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Parent Evening with Michael Soule, April 2014

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Bring consciousness to everything you do.

This is something that stood out for me from the evening with Michael Soule.  This is something that is an integral part of Waldorf education and of Windsong School.  It is something that we, as parents, want for our children and for ourselves.

Michael Soule came to speak to our community on Friday April 25, 2014.  Michael has been involved with Waldorf education from many different angles, parent, teacher, administrator, and mentor.  He spoke to us about our common goal for our children: to help our children to become as realized as possible.  However, this is not as easy as it seems.  Michael pointed out that we live in a world that can include both professional athletes who make millions of dollars per year as well as a world that has millions of displaced refugees.  How do we raise our children to live in a world that includes both?  How do we give our children the capacity to work with each other in a world where both of these exist? Michael spoke about the three things that children need according to Rudolf Steiner: imagination, inspiration, and intuition.  These can give children the skills to remain flexible in their thinking.  His depth of knowledge of Waldorf education and of Steiner’s philosophy was very apparent throughout this evening.

We parents have chosen Waldorf education or Windsong School because we want our children to live a healthy life in an increasingly confusing world and to even make an impact.  We can come together as a community to support the school who is in turn supporting our children.  In regards to the parent community in a Waldorf school, Michael started by describing how we are in conversation with ourselves, with our community, and the earth.  All three conversations are important in themselves as well as in conjunction with each other.  He reminded us that as we grow in conversation with each other, we will encounter conflicts but this always means growth.

Michael asked the parent group to share their favorite things Windsong School or about Waldorf education.  Parents shared things like the aesthetic and the wonder of the school.  The depth of meaning and the depth of study in Waldorf education was acknowledged as important.  Another parent noted that every child does every activity or at least tries all activities.  Acceptance of children despite their current developmental stage or mood was also mentioned.  The list went on and an on.  It was really neat to see the things that the parents appreciated and each statement was unique.  Michael then used this list to talk about what a parent community might need.  For example, we will need to be accepting of where we as a group are developmentally and also have a depth of study.  It was an interesting way to turn our appreciation of our children’s education into a rubric of sorts for forming our parent body.

Michael also spent time describing the school as a living organism that needs things like nourishment and a way to detoxify the system and communicate amongst itself.  He drew a very elaborate diagram showing how the faculty, students, and parents all interact in different ways.  Parents serve as a link between the outside community and the community within the school.  They bring things in and can take things out.  It was an interesting way to view the school.

As the evening wound down, Michael gave us time to say our wishes for Windsong School.  Parents wished for sustainability, that the school might go on and on because of the hard work of the founding members.  They wished for a bigger school and skilled faculty members.  Another wish was for our parent community to begin to rely on one another and help in times of need, to grow old together. Another person wished for our children to grow up in this community as life-long friends. The wish list was much longer and each wish very thoughtful.  As this part of the discussion came to a close, Michael folded his arms and leaned against the counter and smiled.  He simply noted that we, as a school and budding community, are doing well and that we will do well in the future.  His voice was full of confidence as he sent us on our way.

Summarized by Kristin Freeze, Preschool & Kindergarten parent 2014