KWS is seeking a part time, hourly office staff member for the high school front office. Duties include answering phones and emails, recording daily student attendance, data entry and general administrative support. Good written and verbal communication skills, computer skills and experience working with databases required. For more information or to send resume contact email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Dear Summer at Kimberton Families,
My heart is heavy as I write this, because I have been looking forward all year to being back together with all of you for a long and lazy summer of fun. I know you feel the same.
Due to the situation with Covid-19 and the uncertainties it has brought to gatherings of all kinds, we have decided to close our camp for the season.
Many factors went into this decision, including our concerns for the safety and well-being of our campers, their families, and our counselors and staff. In addition, we know that a big part of our summer here at Kimberton is the freedom to be outside in nature and to do all our fun things like swimming in the creek and playing games together. Those kinds of activities just aren’t possible in a big group this summer, not without so many compromises that the fun and relaxation may well be lost.
My hope for your summer is that you find a way to get outside in your own backyards. Pitch a tent, play flashlight tag, build a fort! Find out where the raspberries and the wineberries grow in your neighborhood. Put up a bird feeder and see who comes to it. Maybe you can start a garden, or grow cherry tomatoes in a five-gallon bucket. I’ll be thinking of you.
Blessings on you and your families,
Miss Carmen and everyone else at Kimberton
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.” , 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.
“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.
In October of 1941, Kimberton Farms School was founded by Mrs. Virginia Birdsall and Mrs. Elisabeth Grunelius, and others. Mrs. Birdsall describes this as follows:
“Kimberton Farms Day and Boarding School for Boys and Girls was opened in October, 1941 by Mr. Myrin. During the preceding year he had enlarged and remodeled one of the old Dutch farmhouses on his property to serve as a schoolhouse and home for the teachers and resident pupils. In the spacious fields and pastures of Kimberton Farms the Bio-Dynamic methods of farming originated by Dr. Steiner were being developed on a large scale. A group of young men and women interested in this natural, organic method of cultivating the soil were living in a large farmhouse on the property. What more fitting home could be found in which little children could live and learn according to the new art of education which was one of Dr. Steiner’s many gifts to humanity!”
Kimberton Farms School graduates became known as balanced, possessing a sense of humor, a wide sense of leadership, and that they were often the most outstanding scholars.
During a recent Alumni weekend where a plaque was dedicated to a beloved teacher, Ed Stone, alumni came together to sing the Kimberton Farms School song. It was a very moving moment.
An interview with Coach Troy Daniel
Having spent several years here at Kimberton Waldorf coaching both our boy’s and girl’s varsity basketball teams, Coach Troy talks about what makes Kimberton’s athletes not only strong players but great people.
What do you try to instill in the players?
I always work to instill confidence in my players. I analyze their skill level and work to get them to believe in what they are capable of doing NOW.
What motivates our kids?
Kimberton Waldorf students are motivated by achievement and team work. They are a very close student body and thrive by working together to achieve goals.
What changes do you see happening in players over the course of the season?
I witness diverse changes in our players throughout the season. Some go thru physical changes like growth and strength. The most common change that I see is self-confidence.
Why are you proud of our program?
I’m most proud of the Kimberton Students. They are intelligent, kind and caring.
What are your goals for the program?
Our goals are to learn, grow and have fun. Basketball gives its players a chance to learn more about what they can achieve. It also helps players to grow as an individual. They do things that sometimes they weren’t aware they could do. At the end of the day, basketball is a sport – a game – so I want them to have fun.
Coach Troy Daniel is in his second year coaching Kimberton Waldorf’s boy’s varsity team. Before that, he coached the girl’s varsity team for 2 years. Troy is a Basketball Skills Development Specialist who has acquired extensive basketball experience as a player, coach, scout and skill performance instructor for Pro, College and Elite High School talent. Troy has designed basketball skill development platforms that improve all facets of a players skill set.
Troy has established relationships with NBA Player Personnel Professionals, Overseas Scouts and College Coaches. He has unique insight into preparing players for the next level, whether College or Professional. He has customized development programs for players who are preparing for professional pre-draft camps, preseason/summer training and who are making the transition from high school to college basketball. Troy focuses on key fundamental areas needed to create Proper, Measurable Skill Development and Physical Performance success.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
~ Albert Einstein
Why play-based learning?
