Outside the Classroom

When children relate what they learn to their own experience, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. Waldorf schools are designed to foster that kind of learning.
— Henry Barnes, Waldorf teacher and author

 

Experiencing the world and discovering all it has to offer is a central tenet of our school. Whether the younger ones are going on a nature walk to the cedar swamp or the middle schoolers travel to see the Erie Canal, our students learn hands-on and make deep connections between what they learn and what they experience. 

All students learn and play outdoors in all weather beginning in Parent and Child through Eighth Grade. Activities from fort building in the snow, playing in the sandbox, scientifically observing local flora in the woodlands to harvesting lettuce, reinforce the importance of our connection to the natural world and our place in it. The tacit lesson is that the world is good and worthy of our time, energy and investment. We educate students to think, feel and do.

In the third grade, students spend up to a week on a working farm such as Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY,  where they participate in sustainable agriculture, develop practical skills and gain a sense of independence. They are charged with gathering the eggs, mucking the stalls, raking the hay as well as baking the bread and making yogurt. While it feels like a fun adventure, all of it ties in with the learning goals for third grade curriculum. It is an experience of S.T.E.M. in action.

All of our classes explore the wider world to expand and experience their learning, whether on our own 13.5 acres of fields, gardens and woodlands or Cape Cod, New England and beyond.  These out-of-the-classroom experiences enhance learning, instill a reverence for nature and a sense of stewardship for our world and builds self-confidence in our students.