One of the unique aspects of Waldorf Education is that teachers stay with classes or groups of children over a period of years. The benefit of this model is that it provides stability and a sense of security for students. In Grades 1-8 the class teacher will typically stay with his or her class for all or most of those eight years. In some school systems, middle school students are separated from the rest of the student population. Middle school can be a very challenging developmental period for young people and some studies are showing that students in the middle school grades benefit from being in a safe a familiar environment. Read more here from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
In recent years there has been a push to introduce academics into Kindergarten and pre-Kindergarten. This is a trend that has alarmed developmental psychologists and educators because it is not grounded in an understanding of child development and how children learn. The young child, before the age of six, learns by doing and by imitation. They are not developmentally ready for didactic instruction and using their memory for abstract learning. Calling on these faculties before they are ready to be called upon can be damaging to children’s development and blunt their natural love of learning if they are forced into abstract learning at too young an age. Before the age of six children should be exercising and preparing their capacities through imaginative play, socialization, and imitation. Through play, children learn to interact with their peers and to engage in developmentally appropriate problem solving. The songs and games of the early childhood classroom lay the groundwork for the development of reading and writing in the grades. Through imitation of activities that are necessary in the life of the classroom such as baking bread for snack time, or raking leaves in the play yard children learn skills without the need for didactic, abstract instruction. Young children take joy in all of these activities. Read more about the importance of developmentally appropriate early childhood education from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
We learn through making mistakes, missteps and failures. A supportive educational environment provides a safe place for students to make mistakes and learn from them. For example, all of our students participate in fine arts and courses that we call practical arts such as woodworking or handwork (where students learn to knit and sew amongst other skills). In all artistic endeavors, students are faced with artistic or technical problems or challenges that they need to overcome. Often the process of completing a project in any of these disciplines will involved mistakes that result in a new problem or challenge that the student will have to address. This is the nature of working with visual or practical arts and it exercises the students ability to try, make mistakes, adjust, and move on. In academic work, our teachers strive to create an environment and culture in the classroom where students can make mistakes as part of normal learning process, instead of feeling shame. One of our parents remarked that when they visited one of our classrooms as a prospective parent they observed a math class and students were asked to share their answers to a problem and he was impressed with how many students eagerly offered to share their answers—there was no sense of fear about potentially being wrong. We also don’t give letter grades until high school. We believe that this helps to foster a love of learning for learning’s sake in our students and helps them to learn to see making mistakes not as an end but as part of a process of learning. Read more about the value of making mistakes in learning from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Kimberton Waldorf School is blessed with a beautiful organic school garden, and to be surrounded by an organic and biodynamic dairy farm and CSA. Through direct experience and courses and through the environment of stewardship that is created by these activities that surround and imbue our school our students develop a deep appreciation for the earth and what it takes to grow good, healthful food. Our youngest children often take walks to the school garden or to the farm to see the work that is being done there. In 3rd grade our students study farming and have a “farm week” when they spend an overnight and get up early to help the farmers milk the cows. In 3rd grade our students also being having gardening classes which will continue into high school. They learn how to plant and harvest vegetables, to prune fruit trees, and to preserve foods. They will even eat some of the fruits of their labors in our organic hot lunch program which we call Food For Thought. Apples from our apple trees are made into applesauce. Vegetables go into our salads or soups. Why is this important for students? We believe that it is important for young people to understand what is involved in growing healthful food and to understand what stewardship for the earth means. In the future, they will be the people making decisions about food stewardship and food production and those decision need to be grounded in experience. In addition, the students are have an enriching experience in nature which has many benefits for their own health and development. Read more here about the benefits of farming in education from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
The benefits for children’s learning and development from spending time outdoors has been well researched over recent years. At KWS, helping our students to develop an appreciation for the natural world has always been one of our key values, and outdoor education has been a long standing component of our curriculum and program. Children in our Early Childhood program spend a good part of their day outdoors engaged in creative play and exploration of nature. In grades 1-8 our students are able to have experiential nature study by spending time in our woods and along our creeks, learning how to grow good healthful food in our organic school garden and learning about farming on our organic dairy farm. They also have two outdoor recess periods per day on our green campus. When it snows, they get to sled on “Shouting Hill” which is adjacent to one of our outdoor recess areas. Many of our grades classes start taking camping trips and will often take a weeklong trip with one of the outdoor education guiding companies that we partner with. In high school the experiential study of the life sciences are often supplemented with trips to locations like Hermit Island on the coast of Maine to study marine biology, or backpacking on trails in the Appalachians in connection with geology. In addition to the health