Ashwood Waldorf School is located in Rockport, ME. It is a private, special program emphasis school that serves 93 students in grades PK,K-8. Ashwood Waldorf School is coed (school has male and female students) and is nonsectarian in orientation. The school belongs to the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.
PeckPeck: My son attended public school from Kindergarten through 6th grade. He had a few wonderful teachers, but for the most part, his educational experience was far from inspiring. What pushed me to look into the Waldorf School was my issue with young male video game culture that seems pervasive in main stream culture thus a part of public school. I felt as if I was swimming upstream for years while I resisted letting it take up residence in our household, and then I finally conceded when my son was in 5th grade. A neighbor gave him a secondhand x-box that was her grandson’s.
As a gesture of graciousness and with an attitude of experimentation, I opened myself to the experience for a year, before I couldn’t stand watching the effects anymore. I had enough of watching my formerly contented son turn into a restless, ill-contented drone. I had enough of watching and listening to the violence as my son obliterated the “Russians” and “North Koreans"; I wanted something more for him. I wanted him to feel alive in school and out of school, meanwhile I so sadly was beginning to watch him lose every ounce of enthusiasm for both his public school life and for his interests outside of playing video games. I was determined to find an environment for my son to go through puberty that was grounded, kind and nurturing.
I found exactly what I was looking for at the Ashwood Waldorf School. My son leaves school literally beaming, smiling from ear to ear and full of stories of his day. He is finally in an environment that engages not just his mind but nourishes his spirit. Here are three reasons why I believe my son has come alive in this environment. The Ashwood Waldorf School honors traditional academics (such as memorization and recitation, which was non-existent in my son’s public school experience). Integrated sensory learning activities are incorporated with each main lesson block: e.g. they have to do research and write a report, copy it with a fountain pen onto “main lesson” paper, create an art project, and do an oral report for each topic studied. Secondly, he is in an environment that also values physical beauty from the landscaped school grounds, hand work, carpentry, music and art classes, to the beautiful chalk board art in each classroom. This element and value placed on beauty seems to really nurture kindness and curiosity in the students and faculty. This value was something I would not have thought of to look for as a perspective parent but has been a wonderful surprise to me. And lastly, the class teachers, as a part of Waldorf education, insist on the daily fundamental exercise of practicing respect between each student and their teacher. They do this by implementing something so simple: a greeting that consists of a handshake between the teacher and each student, mutually looking into one another’s eyes and saying one another’s names as they say good morning before the student enters the classroom first and when they say good bye as the student departs at the end of their day. Wow, what a difference, just these three educational experiences have made in my son's growth into a young man.
I feel as if the Ashwood Waldorf School offers an opportunity and an environment for both young men and women in middle school and junior high to mature in an environment that allows them to be themselves. My son is in eighth grade; the kids are just, not, pre-occupied with name brands, tech gadgets, or peer pressure to be anything they are not. It is so promising and cool to see healthy middle school kids. I have a happy 13 year old son that is engaged and enjoys going to school and enjoys the adults in his life! You just can’t ask for anything more at this age.
I also have to note that I would not have been able to afford a Waldorf education in many other parts of the country. Ashwood’s tuition is roughly half of what most Waldorf urban schools cost. I thought I moved here for family and work, but what I’m getting is so much more than that. Perhaps we actually moved here so I could get my son back, and so he could come home to himself again through the gifts found at Ashwood.
by a Parent
on Oct 2, 2012
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