The Waldorf School:
In August of 2014, The Cincinnati Waldorf School plans to move its main campus to Mariemont in the old Dale Park building on Chestnut Street. The current Waldorf School locations in Mt. Airy and Indian Hill enroll approximately 208 preschoolers through 8th graders. There are 800 Waldorf Schools worldwide with 300 of these are located in the United States.
According to the IRS Form 990 from 2011, The Cincinnati Waldorf School had revenues of $2,148,000 with the administrative team leader receiving direct compensation of $33,284. Fundraising and administrative expenses fell within acceptable guidelines.
On their well designed Web site www.cincinnatiwaldorfschool.org/ tuition for Grade 1 to Grade 3 is listed as $10,176 and Grade 4 to Grade 8 as $10,669. Financial aid is available and the student body is quite diverse.
The Waldorf School educational concept is based on the theories of childhood development and a philosophy of ‘anthroposophy’ crafted by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher. ‘Anthroposophy’, according to Wikipedia, is a philosophy that “postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development. It aims is to develop faculties of perceptive imagination, inspiration and intuition through cultivating a form of thinking independent of sensory experience and to present the results thus derived in a manner subject to rational verification….” There is an International Society of Anthroposophy based in Switzerland.
If you have difficulty with this wordy definition, you are not alone. My interpretation suggests that this concept of education shares some similarities to Montessori. It is a hands-on interdisciplinary approach to experiential learning that according to Enrollment Director, Karen Crick, uses music, foreign language, movement, drama, nature studies and other studies to promote academic excellence, social intelligence, artistic expression and critical thinking skills.
According to the Business Courier, Waldorf Schools have no computers, no grades and no testing. Education centers on honoring children’s natural development without the technology, grades and standardized testing that can dominate other school experiences. Additionally, most students are followed and taught year-after-year by the same cluster of teachers. Computer instruction is part of the curriculum in the 8th grade.
The program emphasizes play over literacy in the early school years and weaves art, movement and music into daily academic studies. The philosophy is holistic and designed to engage ‘head, heart and hands’.
My cursory review of this non-traditional alternative form of education leads me to believe that many students would thrive on it. Mariemont, as a destination and hub of education, is fortunate to have The Cincinnati Waldorf School locate it main campus in the Dale Park building.
Waldorf School History:
Our school was delighted to come across the historical photograph archived by the Mariemont Preservation Foundation depicting students at Dale Park dancing around a Maypole in the 1930’s! Coincidentally, each year the Cincinnati Waldorf School welcomes spring with our traditional May Morning celebration where our students come together to sing Spring songs and dance around a traditional Maypole. May Day is a long held celebration around the world. Traditionally in some European countries, young men secretly planted May trees beneath their sweetheart’s windows at night. Over time, these trees came to be represented by the Maypole. On May Day children secretly hung small baskets of spring flowers upon the doorknobs of the homes of friends and neighbors. Villagers gathered around the Maypole, singing songs of Spring. As they danced, the weaving of the ribbons clothed the pole in bright patterns of color. Happily, our students are quite immersed in the rites of Spring. On May morning children will be holding their May Day celebrations with song and Maypole dancing. After Earth’s long held in-breath of Winter, we are eager to gather and rejoice together in the beauty of Spring! We welcome you to join us on our May morning, April 30 on the Dale Park field. Please also join us for our annual May Faire celebration with food and fun on Saturday, May 3, 11:00 am-2:00 pm. Visit the Waldorf School at cincinnatiwaldorfschool.org