giving benefits of being in nature, these experiences help our students develop a love and appreciation for the natural world and foster a sense of stewardship. Read more here about the importance of outdoor education from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Our students at KWS have the benefit of learning a foreign language. We start teaching languages in 1st grade and our students in grades 1-6 learn two languages: Spanish and German. I grade 7 our students choose one of those languages to focus on through grade 12. We offer an international exchange program in high school were our students can study for a semester at a Waldorf school in a German or Spanish speaking country. Language study helps our students become more flexible in their thinking and it exposes them to other cultures, helping them to feel that they are a global citizen. Read more here about the importance of learning a second language from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Adolescents are in a special and unique place in their development. They are leaving childhood and on the verge on entering adulthood when they will engage with the world. With the burgeoning of critical and analytical thinking in high school and powerful emotions adolescents have strong ideals and need to feel that they can have an impact. In recent years social justice has become an important part of our national conversation and educators across the spectrum are looking at incorporating social justice in their school curriculum, and our high school teachers at Kimberton are doing the same through service projects, courses, and special events. Read more here about high school students and social advocacy from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Community Service is an important aspect of the education at KWS. We think it is important for our students to have experiences to give back to their local community and to learn the value of volunteering. Our older middle school students and high school students have a variety of opportunities for community service, including practicum weeks in high school, required community service hours in high school, and a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Read here to learn more about the value of community service for students from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
An important feature of the education at Kimberton Waldorf School is our emphasis on experiential education. Experiential education has become a bit of a buzzword in the educational world, but at KWS we really live it. Our approach to academic subjects is to start with experience and then through discussion and questions, to help the students discover concepts. We teach them to think like a scientist, an historian, a mathematician. We also have built into our curriculum an incredibly rich experiential program that includes many hands on courses such as handwork, woodwork, metalwork, and gardening. In the our high school our students have practicum courses each year that get them outside of school and learning in the community around us. Our high schoolers also take week long class trips each year that are connected to particular academic subjects in the sciences and humanities. Read more here about experiential education in Waldorf schools from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Students at Kimberton Waldorf School are fortunate to experience and education that fosters their creativity through artistic coursework but also through an approach to academics that focuses on providing experiences and discussions for students so that they can discover concepts rather than being spoon-fed concepts. Both of these elements of Waldorf Education help our students to be independent thinkers and exercises their creative capacities. In a survey of CEOs of top US Corporations, creativity was considered the number one capacity needed for future leaders. Read more here about creativity and divergent thinking in education from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Kimberton Waldorf School is committed to promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our curriculum and our school. The Board of Trustees and our Governing Team have supported a Diversity Committee and our teachers have been working to address systemic racism in our curriculum. In on-going conversation in our faculty meetings and in our inservice meetings our faculty and staff have been discussing ways to incorporate more diversity and inclusion in our curriculum and teaching practices. Some of our faculty and staff have attended workshops and courses and have been sharing the fruits of what they learned. We are incorporating more diversity in our library collection. We have also formed reading groups on recent publications about strengthening anti-racism. This is ongoing, challenging, and important work for all schools including KWS. Read more here about DEI in Waldorf schools from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
At Kimberton Waldorf School students in grades 1-5 typically participate in a subject that is unique to Waldorf schools: Form Drawing. Form drawing can be described as freehand drawing of patterns (often repeating forms) that introduces form and movement to our students. The practice of form drawing helps the students integrate developmental reflexes, develops fine and gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and control of movement. Form drawing also lays the groundwork for the study of geometry and geometric drawing which is introduced in 6th grade. Learn more about form drawing in Waldorf schools here from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Kimberton Waldorf School prides itself on being a strong and close-knit community. Our curriculum and our teachers help our students develop empathy and the ability to appreciate others, and to work together in teams. Learning to sing in a chorus, play a musical instrument in an ensemble, produce a play with classmates, work on a group project for a class assignment, or cook meals together on a class camping trip all help our students to develop these important social skills. Learn more about the role of empathy in education here from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
At Kimberton Waldorf School the arts are integrated into the whole curriculum and often are part of the experiential approach to academic subjects as well. Research has shown that artistic activity develops important capacities such as problem-solving. Read more about the role of the arts in Waldorf Education here from the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America:
Kimberton Waldorf School is seeking a Dean of School for the 2021-22 school year. This is a full-time position and will begin on July 1st, 2021.