The right brain develops first and does so by the time children are 3-4 years of age. The left brain, on the other hand, doesn’t fully come online until children are approximately seven years old; hence the first seven years being recognized as such a critical period in child development. Play-based education fits the developmental needs of children.
The left brain’s functionality is one of language, numeracy, literacy, analysis and time. It is the logical, calculating, planning, busy-bee part of us that keeps us anchored in the pragmatic world, and in past and future. The right brain, on the other hand, is responsible for empathy, intuition, imagination and creativity. It is where we wonder, dream, connect and come alive. Through the right brain we dwell in the space of no-time, in being absolutely present and our boundless sense of being. Being is primary; hence the right brain developing first; hence, human being, not human doing.
The play-based approach
Children are naturally motivated to play. A play-based program builds on this motivation, using play as a context for learning. In this context, children can explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways.
A play-based approach involves both child-initiated and teacher-supported learning. The teacher encourages children’s learning and inquiry through interactions that aim to stretch their thinking to higher levels. Teachers take an active role in guiding children’s interactions in the play. Children are supported in developing social skills such as cooperation, sharing and responding to ideas, negotiating, and resolving conflicts.
Play also supports positive attitudes to learning. These include imagination, curiosity, enthusiasm, and persistence. The type of learning processes and skills fostered in play cannot be replicated through rote learning, where there is an emphasis on remembering facts.
The skilled early childhood teacher highly values and nurtures the child’s fundamental creative and imaginative nature with countless opportunities and environments for exploration and play. Play can provide children with the opportunity to develop social, emotional, physical and creative skills in addition to cognitive ones. Preschool and kindergarten programs that strike a healthy balance between stimulating work and engaging play prepare the child for success in primary school and beyond. They empower these individuals to go beyond functioning in a competitive world to making valuable changes in that world.
Children with stronger social skills do better in school, in the workplace, and in life. Child-directed play and modeling of helping behaviors are key to the development of social skills and need be prioritized in early education. We agree with the research that indicates that social skill development should be an intentional outcome of all educational experiences for children from preschool through elementary school. Getting along with others, being helpful and cooperative, and demonstrating empathy certainly make for better community. Additionally, a child’s early skills with building positive relationships with peers and with adults are correlated with positive life outcomes overall.
Research on the brain demonstrates that play is a scaffold for development, a vehicle for increasing neural structures, and a means by which all children practice skills they will need in later life. Because play often involves physical activity, it is encourages the development and refinement of children’s gross and fine motor skills and their body awareness. As children vigorously and joyfully use their bodies in physical exercise, meaningful work and unstructured play, they simultaneously refine and develop skills that enable them to feel confident, secure, and self-assured.
Planning, self-awareness, and self-control—what psychologists refer to as “executive functions”—predict positive school and life outcomes. Studies show that children develop executive functions through experience. Children use components of executive functions when they make decisions and interact with peers in everyday classroom settings. For example, they use planning to generate ideas for what to play, while working memory and inhibitory control help with remembering and following the rules of play. As children get older, they will need an efficient working memory to process all of the information that they encounter in the upper grades.
The need for developing skills of complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration are essential for 21st century learning. These skills are built and enhanced by learning through play across the lifespan.
How does play-based education build the foundations for learning?
Play-based education embodies a plethora of activities integrated in the day that encourage school readiness, build academic capacities and create a lifelong love of learning.
An important literacy skill for reading is acquisition of language, as shown by children’s vocabulary and capacity to articulate their thoughts. The depth of a preschooler’s language skills—like early conceptual mathematics—is more predictive of long-term reading than simple measures of early literacy like letter recognition.[/tab] [tab]Hands-on experiences in art, science, and making – such as cooking, playing with sand and sticks and natural materials, painting, knitting and building –are terrific, and developmentally appropriate, ways for young children to build their fine motor coordination and the musculature for later writing.[/tab] [tab]A powerful indicator and predictor of long-term success with mathematics—and with other academic domains—is early conceptual mathematics. By helping children see mathematics in the world around them, using rich mathematical language as we work with children, building a growth mindset in mathematics by modeling our own use and learning of mathematics we create strong foundations for mathematical capacities.
Resources on play and play-based education
phone: 610.933.3635 | email: email@example.com
Interested in finding out more about Kimberton Waldorf School? Come to an admissions event! Sign up to learn about the next event below.
