In the Waldorf school, life quiets down after the last day, the last assembly, the last presentations, the last time to say the morning verse, sing the last song, call the last roll, hug the last time, tie up packets of paintings, drawings, main lesson books, and put away flutes, wash cups, store pencils for the autumn, and at last, the building is quiet and the classrooms empty. The teachers sit in meetings for a few days to review and relish the year just past, the cups of tea warm the empty spot that the leaving of the children and parents is felt, and everyone feels a bit like the Pied Piper of Hamlin wandered in and removed all of the fun of teaching: the kids!
The staff is generally pleased as significant work can resume and the constant and sweet rhythm of interruption that arrives with dozens of small kids and parents and faculty, all needing something, yes right away please, diminishes and some projects can actually be finished. The schoolrooms generally are tidied up to some degree and things stored away, the walls are bare and bereft and the kindergarten is sleeping again….
And then the summer camps and art camps start up and the children come in with happy faces and they are so pleased to be back in school, it was SO LONG, Ms. Laura, we were GONE for a whole week! And then the work of paint, art, craft, imagination, fantasy, fun, songs, games, just pure pleasure of designing and art immersion surrounds the group and life is again restored to some proper perspective!
Our school is deliberately smaller than most, we have around 60 students from a mixed aged K with 3-5 year olds up to 8th grade. We graduated our first 8th grade in 2016. Our classes are splits and mixes and groups and we have six lead faculty to hold these children and a dozen subject teacchers and staff. A smaller setting on purpose with smaller rooms that will hold about 16 comfortably, we are brought into constant interaction with one another, the ages intermix, we purposefully plan group blocks, teach in each others’ classes, know all of the children well, and parents form a tight knit friendly community who also interact with all of the faculty and all of the staff. A purposeful model, to awaken and strengthen community and surround the children with a caring dedicated group of adults who work collaboratively. A model community, an experiment, and a success after 14 years (founded in 2003).
But oh, the summer school, is…….too quiet!