Kimberton Waldorf School (KWS) offers a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to education. With more than 200 students enrolled, we integrate the arts and academics from preschool through twelfth grade, seeking to inspire a lifelong love of learning. KWS uses a collaborative governance structure which includes a Board of Trustees, Dean of School, Governing Team (GT), and Core Teams for the Upper and Lower schools. The Dean reports to the Board and is mandated by the Trustees, faculty, and staff to carry the management and visionary leadership of the school. The Dean serves on and is supported by the GT which is responsible for the management of the school as a whole and oversees the Core Teams, which are responsible for management of their sections of the school.
MAJOR AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
- Oversee, coordinate, and finalize decisions in all matters concerning the day-to-day operational, administrative, and pedagogical life of the school
- Uphold the mission of KWS and lead implementation of plans to strengthen the school for future generations of students
- Lead the school with respect for each individual and a focus on equity and active incorporation of every area of the school
- Communicate effectively and frequently with faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and community partners and address concerns or issues that come to the Dean or school administration
- Provide support for and regular evaluation of staff department heads, including: Facilities, Food for Thought lunch program, Business office, Enrollment, and Development as well as oversee that the GT and Core Teams are handling performance reviews of teaching staff
- Serve as the liaison to the Board by attending monthly Board meetings, informing the Board on the operation of the school, and representing the Board to the faculty and staff
- Coordinate the annual preparation of the class schedule and teaching assignments
- Work with the business office and the Finance Committee of the Board for budget preparation, compliance, salary planning, and implementation
- Consult with the Board Chair on legal issues facing the school and engage GT members and attorneys as needed
- Collaborate with the Board and GT on strategic planning initiatives and lead regular accreditation renewal efforts
- Ensure that policies and procedures are maintained and revised as needed in line with the mission of the school
- Connect with other Waldorf schools and peer private schools on issues of enrollment, finances, and Human Resource practices as well as maintain membership in professional organizations
- Interface with community members as necessary, including the farm and community-supported agriculture (CSA) managers across the street from the school, county health department, and media outlets
Qualifications and Key Attributes:
- Demonstrated administrative and/or management skills
- Leadership, mentoring, and mediation experience
- Strong organizational skills
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to work collaboratively
- Understanding of the pedagogy at KWS and Waldorf schools
- Willingness and ability to hold others accountable and navigate confrontation
- Bachelor’s degree or higher preferred
KWS is an equal opportunity employer. Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references no later than March 25, 2021 to Board Chair Bill Wiedmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kimberton Waldorf School is seeking a First Grade class teacher for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The ideal candidate will have Waldorf class teaching experience and Waldorf training.
KWS is an ideal environment to teach the First Grade year with plenty of open space, an organic school garden, and an organic and biodynamic dairy farm.
KWS was founded in 1941 and has classes from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. We are located on 430 acres of beautiful land. Our area is a mix of rural and suburban with Philadelphia about 25 miles away.
For more information on the school visit our website: kimberton.org
Send resume and cover letter to email@example.com
KWS has an immediate opening for Kindergarten Afternoon Assistant. Additional openings for the 2021-22 school year for Assistants in our Early Childhood Program.
