Holistic Education in the Salt Lake Valley

 

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THE WALDORF CURRICULUM IS A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO KINDERGARTEN AND ELEMENTARY LEVEL EDUCATION THAT GIVES CHILDREN THE SKILLS NECESSARY TO BE HAPPY, CONFIDENT, ENGAGED, CRITICAL THINKERS.

Wasatch Charter School (WCS) provides an innovative, holistic, student-centered, developmentally appropriate education to a community desiring a whole child educational option. Guided by the principles of public Waldorf education, the school nourishes a child’s natural curiosity and passion for learning by respecting the unique developmental stages each child experiences. All facets of the school are structured around a comprehensive understanding of human development—an understanding that nurtures a community of self-awareness, respect, and dignity.

HISTORY

WCS was founded by a diverse group of individuals with varied first-hand experiences with Waldorf education. Each founder came to WCS with a passion for the beauty, curriculum, methods, and successes of Waldorf education. As parents of Waldorf students, former students in Waldorf schools, former teachers and assistants in Waldorf schools, and individuals seeking training in Waldorf education, each has sought to replicate the success of the Waldorf model and make this type of educational experience accessible to students in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.

Opening August of 2016, WCS will be the first public Waldorf school in the State of Utah. WCS will be located in the Holladay area of Salt Lake County and serve up to 540 students, with 3 Kindergarten classes of approximately 20 students and 2 classes for each grade 1–8, with a maximum class size of 30. WCS will serve students of all incomes, cultural backgrounds, and academic abilities. The centralized location in the Salt Lake Valley will draw students from the local community and the surrounding region.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

WCS is a K–8 public school that:

  • Offers a rigorous, relevant, balanced, and memorable liberal arts education, structured around the Utah Core Standards.
  • Nurtures the intellect, imagination, and emotional life of each child.
  • Incorporates sustainable living practices, environmental stewardship, and experiential learning through outdoor experiences, animal husbandry, and gardening skills.
  • Infuses academics with singing, painting, movement, drawing, recorder and flutes, strings, storytelling, foreign language, speech, handwork, and drama.
  • Inspires children to live engaged and successful lives, prepared to meet the demands of their world.
  • Involves parents and families in a community of learning and self-development.

WCS is a valuable option for families seeking whole child centered education where children learn reading and writing, mathematics, history, geography, and the sciences, while also learning to sing, play a musical instrument, draw, paint, model clay, carve and work with wood, act in plays, do handwork such as knitting and sewing, speak a foreign language, think critically and independently, and work harmoniously and respectfully with others. WCS fully delivers the content and competencies outlined in the Utah Core Standards during the progression from K–8, but in addition to developing these skills, WCS uses Waldorf methods and curriculum to immerse children in the arts and an environment that nurtures their emerging capacities at each age.

WCS teachers use an experiential, arts-rich approach that engages students in intellectually stimulating academic activities, fine-motor activities, creative and imaginative activities, as well as larger movement and gross-motor activities in every lesson—“a head, heart, hands” philosophy. WCS teachers are trained and mentored in the principles of public Waldorf education, developing an engaging curriculum and effective pedagogical practices. Teachers loop with students through the grades, building relationships and competencies together.

SCHOOL COMMUNITY

WCS has a collaborative model of governance with the Governing Board, made up of community members that oversee the budget, operations, and mission of the school. In addition, WCS has a Faculty Council that involves teachers in the process of leading the school. Teachers at WCS assist in professional development activities, participate on school-based committees, can serve on committees formed by the Governing Board, and are involved in giving their perspective on disciplinary matters. Independent and dedicated teachers are the vital force of creative, quality teaching at WCS.

WCS also involves parents in the school community through the Family Council. Members of the Family Council can also serve on the Governing Board; they help plan school activities and festivals, and they oversee volunteers and fundraising at WCS. Parents are welcome as active participants in their children’s education through parent education nights, conferences with teachers, open door days with the Executive Director, and a variety of programs designed to involve families.

SUMMARY

WCS’s education model is a compelling public choice which incorporates research-based strategies that improve and enhance student achievement, cognition and social and emotional health. Based on the hundred-year-old Waldorf approach, but wholly new to Utah, WCS provides an innovative and creative method for delivering the Utah Core to students in the Salt Lake Valley.