“Projective geometry has the capacity to open minds and broaden thinking. I learned about things like perspective and duality, and all of this came together at infinity to create an understanding that I knew I didn’t have at the start of this block.”
Problem Solving and Perspective
The central point of mathematical activity in the Waldorf high school is problem solving. The important thing is learning how to solve problems, not what the answer is. With this as the focus, high school mathematics builds on both bases of mathematics: inspiration (induction) as a beginning and logical conclusion (deduction) at a later stage in the mathematical activity.
The most important aim is to develop the students ability to think with a wide range of approaches until they get to the logical conclusion, and to give them confidence in themselves and in their thinking. Another important goal is to prepare the students to apply calculations methods to everyday life and also to give them the foundation for further education.
Geometry is the mathematical discipline that deals with the interrelations of objects in the plane, in space, or even in higher dimensions. More than any other mathematical discipline, the field of geometry ranges from the very concrete and visual to the very abstract and fundamental. In one extreme, geometry deals with very concrete objects such as points, lines, circles, and planes and studies the interrelations between them. On the other side, geometry is a benchmark for logical rigor, the elegance of axiom systems, logical chains of proof, and the parallel world of algebraic structures.
In tenth grade, students study the projective properties of geometric figures
In high school, children reach a new stage of development where an individual’s inner life confronts the outer world in a relationship that still has to find a form. In an integrative education, even geometry has its place in the deep work of young adults. The deeper concepts of mathematics around perspective, infinity, transformations, angles, boundaries, and duality lead to new insights and broader understanding of not just geometry, but of life.
Introduction to Projective Geometry from a student’s main lesson book:
The Euclidian geometry we have worked with up until this point has dealt with the finite, the measureable. In the consciousness of the ancient Greeks, even the realm of the gods was considered in finite terms. Of course this finite or measureable nature implies ideals; for in actuality we can never be exact. As soon as we try to represent a point or line on paper, it is only an approximation, or rather a two-dimensional representation of the ideal. A point, as defined by Euclid is that which has no part, and a line is breathless and thus can never actually exit in the physical.
Projective geometry takes the elements of Euclid but stretches them in space toying with the idea of infinity. This geometry has seen application in the perspective drawings done already during the Renaissance by such artists as DaVinci and Durer. Projective geometry challenges Euclid’s elements asking us to see points as lines of infinity and whole planes becoming points. The mysteries of infinity order the random and obscure the ordered.
This block is an exploration of space, projecting lines and points to infinity with geometric nets and conic sections, observing the phenomena as they occur. We can wrestle with the ideas, but this course also gives us the opportunity to step back and relish the beauty and magic of these lines and points as we strive for exactness and perfection.
Students need to develop an intuitive understanding of geometric relationships and how to manipulate them. Learning how to do geometric proofs with compass and straightedge is an essential part of developing that knowledge. That knowledge will be used by an architect in many ways, from the creation of complex computer models to hand-sketching. In fact, one of the first things they teach in architectural perspective drawing class is how to use basic geometric principles we all learned in 10th grade geometry to quickly draw realistic and correctly-proportioned perspective images.
The relationship between mind and hand through pencil and paper is very direct (same with sculpting clay, for that matter). You lose that direct connection when a computer interface is involved. Once you know and have intuitively internalized the principles, the computer allows you to magnify that knowledge in practical applications.
I insist on seeing a demonstration of hand-drawing skills even for prospective employees who will only be doing computer drafting or modeling. What they can do with a pencil shows me in a very direct way how their brains work and whether or not they really understand what they’re doing when they try to graphically represent spatial concepts and systems,
So, yes, I think it’s important that students still learn how to do geometry the old fashioned way. Even though a computer will automate a lot of the calculation and construction for you, you still need to understand the geometric principles at work in order to use them. – Archinect
Why We Teach This Way Matters
THIS IS EDUCATION THAT MATTERS
Geometry holds a central place in Waldorf education’s mathematics curriculum and emerges out of form drawing which students begin in Kindergarten. In sixth grade, students move from creating flat two-dimensional geometric designs to kinesthetic art with curve stitching, which creates circles and curves from straight lines. They are colorful and beautiful and very visually interesting but do you wonder what they have to do with math?