For more information or to send resume contact firstname.lastname@example.org
KWS is looking for part-time, hourly substitute teachers for early childhood and grades 1-12. Ideal candidates will have experience teaching in a Waldorf school, flexibility, good classroom management and rapport with students. Send resume and cover letter to email@example.com
The Class of 2020 has had wonderful college news arriving in mailboxes and inboxes! We are so proud of them.
A list of all acceptances to date follows. A number of students applied Early Decision and so were admitted to their top choice and did not apply elsewhere. Seniors had until June 1 to commit to the college of their choice. Some students are still considering a gap year, a national trend. They received nearly $600,000 in merit awards per year. Congratulations to our accomplished seniors!
- Arcadia University
- Arizona State University
- Bard College
- Bard College Berlin (*Gabriel M-Z)
- Beloit College
- Berklee School of Music *(Nate B)
- Ohio University
- Berry College
- Christopher Newport University
- Clark University (*Justin Z)
- College of Charleston
- College of the Atlantic (gap year) (*Isabel D)
- College of Wooster
- Connecticut College
- Drexel University
- Earlham College (*Ellie S)
- Lawrence University
- Edinboro University (*Hannah L)
- Elon University
- Guilford College
- Ithaca College
- Juniata College
- Kalamazoo College
- Klein School of Communications/Temple University
- McDaniel College *(Monte P)
- Millersville University
- New England Conservatory (*Anna D)
- New York Film Academy (LA Campus)
- New York University (*Lillie L)
- Slippery Rock University
- Syracuse University
- Temple University
- Temple University (College of Public Health Athletic Training BA/MS program) (*Clara A)
- Union College (*Isabella J)
- University of Harford
- University of Pennsylvania (*Safaya S)
- University of Pittsburg
- University of Pittsburgh (Swanson School of Engineering) (*Jason W)
- University of Pittsburgh, Bradford
- University of Pittsgurgh, Johnstown
- University of Tennessee (*Russell H)
- Ursinus College (*James Mc)
- Wagner College
- West Chester University
Please join us on Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:30 pm for an evening full of wisdom and insight into the Waldorf curriculum led by Gerald LoDolce, seasoned Waldorf teacher who has taught over four cycles of classes at our very own Kimberton Waldorf School. Gerry will also explore how the curriculum offers to explore other cultures and has adaptability to embrace & educate within the context of today’s cultural challenges, mindfully following up on last week’s invigorating talk by Torin Finser. There will be time for a question and answers at the end. (this info is also posted on the KWS School Calendar)
books for adults, resources & instagram accounts to follow
- How to Be an Antiracist – by Ibrahim X. Kendi
- Me and White Supremacy – by Layla F. Saad
- Any book by James Baldwin
- Such a Fun Age – by Kiley Reid
- The Mothers – by Brit Bennett
- The Vanishing Half – by Brit Bennett
- What We Lose – by Zinzi Clemmons
- The Turner House – by Angela Flournoy
- The Nickle Boys – by Colson Whitehead
- Patsy – by Nicole Dennis-Benn
- Here Comes the Sun – by Nicole Dennis-Benn
- Well-Read Black Girl Anthology- edited by Glory Edim
- Annie John – by Jamaica Kincaid
- Sister Outsider – by Audre Lorde
- Maud Martha – by Gwendolyn Brooks
- Lost in the City – by Edward P Jones
- Life on Mars -by Tracy K. Smith (United States Poet Laureate)
young adult/high school books
- The Sun is Also a Star – by Nicola Yoon
- The Poet X – by Elizabeth Acevedo
- All the Things We Never – by Liara Tamani
- Calling My Name – by Liara Tamani
- Piecing Me Together – by Renee Watson
- The Hate U Give – by Angie Thomas
- Black Enough – edited by Ibi Zoboi
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You – by Ibrahim X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
- Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People who Rose Up – by Veronica Chambers
books for middle school children
- All four books in the Track Series by Jason Reynolds (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu)
- Look Both Ways – by Jason Reynolds
- Miles Morales, Spider Man – by Jason Reynolds
- Clean Getaway – by Nic Stone
- Clayton Byrd Goes Underground – by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Ways To Make Sunshine – by Renee Watson
- Planet Middle School – by Nikki Grimes
- Words With Wings – by Nikki Grimes
