Waldorf Education: A Supportive Community for the Whole Family
Raising children who will become happy, healthy, thriving adults is one of the most challenging and important roles anyone can have. In Waldorf education, our schools are designed to engage not only the student but their families as well. We believe in meaningful relationships, where our trained teachers work with families over multiple years to understand how to best support each child. Our in-depth narrative grading system, our ongoing adult education and volunteer opportunities, and our rich cultural and festival life all serve to create a welcoming community where families feel supported and engaged.
Events like our annual May Faire are a perfect example of the Waldorf community coming together to celebrate, contribute, and model for our children the importance of being a part of a connected community. Every person – teacher, parent, grandparent, student – plays a role to make our May Faire a success. The Parents Association is a strong, connected group where parent voices are heard, volunteers are coordinated, and friendships are made.
We know that working in close relationship to parents is a powerful and important way to connect school-life and home-life. From home visits before the school year starts, to class meetings with parents, to parent-teacher conferencese, these are all opportunities to support the whole family and further the education of our students.
The Importance of Parent Education: From CNN.com
Written by Tracy Trautner, Michigan State University Extension –
oday, there are new parenting challenges to overcome. Skills, routines and values were passed from generation to generation and parents could rely on networks of support to help them parent. Compared to past generations, many parents and families have become isolated and are raising children in silos. These parents are trying to figure it out alone. The skills a child needs to be successful have changed as well.
Over the years, each generation sees a change in what society considers parenting issues. Currently, families struggle with behavior management issues including lack of expectations, child supervision and excessively severe and inconsistent punishment on behalf of the parent. According to John Geldhoff, an Oregon University assistant professor of behavioral and health science, all parents—high income, low income, mandated and non–mandated—can benefit from evidence-based parenting education. Parents who have attended classes and learned effective discipline and parenting techniques report having children with higher grades, fewer behavior problems, less substance abuse issues, better mental health and greater social competence.
Parent Ed at a Waldorf School
With all this in mind, we know that parents know their children better than anyone. The Waldorf teacher works with the parents to better understand how and why a child engages in the way they do. The teacher can also help provide advice and support to parents to educate and support them in creating consistent habits and routines that support the child at both school and home.
In a Waldorf school, one of the most frequent topics we work with parents on is how much media usage and screen times in best for children. Parents come to the Waldorf school with an understanding an appreciation that we do not use screens and technology as an instructional tool or as a support in the classroom. We see how children’s imaginations, attention span, and social/emotional learning flourishes in an environment where they are learning in a direct person-to-person environment. Our teachers work extensively with parents to help them release the grip that screens and media have on the young child. We find that with boundaries and practice, the children quicklyl let go of those habits and instead begin activities that they have learned at school – knitting, sewing, bike riding, singing, drawing, and playing outside, just to name a few!
Richmond Waldorf School also offers a regular Parent Education series, where we discuss topics such as –
- How teaching the head, heart, and hands builds tolerance, resiliency, and flexibility in students
- Why Waldorf waits on academics
- How to introduce a “Simplicity Parenting” approach in your home
- Waldorf’s approach to media and technology
- and more!
During parent teacher conferences and throughout the school year, it’s not uncommon for a Waldorf teacher to address topics with parents that seem outside of the academic realm, such as sleep habits, meal times and diet, screen usage, or homelife and daily routines. We do this because we see the inherent value in collaborating and supporting the child both in school and at home.
At Richmond Waldorf School, we recognize that our student’s physical, social and emotional well-being are a key part of their ability to learn and thrive. Our holistic approach to education prioritizes critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century.
We would love you to explore if the Waldorf approach is right for your child! Join an information session or meet with our Enrollment Administrator to learn more about Richmond Waldorf School.
Choosing a school is a very important decision in a family’s life. Our admissions process is designed to give you as much information as you need to make an informed decision about enrolling your children. Whenever possible, we encourage all families to book a visit when considering Richmond Waldorf School. We want to meet you! It is just as important for us to know who you are and what you are looking for in a school, as it is for you to know who we are and what Waldorf education is about.
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