A Letter from Our Head of School
Dear Families and Friends, Waldorf schools weave drawing, painting, modeling, carving, handwork, music, recitation, and drama into all subjects of study. One might think that the purpose is to train all students to be accomplished artists. The real purpose of bringing these art modalities to students is quite different. To express the gesture of a human being or an animal in clay, in beeswax or a knitted object, to create form out of watercolor in painting, to let light arise out of shades of charcoal, these experiences require careful study and an unexpected amount of courage and patience. Singing and instrument playing require discipline and perseverance. The rehearsal of a play calls on the class’s determination to work collaboratively resulting in a feeling of renewed community as a class. In Waldorf Education, we consider these exercises for the will. Training the will requires practicing again and again something one finds difficult. For children, it is important to present these tasks in a way that is not monotonous and engages the feeling life, allowing them to experience joy. The repetition of artistic work allows for creativity and joy to be brought to every lesson. Over time, artistic work fosters mobility of thoughts and ideas, allowing the growing child to experience themselves in new ways and reach a deeper meaning in their studies. One middle schooler recently shared, “[In my artwork], I’ve learned to think of something as not necessarily wrong, but as something that wasn’t my original idea.” Traditional educational approaches focus on thinking alone and consider the arts extracurricular. As the education of head, heart, and hands, Waldorf Education acknowledges the whole human being, connecting the child’s feeling life to lessons. Art is at the core of experiencing joy and deeper meaning in education. It is a key element in our mission to foster each child’s capacity to become an independent thinking, compassionate, courageous, and purposeful human being.
In celebration of the arts, Kirsten Christopherson-Clark Head of School