- The Jada Jones series of books – by Kelly Starling Lyons
- Big Ideas for Young Thinkers – by Jamia Wilson
- Step Into Your Power – by Jamia Wilson
- Young, Gifted, and Black – by Jamia Wilson
storybooks for young children
- Little Red Riding Hood – by Jerry Pinkney
- The Talking Eggs – by Jerry Pinkney
- Rachel Isadora fairytale storybooks…
- Rapunzel –
- Hansel and Gretel –
- The Twelve Dancing Princesses –
- The Princess and the Pea –
- The Fisherman and His Wife –
- 12 Days of Christmas
- Hair Love – by Matthew A Cherry
- Julian is a Mermaid – by Jessica Love
- Little Leaders – by Vashti Harrison
- The Day You Begin – by Jacqualine Woodson
- Any storybook by illustrator Christian Robinson (@christianrobinson)
- Rocket Say Look Up – by Nathan Bryon
- Just Like Me – by Vanessa Brantly Newton
- Mae Among the Stars – by Roda Ahmed
- Radiant Child – by Javaka Steptoe
- We Are Shining – by Gwendolyn Brooks
- Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems – by Eloise Greenfield
- He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands – by Kadir Nelson
- Trombone Shorty – by Troy Andrews
- The Colors of Us – by Karen Katz
- Bronzeville Boys and Girls – by Gwendolyn Brooks
- Her Stories – by Virginia Hamilton
- Wangari’s Trees of Peace – by Jeanette Winter
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters – by John Steptoe
- The Apple-Pip Princess – by Jane Ray
- The Story of Christmas – by Jane Ray
KWSPA hosted Torin M. Finser on July 9th
Torin has over 60 years of experience in Waldorf education as a student and learner, parent, teacher, teacher of teachers, author, Ph.D., and leader in the international Waldorf community.
“Waldorf Education for Social Justice” is his passion and the focus of much of his current work. He emphasizes the need for schools to connect with the current issues dividing our society: political polarization, racism, income inequality, immigration, nationalism, and religious fundamentalism to name a few. Focus on these problems at the educational level can be transformative and put power in the hands of the community to address their immediate concerns, seek out new ways for the field to change and adapt in the future. But external advocacy needs to be balanced with opportunities for introspection as well, which Waldorf education also beautifully teaches our children.
Please take a moment to become familiar with Torin and his work. His extensive bio and the books he has authored are linked below. We’ve also attached a link to recent and powerful articles to read in preparation. There will be a small window for discussion and a few questions. Please take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to engage with change.
The Future of Waldorf Education: Beyond 100 https://www.waldorftoday.com/2019/09/the-future-of-waldorf-education-beyond-100/
Beyond 100: A return to the social justice roots of Waldorf Education https://www.antioch.edu/new-england/2019/04/19/beyond-100-a-return-to-the-social-justice-roots-of-waldorf-education/
Thurs, Jun 25, 7:30p (see community email for link)
We would like to thank all those who participated on June 25 in the first of a series of Social Justice discussions through the KWS Parent Association. Many thanks to Mari Avicolli for hosting. We’re proud to say it was our largest Parent Association gathering thus far! This anti-racist self-reflection work is not easy or comfortable, and we acknowledge the courage it takes each individual to look within for evidence of racism or bias. This is the only way forward to a peaceful and socially just world, which is one of the core principles of our school.
Mari Avicolli is an alumna who returned to KWS to teach in 2015. Prior to that, she earned her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State with a focus in cross-cultural communication. From 2017-2019 she served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. While there, she led diversity trainings for PCVs and host country nationals in an effort to help everyone be seen and feel playing in the orchestra for the musical, assisting on the Odyssey, or roasting coffee and talking about Ethopia with the 7th and 8th grades.
We are grateful to Mari for initiating the conversation about anti-racism with our community, and during this discussion she will share an overview of…
white fragility – cultural appropriation – how to raise anti-racist children – intersectionality
Some KWS high school students have participated in BLM protests in Philadelphia, Phoenixville, and West Chester. Pictured above at 38th and Market Street.