Artistic, but also Technical
In order to construct and shade those drawings or string designs, the students need to have learned many things, including a knowledge and understanding of circles and polygons, how to use a compass and ruler with competence, and how to bisect an arc or a line or an angle. The students learn how to construct straight lines from a curved line by drawing exact polygons within a circle as they learn how to divide a circle into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, and 24 divisions. Line and string designs show them the many ways that curved lines can be constructed from straight lines. The drawings done in sixth grade represent foundational Geometric concepts, presented beautifully and artistically, that are carried into the high school when students learn about Conic Sections, Trigonometry and Projective Geometry.
Engaging the Hands Creates a Deeper Understanding
Use of string art in learning geometry is a powerful method to ‘experience’ the facts and laws of geometric forms. The precision and beauty of these geometric forms lead the children to a deeper understanding of mathematics as they use their hands to illustrate concepts and develop skills.
These constructions offer abundant opportunity for students to learn mathematical vocabulary and concepts, and the ability to follow directions. String designs helps to improve spatial perception, encourages students to experiment, enriches their learning and lays a foundation for advanced Projective Geometry and the three-dimensional graphs and surfaces encountered in Calculus in high school and college.
The brain discovers what the fingers explore.
In sixth grade, geometrical rules are sought and formulated:
Geometrical proof of sums of angles of triangles
Construction of angles using compasses, bisecting angles
Congruent triangles and the four principle cases for congruency
Movement properties of triangles and quadrilaterals
Congruent shapes, construction of similar angles, complementary, supplementary and other angles
Construction of triangles, with altitudes, and angle and side bisectors
Why We Teach This Way Matters
THIS IS EDUCATION THAT MATTERS
The Benefits of Chores
When it comes to assigning housework to children, there’s some debate. Many parents want to preserve childhood for as long as possible, letting the “kids be kids” and enjoy plenty of playtime while they’re still young. Others may see children as less capable, preferring to finish the housework as quickly and efficiently as possible. These arguments make sense, but they also overlook the many positive benefits of giving kids chores.
Our daily lives are full of moments where we can connect, empower and teach our children. All the chores that may feel like drudgery to us as adults are often a delight to the young child. A dish tub full of bubbles, a basket full of laundry, a floor needing sweeping or a window sill asking for a dusting. All of these tasks offer endless opportunities for our families as a whole.
For the young child the gift of being entrusted with meaningful work builds their self-esteem, develops lifelong capabilities and life skills and bonds the family by distributing the work of the household. Young children naturally want to take part in the world around them. Research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.
If we as adults can be present and open to their help then we will give the gift of purposeful work to the children in our care. It requires our presence because often in this busy world mundane tasks are overlooked or at best rushed thru to completion. Think of all the daily conveniences that are used almost daily in our homes: the dishwasher, the washer/dryer, the vacuum, etc. These serve a purpose but also deprive our children from seeing the cyclical process of things.
When we wash dishes by hand we can see the full process. The plate going in dirty, the need for us to scrub it clean, to rinse it, to dry it. These cycles are important for young children to witness and take part-in. It’s important to consciously choose to perform these tasks in our homes offering the gift of participating in the full process to our children.
When we are conscious and present we are able to engage with both our child and the work at hand. The demands of the modern world surely can distract: the ping of an email, the buzz of our phone, our laptops open for work, the TV on in the background; these all call us out of the moment. Minimizing our distractions in our home helps to create a sanctuary and allows us to remain focused. Our children will observe when we choose to complete these tasks mindfully and with joy. It is much like a meditation practice where we become conscious of our thoughts and choose to remain present as we work. This allows us to fully engage with what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with.
This presence is a natural state of being for the young child. When we show up and work with joy our children learn to do the same. Viewing our household chores as a meditative practice makes our work a spiritual endeavor and bonds us with our children in the only moment they know: The Present!
By Molly Brett
Kimberton Waldorf Preschool Teacher
Parent Child Program Teacher
Happy Children Do Chores – NY Times
Benefits of Chores – Center for Parenting Education
Mindful Simplicity: Decluttering and Cleaning
5 Ways To Be More Present With Your Child – Huffington Post
Why Kids Should Have Chores
We had our kids in a private school before that was based on common core curriculum. Watching our kids approaching different assignments, seeing them being constantly stressed about grades, tests and overall performance, we asked ourselves if this is what we want to give them. Seeing their schooling as a very stressful race from one test to another, with lack of common sense in many assignments, lack of logic in many homework tasks, constant push on repetition instead of encouragement to free thinking, and finally suppressing our kids’ freedom to ask questions, was very concerning.
