Waldorf-method school tries to expand

Teacher Kelly Corson, right, tells her kidergarten students the story of Jan Brett’s “The Mitten” as the class participates as animals in the tale during an interactive storytime at River Canyon School held Wednesday at Koinonia Church.

Organizers of a kindergarten class that includes art and nature-based learning in the curriculum plan to expand enrollment for the 2009-10 school year.

The River Canyon School was started last fall by a group of parents looking for a school that integrated Waldorf teaching methods. Ten kindergartners ages 4 to 6 have participated.

The parents had been meeting since 2007 to share Waldorf ideas and hold play dates for their children. They decided to take the next step toward creating their own school and are in the process of becoming an accredited Waldorf institution.

Waldorf teaching methods, cultivated in the early 1900s, emphasize creativity and imagination in learning along with the “natural rhythms of everyday life.”

“The idea is to let children be children, and let the rest come,” said Joy Wegs, a parent with a 4-year-old son in the program.

Wegs said the school hired a kindergarten teacher and an assistant, who are undergoing Waldorf certification.

Wegs said the school also would like to increase grade levels because, under Waldorf teaching, all teachers except the kindergarten teacher progress with their students each year. The school would not be able to add first grade until at least 2010, contingent upon growth in enrollment, Wegs said.

“The classroom is ready for next year, but we need more students,” Wegs said. “We’re ready for more.”

Whereas traditional schools might focus on the analytical side of problem solving, a Waldorf classroom might focus on the creativity behind the solution.

Students at River Canyon are in class Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, Wegs said, and a fourth school day might be added next year. The students begin the day with a walk and make their own snacks and bread. They will tend their own garden in the spring, Wegs said.

“Nature is an essential part of Waldorf curriculum,” she said.

Wegs said the school will hold an informational session in mid-March. Interested parents need to reserve space ahead of time. Parents can contact the school through its blog, gjwaldorf.blogspot.com.


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