Maybe your child’s schedule has too much stress, bustle, and screen time… and not enough peaceful, reflective, quiet time. Maybe your child’s inner creativity has seemed to wane, and they have no time for artistic expression and exploration during the school day.
Maybe your child needs more time playing and working in the outdoors, building coordination and fine-motor skills. Or maybe your child needs opportunities to work with friends on meaningful projects that build academic prowess and foster a sense of purpose, courage, and inner resolve.
These are some reasons that parents have chosen a Waldorf education for their children.
Waldorf is a “whole child” educational model. For a century now, the broad-based Waldorf curriculum, developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, has emphasized the concept of “heads, hands, and heart,” promoting a balance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in students. Waldorf education seeks to foster individuals who are motivated to serve humanity with strength of will, depth of feeling, clarity of thought, and the ability to work with others.
Today there are more than 1,000 independent Waldorf schools worldwide, including 137 in the United States. The only school in Kansas to offer a Waldorf education is Prairie Moon Waldorf School in Lawrence.
Located about five minutes off of I-70 just north of Lawrence, Prairie Moon’s early childhood and elementary school campuses offer spacious rural settings that set the stage for expansive outdoor play –trees to climb, forts to build, and running games galore.
For more than a decade, Prairie Moon has enjoyed a concentration of highly trained and accomplished faculty members, whose experience and level of education meets or exceeds the high standards set for Waldorf schools.
The school’s educational offerings include the following:
Early Childhood program (Pre-Kindergarten through Kindergarten, ages 3-6) (Oakridge campus): The Early Childhood program offers a welcoming, homelike environment that seeks to preserve children’s sense of wonder and imagination, while providing them with a balanced school-day rhythm that inspires inward reflection and outward action.
Common activities include counting games and rhythmic activities, songs, nursery rhymes, puppets, fairy tales and games. These are designed to cultivate familiarity with language, strengthen memory, imagination and listening skills while building the foundation for literacy.
Student also perform fine-motor tasks such as watercolor painting, beeswax modeling and finger knitting, which helps develop motor skills, coordination, and concentration.
Grade School (Grades 1-5): Subjects studied in the primary through middle grades include writing, reading, spelling, poetry and drama; folk and fairy tales, fables, legends/myths, world religion stories, and ancient civilizations; natural sciences; and mathematical concepts.
The school day typically begins with a long, uninterrupted “main lesson” on one of the above topics. Following recess, teachers present shorter “run-through” lessons with a more recitational character (such as foreign-language lessons). Afternoons are devoted to lessons in which the whole child is active, such as eurythmy (movement set to music and speech), games, or handwork.
Middle School (Grades 6-8): Subjects of emphasis for middle-school students include creative writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry and drama; medieval history; the Renaissance; world exploration; American history; biography; geography, physics, basic chemistry, astronomy, and physiology.
As with the earlier grades, the middle-school day typically begins with a “main lesson,” followed by afternoons devoted to more active lessons. Special subjects that may be taught to middle-school students, as well as to younger students, include handwork (knitting, crochet, sewing, cross-stitch, basic weaving, toy making, and woodworking); music (singing, pentatonic flute, recorder, stringed instruments, percussion); foreign language (varies by grade); and art (watercolor painting, form drawing, beeswax and clay modeling, perspective drawing).
Prairie Moon also offers a “Sweet Peas Garden” parent-child class on Saturday mornings for infants and toddlers (birth-3), which provides a joyful, supportive and educational break from the routine of the work week for both young children and their caregivers.
Schedule a visit to the school by calling (785) 841-8800. Attend one of the many community events or open houses, including the upcoming Winterlight Faire, which will be from 10 a.m. to 1 pm. Saturday, December 9.
Full information about Prairie Moon Waldorf School, including a school-events calendar and information about tuition and fees, is available at www.prairiemoon.org. Or find the school on Facebook here.