What is Waldorf education?
The aim of Waldorf education is to educate the whole child, “head, heart, and hands.” Waldorf education is a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. Waldorf homeschoolers integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade to enhance and enrich learning. Waldorf Education aims to inspire life-long learning in all students and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.
Drawing, painting, music, theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.
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What is the Main Lesson?
The morning Main Lesson is the academic cornerstone of each day. The Main Lesson is planned around a block system that lasts from three to six weeks. This unique period gives students time for in-depth exploration of mathematics, sciences, language arts, and social studies. For example, in fourth grade, students will study Norse myths during Main Lesson time for about six weeks, then move on to Zoology.
The Main Lesson topics covered in each grade is consistent in Waldorf schools worldwide, and the topics are based on meeting the child’s academic, emotional, and spiritual needs at their current developmental stage. For example, in 7th grade, students are beginning to experience a heightened sense of their own individuality and identity. History Main Lessons cover the Renaissance and Age of Exploration during this age. During this time we must foster their need for self-exploration as well as their need to explore the world and we start to see the beginnings of their own unique journey into the world.
The Waldorf method of “going deep” into a topic for a period of time results in a more holistic approach to the information and ensures better absorption by the student. Textbooks and worksheets are rarely used. Instead, students create Main Lesson books that hold original writing, lab observations, maps, artwork, diagrams, timelines, and carefully rendered illustrations — true academic and artistic reflections of learning. During Main Lesson time, a teacher may use any or all of the lively arts to present the material and engage the students. Hands-on and experiential learning is another way to describe this method. (The lively arts include storytelling, drawing, painting, modeling, drama, singing, etc.)
These notebooks reflect the student’s comprehension and academic growth and can be used to evaluate the progress of each child.
What does it mean that Waldorf curriculum is developmentally appropriate?
One of the main tenets of Waldorf education is that the curriculum is specifically created to meet the needs of the children at their specific age. Waldorf educators see child development in a unique way. It is focused on the child’s developing emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. We believe that no child passes through developmental stages faster than others. For this reason, we do not allow a child who is deemed “academically gifted” to skip grades.
An example of developmentally appropriate curriculum is in the 9th grade classroom. Students at this age are on what some might call an emotional roller coaster! In 9th grade the Waldorf curriculum presents the student with Comedy and Tragedy in literature. This presentation of two extremes helps the child find emotionally equilibrium this year. In 7th grade, we study the Age of Exploration — just when students at this age are beginning to step out into the world apart from the family. It is so interesting to learn the “why” behind the curriculum.
Please read this article for more details about this perspective and the research behind it.
Why do you celebrate Festivals and Seasons?
These special festivals, or holidays, are integral to the rhythm of life and passing of the seasons. In celebrating seasonal holidays, the goal is to develop in the child (and adult) a sense of the rhythm of the seasons and the passage of time, and a sense that there is something bigger than himself. Our lives are seasonal as we go through ups and downs and it’s important for us to remember that seasons change and time passes so we are never in a “down season” forever. Celebrating the rhythm of the year helps us remember this truth.
Rudolf Steiner said, “The original idea of any sacred festival (or holiday) is to make the human being look upward from his dependence on earthly things to those things that transcend the Earth.”
Even more than that, though, we take these moments as opportunities to show gratitude both for the time we’ve been granted together, and anticipation of the gifts of time that lies ahead.
In class, we take time to prepare for or celebrate upcoming Festivals and Seasons. This will be a time for storytelling, art, crafting, literature, poetry, song, memories, and excitement. Examples of festivals or seasonal days include our Fall Festival, our Spring Festival, Martinmas, Michaelmas, Christmas, Candlemas, St. Nicholas Day, May Day, and more. We will work on crafts and art projects to further enhance your family celebrations at home. We will not focus on the religious aspects at school, but encourage you to do so at home or make it your own in however works best for your family.
What curriculum do you use?
We are registered with Earthschooling as a “charter” school and use their curriculum as our spine. We use some of Jamie York’s materials for math, particularly his Math Academy for grades 5-12, along with some Waldorfish, Live Education, and Christopherus. We also give our teachers freedom to incorporate their own ideas and other Waldorf curricula too. You can find more details in the class descriptions and in their class syllabus. We also incorporate a variety of classic literature, stories, and poetry.
