A Place Where Your Child will be Truly Known
In this uncertain time, we know one thing that will never change: parents want their children in a warm and nurturing environment where their child is truly known.
One of the underlying values of Waldorf Education is that our humanity is built on and dependent upon relationships. Although we miss our students terribly during this time, Waldorf schools are uniquely positioned to continue to provide sustained connection and learning even while we must be separated physically. We can accomplish this with a judicial amount of technology and a great deal of flexibility, creativity, and caring.
Strengths of the Waldorf Pedagogy for Our Time
Project-based learning is a tenant of Waldorf Education. Teachers are employing this approach to a greater degree while our students are learning from home. 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. Teachers are creating lessons to meet and support student engagement from home.
Early Childhood Teachers are coaching and supporting parents in providing daily and weekly rhythms at home and providing them with the building blocks of stories, songs, craft ideas, physical movement exercises and of course suggesting plenty of play time out in nature. Early childhood students build an early literacy foundation through strengthening their physical skills and listening to stories with rich language and gain early numeracy through practical activities such as setting the table or learning to finger knit or jump rope. Our teachers are helping to guide all of these activities from afar by providing parents with the resources they need.
Multi-year relationships. 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. For learning, this means when we return to campus, the teacher will have the autonomy of reviewing academic subjects that my need to be re-enforced after a period of being out of the classroom. Waldorf pedagogy is integrated: the arc of learning is considered in addition to specific academic skills. Since the teacher stays with their class, this arc can continue seamlessly.
Small class size. Our smaller class size lends itself to more personal attention from teachers, not only when classes meet in person, but even more so when teachers are meeting the needs of their students from afar. In all of our classes, teachers are now engaged in regular check ins via phone or e-mail. In the grade school, some class meetings are held via videoconference and the middle school is utilizing Google Classroom to help facilitate learning at home.
Learning without Testing
Our students are eager to learn for the sake of learning rather than focusing test scores. Our teachers rely on observation and their relationship to the student as the foundation for assessment. At a time filled with uncertainty and anxiety for many, we do not have to burden students with tests.
Why Choose an Independent School?
The term “independent school” refers to a private school that 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.
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 elementary and 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. Choose HVWS if you seek the best educational fit for your child in Connecticut, including Newtown, Bethel, Danbury, as well as Westchester County, New York.
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.”