Resources for Talking about Race and Making Positive Change
Kimberton Waldorf School is deeply saddened by recent tragic events of racial injustice. We support work in the world that aims to break down systemic forms of racism. We wish to express our sorrow for all people of color who are and have been subjected to injustice and racial discrimination. Diversity and inclusion are important values of our school community, and we honor the inherent dignity of all human beings.
21st century skills are more important now than ever as employers seek diverse thinkers who are knowledgeable in a wide range of fields and who are able to creatively solve problems.
Competencies commonly associated with 21st century skills include critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, perseverance, self-direction, collaboration and teamwork. The rapidly changing world requires students to be equipped with cross-disciplinary skills in order to be successful in furthering their education and to meet the challenges in the workplace.
For almost 80 years, Kimberton Waldorf School has been providing a multimodality, integrated education with a curriculum based on the developmental needs of the child, validated in scientific research. Our unique approach to education utilizes movement, music, arts, and handwork to strengthen academics and help develop motor skills, focus, perseverance, creativity, and critical thinking.
Emphasis on the breadth of skills and opportunities that we value in childhood and in adulthood provides a reminder that education needs to be designed to produce holistically developed learners who are well-equipped to navigate the challenges of life in the 21st century.
Studies demonstrate that the arts develop neural systems that produce a broad spectrum of benefits ranging from fine motor skills to creativity and improved emotional balance – the driving force behind all other learning.
Creativity is nurtured as students learn to approach tasks from different perspectives and to think “outside the box.” Artistic creations are the result of problem solving. Students’ typically ask themselves: How do I form this clay into a sculpture? How do I step into my role in the play? How will my character react in this situation? How am I going to learn this piece of music?
Movement activities in younger grades, such as circle time, handwork, string games, or playing on a balance board may appear as simple play in the classroom are actually promoting growth toward skills acquisition. The same regions of the brain responsible for movement are also involved in higher level thinking such as problem solving, creating, designing, and anticipating outcomes.
Observational learning is another key component in skills acquisition. When students contemplate a phenomenon with deep curiosity, they are able to hypothesize potential outcomes before testing for the actual answer. Divergent, creative thinking occurs, which is essential for innovation and solving problems.
The goal of Waldorf education and the curriculum at KWS is to provide students with opportunities and training to become autonomous, creative thinkers with the ability to accelerate their ideas into actions. An education that asks students to develop the capacities for collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination, critical thinking, and problem solving is an education that prepares students for what lies ahead.
Read more in our article Equipping Students with Skills for Lifelong Success
Critical thinking is essential in health sciences.
Creativity leads to ideas and innovation.
Perseverance is found in entrepreneurs, lawyers, and journalists.
“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced.”
Jeffrey Goldstein, Ph.D., author and research associate at Utrecht University also says, “Play seems to have some immediate benefits, such as aerobic conditioning and fine-tuning motor skills, as well as long-term benefits that include preparing the young for the unexpected, and giving them a sense of morality. How? Learning to play successfully with others requires ‘emotional intelligence,’ the ability to understand another’s emotions and intentions.”
Click Here to Read More in “Play in Children’s Health, Development and Wellbeing.”
“Becoming” is the third film in a series of short films produced on the occasion of the centenary of Waldorf Education under the direction of the award-winning Californian documentary filmmaker Paul Zehrer, and which provide an insight into the inclusive diversity of Waldorf Education under the most diverse cultural, social, religious and economic conditions around the globe. No age has a deeper impact on the whole of life than the first years of childhood. “During those first seven years, children develop their bodily foundation for life. They explore and experience the world with their senses and through meeting the other. These early encounters in life have a deep influence and long-lasting effect on the making of their own being,” says Clara Aerts, coordinating member of IASWECE and co-producer of the film, which was shot in the USA, Israel, Japan, India, South Africa, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Germany. “The experiences that we make possible—or withhold—for our children at this age form the most elementary basis for their further lives and thus ultimately for the future of humanity.”
Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. They integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf Education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.
