“In olden times
There lived in the souls of initiatives
Powerfully the thought
That by nature
Every person is ill.
And education was seen
As a healing process
Which gave the child,
As he matured
The health to be a true human being.”
What do you wish for your child’s future? If you ask any parent this question, their answer usually includes words like “happy, confident, responsible and independent.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all parents could find a school which represented these values, cultivated a love for learning and developed free thinkers?
Waldorf education is a method of educating children where the physical, emotional and intellectual development of all pupils is priority. Waldorf recognises the spirit in each child, their openness to the world and their sense of wonder. All lessons and subjects are taught through imagination as well as experience and it is through these experiences that the children develop a lifelong love of learning. The Waldorf curriculum is thoughtfully structured to meet the children at their different stages of development. This means that the content is age appropriate and cultivates a healthy understanding as the children learn and grow. Lessons are taught with a three-fold rhythm, engaging the thinking, the feeling and the will.
“…We come to receive both knowledge and care, Gaia angels help us to spread it everywhere!”
Extract from Gaia School assembly verse
As a teacher one often hears people say, “Being a teacher is a calling.” This speaks of a deep love of and commitment to children. Teachers that believe that it was their destiny to teach, are dedicated to the core, and teach out of a sense of respect and responsibility.
The teachers are constantly doing inner work and self-development in order to portray their good ethics and their truth. If a teacher has expectations of the children, it is paramount that they “practice what they preach” and be true to themselves as well as to the children. As a Waldorf teacher I recognise that, although I am a free individual, I still have to take responsibility and lead by example. Inner work develops values like wisdom, empathy, respect, patience, integrity, initiative and self-discipline.
Once the teacher has begun to develop these inner qualities, they are able to translate these qualities into their outer world of responsibilities towards the children, their parents and their colleagues. As a teacher it is ones duty to be respectable, professional, responsible and reliable. Taking responsibility in areas of confidentiality, time management, care for the space, classroom management, communication, skills development, teamwork, good relations, and training are vital to the success of the teacher as a leader and role model to the children and the wider community.
Once the teacher has opened up in their inner and outer worlds, they are able to serve the individual, the community and eventually society at large. Our aim is to generate an inner enthusiasm for learning in each child, a concern and respect for the world and a sense of responsibility to mankind. We are not always able to meet their high standards but, nevertheless strive towards them.
Outer and Inner Workings of the School
While the teacher works on their own inner development, they also work on “inner development” for the school. This inner work can be found in the daily teacher’s meditation, the weekly child studies and discussions, the on-going teacher training and enrichment and all pedagogical decisions.
Freedom -The school is run predominantly by the College of Teachers who carry the Waldorf Impulse. They are made up of some teachers who are responsible for the Waldorf pedagogy, professional development of staff and overall wellbeing of the school. The College of Teachers are constantly seeking ways to serve the families of the school. The College of Teachers work together as a circle of individuals, who form the collective leadership of the school.
The Board of Trustees work to support the College of Teachers by providing the legal support with regard to financial management, policy implementation and strategic planning.
Brotherhood – The Admin takes care of the bigger picture. They provide support to the College of Teachers and the Board of Trustees and are the public face of the school. The Admin are responsible for safety and security, finance, ground staff, and public relations.
Equality – The parents forum various mandate groups: marketing, craft, fundraising, maintenance, finance, fee assistance and IT. These mandate groups develop the sense of community, where everyone’s voice and action counts. Each mandate group has one representative within the College of Teachers to ensure that all actions are in keeping with Waldorf principles.
The teachers and parents both want what’s best for the child. In the centre of the diagram is the “golden triangle” which emphasises the importance of open and equal relationships between the parents and teacher, the child and teacher and the child and parent. Without the parent, the child or the teacher, there would be no school. It is important that the relationship between the parents and the teacher is healthy and that the communication is always flowing. In order to be supported by parents one needs to awaken the parents understanding of Waldorf education, the parent needs to be “educated” about all aspects and values that underlie this form of education. On-going discussions about the developmental stages of the child should take place regularly at parent evenings, ensuring that the parents are kept updated and informed and enriched. Parents should be encouraged and inspired to participate in all aspects of the school.
At Gaia we strive to enrich our parents about the fundamentals of Waldorf education, the different stages of the child’s development and other aspects of Waldorf pedagogy. We encourage open discussions and conversations with parents.
With love and light