Do we have to use the take-home lessons you provide for the other three days of the week?
For our elementary students, we encourage you to use the Earthschooling curriculum and lessons provided by the teacher. We do not mandate it, but it will make for a much more cohesive experience for your child. For our middle and high school students, we require it.
Are you an umbrella school or private school covering?
No. Most of our students are registered with the county or an umbrella program as homeschoolers. Ultimately, you are responsible for your child’s education. We are here to offer a classroom experience, support, and lesson planning. Earthschooling is considered a full curriculum and aligns with state standards, but again, you are ultimately responsible for your child’s education.
What is your admissions process?
Our admissions process consists of 4 steps.
Register your child by filling out our registration form on our website.
Pay the non-refundable registration fee ($75) and semester supply fee ($80).
Attend the family interview. Upon receipt of your registration form and payment, our staff will contact you to schedule a family interview. At least one parent or legal guardian must be present. The purpose of the interview is for the staff to get to you and your child, understand your child’s interests, and make sure you understand the Waldorf approach and how our school works. If, within 5 days after the interview, you feel the school is not a good fit, we will refund your registration and supply fee.
Pay the non-refundable once-per-lifetime curriculum fee and tuition upon the upcoming due date.
Must my child attend both days or can we just enroll in one day per week?
We have a limited number of one-day spots in our elementary classrooms. If you opt for one day, it must be Monday.
Must I enroll in your day program in order to enroll in the after school classes? Or can I enroll in an afterschool class only?
Our after school classes are open to all homeschool students, whether you attend our day program or not. You can enroll in an after school class without attending our day program.
Do you have an attendance policy?
We do not require a formal attendance record. We realize that one of the joys of homeschooling is flexibility and the freedom to travel when it is best for your family. As a courtesy, if you are going to be absent, we ask that you let us know. As stated in the Tuition Policy section, your financial commitment is for the semester, independent of the number of days you physically attend.
Do you have a sick policy?
Yes! We wish everyone optimal health, but we know illnesses sometimes occur. We ask that you join us in our concern for keeping germs to a minimum.
If anyone in your household has been vomiting in the last 4 days, please do not bring your student to school until all vomiting has subsided in your home for 4 days.
If your student has had a fever in the last 48 hours, please do not bring them to school. Likewise, if they have an active cough or runny nose, please keep them at home.
We trust your judgement and ask that you be as careful as possible when it comes to spreading germs. We realize it can be very disappointing for the student to have to miss school when they only attend one or two days per week. It will likely happen to all of us. If you miss school due to an illness, the teachers will fill you in on what was missed and save any supplies for your student so you can make up the lessons at home.
Do you have a dress code?
No, but we do a lot of artwork, movement, outdoor play, and gardening in all of our age groups so please wear clothes that can get dirty and allow unrestricted movement. Please dress your student(s) appropriately for the weather.
When we enroll, what is the financial commitment?
Tuition may be paid in full each semester or in four-week increments. If tuition is being paid monthly, please note that if, for any reason, your child is unable to finish out the semester, you are still financially responsible for the full semester's tuition. We use your payment commitment to guarantee our teachers' salaries, rental contracts and liability insurance contract for the semester. Your submission of the online registration form is acceptance of this financial commitment.
We keep our class sizes small because we feel this creates a better environment for students and teachers. For this reason, we depend on each student’s tuition to cover our costs.
The supply fee and registration fee are non-refundable, even if you decide not to attend The Dreamers’ School after registering. Our small classes fill up very quickly and we turn people away due to full classes. Your payment is a commitment to the best of your knowledge that your student will take that spot for the semester.
Monthly tuition payments are due every four weeks. We ask for your help in paying your tuition promptly as it is embarrassing and uncomfortable for us to have to track down payments.
Can we schedule a time to visit the school prior to registering?
We do not have the ability to provide tours during the summer of 2019 because our lease on the property is not effective until the Fall. However, we are holding an information session on Monday, June 10th, and an Open House will be scheduled later in the summer. You are always welcome to email or set up a phone call for questions.