To learn more watch this video produced for the 100th Anniversary of Waldorf education.
Wonderful college news has been arriving in mailboxes and inboxes! Congratulations to our accomplished seniors!
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
We are not an art school but every senior at KWS paints a self portrait. This not only represents the culmination of the Waldorf painting curriculum, but requires students to engage with the deep questions of identity: “Who am I?”, “How am I seen?” and, most importantly, “What is my place in the world?”
In high school, a new questioning about life and the personal search for truth and self-knowledge emerges and students are ready to confront good and evil, questions of destiny, evolution, and identity. Through the self-portrait project students are challenged to really look at themselves closely to create a physical likeness but to also look deeply at who they are in this world.
Our high school curriculum encourages students to look at themselves, reflect back on their lives and go out into the world and contribute to it from the sense of who they are.
When students graduate from Kimberton Waldorf School, they leave with not only a strong academic foundation but with a sense of who they are, the ability to think for themselves, and the confidence in their capacity to learn and do whatever they put their minds to.
“The senior portrait class represents the culmination of the Waldorf painting curriculum, making use of all the years that come before it in the pursuit of a meaningful piece of art that students and their families can take with them and cherish for years beyond graduation. Pulling from drawing tools introduced and sharpened in 9th grade, painting technique developed in 10th grade, and color theory explored in 11th grade, seniors work for about two months to produce a self portrait that expresses their inner spirit coming into harmony with the external realities of their body.
“The potential for such a portrait is boundless, and seniors are often at first a little daunted. First of all, there is the hard work of really looking at themselves, of being objective and making measurements about things that often times they don’t want to dwell on. Throughout the course, students have to learn to be comfortable with how they look, and in doing so they come to understand that they themselves are beautiful despite what they think of as imperfections. The second daunting task comes in dealing with the number of choices they must make. Do they paint a realistic skin tone, or one that expresses some quality of themselves more metaphorically? Do they choose a background that puts them firmly rooted in the world, or do they paint one that uses color to make it, as we like to say in the painting room, “pop”? How do they pose for their initial photo session, which determines the basic structure of their drawing? The best way to answer these questions is always to jump right in, to do something fearlessly and know that mistakes are where the good stuff happens — learning, growing, correcting. One choice leads to another, which leads to another, and eventually the final outcome looks as if it couldn’t have been painted any other way.” – Todd Stong, KWS Painting Teacher
This is EDUCATION THAT MATTERS.
Unique to Waldorf schools, form drawing is an approach to geometry that begins with simple repetitive ribbon forms in the first grade and becomes more complex by fifth grade. Its effectiveness is realized in the process, not in the product. It is the act of drawing that educates, not the result.
In the early grades students begin to draw a form with physical movements before they draw the form on paper. Children trace a form in the air with their arm or in the air with their eyes closed or by walking out the form in the grass. From the very first core forms of straight lines and curves, form drawings address spatial orientation, body geography, inner visualization and observation. To walk a form and then draw it, to keep lines straight, curves smooth, angles sharp, to begin a line in the right place, and stop it exactly where you mean to and to center the form on the page are demanding tasks for the 6 year old. These lead to foundations for writing and reading by training the eye and hand to work together.
In the later grades, geometric forms further math skills and spatial orientation and running forms help with small motor and body geography skills. Woven forms are introduced and work with forward-backward, estimation, self-movement, balancing the parts, spatial orientation. This type of kinesthetic form drawing encourages visual spatial skills, visual motor skills and body awareness. It is a definite challenge for kinesthetic awareness.
In the high school, 3 dimensional sculpture circles back to the form drawing work of the earlier grades, working with negative and positive space, and helps to develop more complex skills of inner visualization and design, strong self-movement, flexibility in thinking and balance.
This form of multisensory learning has long lasting benefits for children. They include a sense for beauty, harmony, and proportion; problem solving and critical thinking skills; creativity and self-confidence.
Benedict Roemer, Kimberton Waldorf School class of 2015, is currently a senior at the University of Richmond and intern at Campaign for Youth Justice. Click here to read about how he is working to raise awareness for youth justice.