During the weeks leading up to the stay at home orders, our Pedagogical Council worked to determine a set of guiding principles to help our faculty find their way in this new frontier of providing quality Waldorf education from a distance.
Acknowledging the unprecedented times, we were tasked to find solutions that would:
• Be kept simple
• Allow us to maintain our integrity when giving credits in high school
• Enhance the time at home, strengthen our community/build bridges of support
• Incorporate movement and hands-on activities
• Include service components
• Maintain hope in our students
• Include wise and age-appropriate use of screens
As you have seen and will read below, the spectrum of needs for the variety of ages we serve is vast and therefore our solutions are as well.
In the high school, we adopted both synchronous and asynchronous approaches to the rich variety of classes we teach with varying amounts of regular classes.
- Students in grades 9 to 12 meet daily for their main lessons.
- Math, Humanities and Spanish classes are held regularly for continuity and conversation. The order and logical thinking that these subjects require bring balance to an adolescent who can be emotional.
- Our PE and Eurythmy teachers have offered workouts and other activity suggestions for students to take up at home.
- Our creative music teachers, in addition to offering office hours and practice materials, have organized an electronic ensemble club that hosts a one-time per week WSP HS Radio Program for students to share their creative works.
- Our art and practical art teachers have adapted as well, providing suggestions for home projects, as well as in support of our facilities and gardens.
- Our student council and clubs have begun remote meetings, and our all high school announcements have continued giving these teenagers many opportunities to connect with their peers (another age appropriate need teenagers have).
The middle school has been taking main lessons via distance learning from three to five times a week based on the grade; with their subject teachers checking in at the end of the sessions. The students have come up with innovative ways to stay connected through online recess, challenge games, and creating a newspaper together – this is what happens when they get to use their creative thinking skills and their own initiative beyond the classroom. They have also been checking in with their class teachers for more social time. Classes have also been offered some additional guidance from their Spanish teacher for ways to continue practicing and learning the language. Additionally, our 7th & 8th grade classes are meeting with their math teachers online twice per week.
In grades 1-5 the teachers are engaging the students online for social time, sending work home generally through Google Classroom, and arranging office hours and parent meetings through Zoom. They will continue to check in, endeavoring to meet the needs of students and parents for rhythm and connection.
Rhythm and connection continue to be the cornerstone of work in the Early Childhood with emails for help with home life, games, crafts and recipes, parent meetings through Zoom, office hours, and letters written to the children. Again, the teachers will be continuing communication with families to serve the needs of the children and families.
We are pushing ourselves to be flexible and creative in the assignments we give to help make sure that our students are engaging with the environment in which they currently live. How have we noticed that spring is happening all around? What is it like for families to spend time together without after school activities and commutes? What new discoveries can we make right where we are? The relationship of our students to the world — the other — is central to all of the programs we provide.
We appreciate the opportunity to serve the students and families at WSP. The ride into this new frontier of distance learning has been much more palatable with them at the center of every decision we make. Thank you for trusting and supporting us.