Waldorf Teaching

How a Waldorf Teacher Inspires Mindfulness

by Ted Curtin, Class 8 Teacher

Class 8 begins each morning by taking a walk around the recess field. It gives us a chance to wake up and stretch our legs after the ride to school, and it gives the students some time to check in with each other and socialize a bit before beginning the day's work.  Before we head back in, we always take a moment to be in the moment, to take in the quality of each particular - and unique - morning. 

At this point in the 8th grade year, we are becoming more cognizant of the fact that we are looking at our last days together at the school. We look at the work that remains to be done - the final blocks, the class play, the last assemblies, the class trip in May - and we find moments that cause us to reminisce about the years that we have spent together. It has been fun to hear the random memories that bubble to the surface and that are retold with humor from that particular perspective of classmates who have spent many years together. Looking back, these 8 years seem to have passed by so quickly!

When we return to the classroom from our morning walk, we sometimes take a few minutes to write something about some aspect of the morning that has touched our thoughts or feelings, or that we have purposefully focused our attention on.

Last week, on a morning misted with a light rain, we stopped in at the Sunhouse. We sat quietly and took in the experience of the place and the moment and then went in to write some impressions. As usual, there were many examples from the students of perceptive observation and beautiful description, in poetry and prose. As the students wrote, I decided to join them, to see what the muses would bring me. I was a bit surprised by what came from my pencil, and share it here not for its literary value, but as an indication of the mood of 8th grade from the teacher's perspective at this point in our story.

In the Sunhouse a drizzly March morning
Incipient Spring gets an early start,
A new season of growth and becoming.
The students in my garden
Are getting ready to unfurl new capacities
Toward their individual futures;
The raindrops on the roof
Tip-tap the passing moments,
Counting out the time left to us.

How We Inspire Students to Appreciate Diversity

“We went to Cape Abilities farm for a field trip with the sixth grade. Ronald inspires me because he taught me that anything is possible if you try.”
- K.T. Fifth grade student at WSCC

In Waldorf schools, every child is gifted and talented and the curriculum is designed to bring his or her talent to light. Waldorf curriculum exposes children to a wide variety of subjects and encourages them to develop in a well-balanced way. 

Girls and boys take woodwork and learn to knit, and everyone plays a musical instrument. These diverse experiences help children to discover and develop their own talents while noticing that each person’s gifts are different. This approach encourages the appreciation of many types of skills in addition to academic skills.

Our sixth grade class is reading Sharon Draper’s book, Out of My Mind, which is the story of an intelligent 11-year old girl who cannot speak, talk, or write and her journey through these challenges. The class teachers brought both the fifth and sixth grade classes to Cape Abilities farm to broaden their real world experience while reading this story.

The students visited Cape Abilities Farm just before the holidays to be immersed into the daily happenings at the farm. The children helped unwrap trees, decorate kissing balls, and pick tomatoes alongside the farm staff. One student reflected:

“My field trip to Cape Abilities farm was great. I found the trip very inspiring… Two workers really touched my heart, their names were Ronald and Henry, both of them were so nice and they both loved their jobs.”
- J.D. WSCC Fifth grade student.

Waldorf educators believe that the curriculum brings to light each child’s unique talents while developing appreciation for other’s gifts and talents that may be different from their own. The goal is to send forth into the world children who appreciate the diversity and myriad of talents that human beings share.