Having four kids, we don’t know who they will become as adults, but we certainly want them to be people who aren’t afraid to question the status quo and find their own ways towards happiness and fullness in their lives. Common core education didn’t give us the perspective nor tools to help them grow as individuals who discover themselves and the world around, rather it was a process of creating stressed, tired and discouraged young souls who were not interested in learning as an adventure. It was seeing education as a system, an artificial way of possessing enough short-term knowledge necessary only for purposes of tests.
Waldorf showed itself as a journey, where kids are approached according to their age and current state of being. Where even complex matters can be explained in accordance with kids’ natural way of understanding, processing and absorbing information. Waldorf appeared to be the answer to help kids to fall in love with learning, reading, counting and discovering beauty of the world without unnecessary stress and encouraging a long-term interest in expanding their interest in many topics instead of the “learn-pass test-forget” process.
The amount of time the kids spend with nature, from feeding goats to getting dirty in the woods, is absolutely wonderful! As Eastern Europeans we missed this at our previous school. The emphasis of art being largely incorporated into Waldorf curriculum, in our eyes, was a very important factor in helping kids become fascinated with education. No electronic devices policy: what a relief it is. Since we came to KWS my kids don’t even mention anything about cellphones. We decided to completely give up on TV a couple years ago, so we have great evening times together, more time for fun, reading, discussions, games, Torah studies, or simply to be together. It is a very liberating experience. – Current KWS parent
Jharna Jahnavi, a Kimberton Waldorf 2015 graduate, spent the summer working as a clinical research intern at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a direct extension of her academic interests and another step on her path to a career in medicine. The pre-med biology major, who also minors in neuroscience and health studies at Haverford College has a deep interest in neuroscience and brain development.
Her interdisciplinary work has allowed her to work with neurologists, neurosurgeons, cardiothoracic surgeons, and other healthcare professionals, post-doc physicists, computer scientists, medical students, and other undergraduates. Jahnavi’s coursework at Haverford encompasses departments not just across the sciences, but also across the liberal arts, and she finds the lab environment to be similarly multifaceted.
Read the full article about Jharna on Haverford College’s website here.
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Rather than filling students with pre-digested information and concepts to memorize for tests, we begin with experiences and through discussion and other activities help students discover concepts. Our students learn to think like a scientist, a historian, a philosopher, an artist. We teach students how to think, not what to think. By allowing students to discover concepts for themselves, rather than being fed concepts (that someone else has already thought), we are engaging them in the thinking process and giving them the experiences to learn to become independent thinkers.
We believe that learning is naturally an exciting and joyful experience. We seek to cultivate that sense of joy in learning in our students by bringing subject matter to our students in ways that speak to where they are in their stage of development, engage them in their whole being, and avoids teaching to the test, and rote memorization of information geared towards testing performance. We do give quizzes and tests, when developmentally appropriate, and only in support of the integrative learning experience of the students.
Every year our 12th grade students take a week-long trip to Hermit Island in Maine. They join about 100 seniors from other Waldorf schools for a week-long course on invertebrate zoology. They take daily trips to the tide pools and mud flats to investigate sea plants and animals. They discover creatures only visible in tide pools and under the microscope, as well as sea urchins, squid and sea stars. There are opportunities to experience the glowing of comb jellies and bioluminescence in the ocean. The students hone their observational skills by identifying various species of crabs and snails living in this vibrant ecosystem and come together as a group to discuss the week’s theme of earth as an organism.
As with all great Waldorf curriculum, learning is multi-modality and integrated. Students balance the scientific with the artistic through sketching organisms and watercolor landscape, to writing sea-based poetry and stargazing. And as always, they had fun and made new friends.
What an amazing opportunity for our children!
Our 9th grade was recently “away” on their Agricultural Practicum. We use the word away loosely. They were away and here at the same time. Students worked all week at Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, helping them harvest in the CSA, herb garden and orchard. While there, the students participate in the life of that community, work and share meals with villagers and co-workers. They also get a taste of work in the cow barn and in general farm maintenance. All of this plus staying overnight in the Garden Building! While there, they work with Celia Martin in the evening preparing beef jerky for their backpacking trip in the spring. Kimberton Waldorf students are introduced to a variety of complex issues around food and nourishment through the Agriculture Practicum, our gardening program and through exploring topics around food justice and food insecurity.