suggest you start by imagining the characteristics you hope your child will possess as an adult. What types of skills will help them best succeed? What moral characteristics are most important to you? Do you want your child to:
- be flexible and adapt to a changing world;
- recognize the value in all persons and the natural world;
- treat all with respect;
- be comfortable in his or her body and move with strength, coordination, and confidence;
- have a creative and discerning mind;
- be able to solve problems and explain the process?
The families in our supportive, vibrant community all share a desire to provide their children with an education that will make a lasting difference in their lives. From preschool through middle school our students travel from fairy tales to Shakespeare, from dreamy watercolor painting to the precision and exactness of geometry, from the wonder of nature to botany, chemistry, physics, and physiology. Academic achievements are entwined with an ever-increasing self and social awareness as our students’ capacities unfold and are encouraged in a developmentally appropriate manner, in a safe and reverent environment.
Points to Consider
Cornerstones of the Waldorf approach include teaching through the arts; working from experience to concept; use of rhythm and repetition; teaching from the whole to parts. Early childhood students build an early literacy foundation through strengthening their physical skills and listening to stories with rich language and they gain early numeracy through practical activities such as setting the table or learning to finger knit or jump rope. In the grades, discoveries made through careful observation of an experiment lead to an understanding of scientific laws and phenomena. Students might study a history block through an inventive game designed by their teacher. We do not use textbooks, however as the students study a subject in depth they create their own Main Lesson Books, handwritten and illustrated. (Link to Early Childhood and link to Grade School)
Our teachers develop multi-year relationships with our students and their parents. In our mixed-aged kindergartens, a student might work with the same teacher for up four years. In the grade school, the class teacher generally stays with a class from 1st through 8th grade. For the teacher, this means time to really get to know the children and help their gifts unfold. For the students, this relationship offers stability and guidance.
Learning without Testing
Our students are eager to learn for the sake of learning rather than focusing test scores. Teachers do not assign homework in earnest until 5th grade and letter grades do not appear until 7th grade. We do not administer standardized tests. Our teachers rely on observation as the foundation for assessment. In addition to written reports sent home after two parent-teacher conferences each year, each student receives a lengthy written assessment at the end of the year.
What Parents are Saying
“The nurturing environment of the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School early childhood program provides plenty of opportunity for learning and social engagement through exploration, creative play, and meaningful work. We believe Waldorf reflects so many of the same values that we have as a family.”
The one really poignant comment Becky [an alumna] made was when she said she was so surprised upon entering high school to see that all the subjects were separated (not integrated). And, of course, I learned it the opposite. I had no idea History had anything to do with Science. I had never thought of it any other way.
“It is my sincere belief that a child cannot be open to fully learning the facts and figures until he or she feels seen, heard and understood. Waldorf is structured to provide that experience for our children.”