If you are reading this after our Fall 2019 classes have begun, then, yes, please contact us via email or Facebook to schedule a time to visit.
Do you have a Facebook group?
Yes, https://www.facebook.com/groups/147215015975626. We use our private Facebook group to share photos from our day and make important announcements.
Are you affiliated with a church or religion?
Does this mean my religion or beliefs might be condemned or challenged? Will my child be taught things that go against my religion or beliefs?
Absolutely not. We do not incorporate religion into our lessons, but many of our students and staff are religious. As parents, one of the reasons we homeschool is so that we can be the primary influence on our children at this age, and we respect the parents’ choice to be this. Everyone at our school will be valued and treated equally no matter what their beliefs are.
What is your discipline policy?
We make every effort to practice restorative discipline versus consequential tactics. If a child is behaving out-of-sorts or disruptively, we work with the parent and child to help them feel more at ease, engaged, confident, and included. We do not use consequences, “time out”, isolation, or fear tactics. If a student is disrupting class, we ask the teacher to engage the assistance of one of our administrative staff so that we can help sort out the issue. We may call mom or dad if needed. In all cases, we want to work with you to help your child and build them up in confidence and self-esteem.
How detailed are your take home lesson plans?
Our teachers pull directly from the Earthschooling curriculum and provide you with all of the details you need to conduct the lessons at home.
Do you offer field trips?
We do not formally plan field trips, but parents are welcome to plan field trips for the school. Many families express the desire to get together outside of school and field trips can be an ideal way for this to happen.
Does my child need to bring lunch and snacks from home?
Yes. We do have snack and lunch times each day and all food must be brought from home. Please be sure to pack healthy lunches and snacks for your child. Having a protein at snack and lunch is very important, and we ask that you do not send any sugary snacks or sides. Candy is not allowed. We ask that water be the only drink that you provide. Sodas and juices are discouraged.
**Please be aware that we are a peanut-free school. Due to the severity of students' allergies, no peanut products or products produced in a facility with peanuts are allowed.** Please ask your child not to share food with other children. Many of our students have varying food allergies, and for safety reasons, we have a no-food-sharing policy.
What does my child need to bring to school each day?
Your child should bring a healthy lunch, a healthy snack, a water bottle (or two), a yoga mat, and any lesson materials requested by the teacher for that day.
When is tuition due?
The non-refundable once-per-year registration fee of $75 is due at the time of registration, along with the non-refundable once-per-semester supply fee of $80. Please note that we cannot hold your child's spot in the class unless these fees are paid. It is likely that we have a full roster, so for this reason, we accept students on a first-come, first-serve basis based on Registration and Supply Fee payment.
A non-refundable one-time curriculum fee of $250 is required for each student. This curriculum fee allows your child to have access to the Earthschooling curriculum (and other supplements the teacher may use) for the duration of their time at our school. If, for any reason, your child withdraws from our program, we cannot provide you with the curriculum even though you paid the curriculum fee. It is strictly licensed through The Dreamers’ School only.
Regular tuition is due every 4 weeks for the upcoming 4 week period. You may pay the year in full or in monthly installments. There is a five-day grace period, after which a $25 late fee is assessed for every 5 days late. After one month of being behind in tuition, the student is withdrawn.
Fall Semester (13 weeks) 2019
Tuition is due by August 1, 2019 for school weeks Sept. 9 - Oct. 4.
Tuition is due by October 1, 2019 for school weeks Oct. 7 - Nov. 1.
Tuition is due by November 1, 2019 for school weeks Nov. 4 - Dec. 6.
Tuition is due by December 1, 2019 for school week Dec. 9 - Dec. 13. (This is a pro-rated payment for one week.)
Spring Semester Supply Fee due: December 1, 2019
Spring Semester (15 weeks)
Tuition is due by January 1, 2020 for school weeks Jan. 13 - Feb. 7.
Tuition is due by February 1, 2020 for school weeks Feb. 10 - Mar. 6.
Tuition is due by March 1, 2020 for school weeks Mar. 9 - Apr. 10. (Spring Break is the week of March 16 - 20.)
Tuition is due by April 1, 2020 for school weeks Apr 13 - May 1. (This is pro-rated for three weeks.)