Gainesville Heart Pine Waldorf School Provides Alternative Curriculum
Mar 02, 2018 11:47AM
By Amber Melendy
Waldorf education provides a rich curriculum in each grade, including language arts, math, science, social studies, music, movement, drama, art and handwork, and also provides ample time spent outdoors for recreation, physical education and in studying nature.
Established in 2011, Heart Pine Waldorf School is a private nonprofit school located in East Gainesville. They are a part of a thriving local Waldorf community that has roots reaching back more than 35 years. Heart Pine serves the elementary grades first through fifth, while its sister school, Morning Meadow Preschool and Kindergarten, also located in East Gainesville, serves kindergarten and early childhood.
Heart Pine’s mission is to create a rich educational environment by honoring and serving the whole child, fostering spiritual development and working in harmony with the natural world. Their vision is to provide a conscious and inclusive education, inspiring students to reach their highest potential, and to build a community that renews and enriches the world.
At Heart Pine, everything is taught in a way that supports wholistic learning, which results in true understanding and the retention of lessons. Rather than the more common isolated left-brain learning, this teaching style is rich and dynamic. A child is more likely to retain information when learning takes place in both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
For example, a folk tale will be told early on that evokes emotion through imagination. The story is then taken into art, songs, plays and more. Through this story, the children will learn letters, words and sentences. Deeply understanding the story not only supports reading comprehension, but imparts wisdom and life-lessons contained in traditional tales. In this process-based approach, learning is taken as a whole, rather than teaching to specific, targeted objectives.
Holistic learning; “head, heart and hands”, is the foundation of Heart Pine. This type of education takes the child’s emotional, physical and spiritual well-being into consideration, not just their academic success. In a Waldorf classroom, everything is purposeful and offered in a way that inherently creates mindfulness.
Conscious communication and discipline are the norm in Waldorf education. The teachers speak to the children respectfully and compassionately with clear and organized direction. They learn each individual child’s temperament so that they can be more effective and understanding when communicating. The standard is for each teacher to follow their class through the grades, providing the comfort of continuity and establishing a genuine connection between teacher and student.
This is a stressful world, and the children’s senses are constantly being over stimulated.
More than ever, education like this is needed everywhere and for everyone. Children need a firm foundation to reach their highest potential. Waldorf education supports children in establishing this foundation and fosters a lifelong love of learning.
Austrian teacher and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founded the first Waldorf school in Germany in the early 20th century. He developed the principles of Waldorf education from an understanding of human development that address the needs of the growing child holistically. One hundred years later, there are more than 1,090 Waldorf grade schools in 64 countries, and 1,857 Waldorf kindergartens in more than 70 countries, including more than 250 schools in North America.
Steiner said, “Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.” Heart Pine Waldorf School strives to do just that.
For more information, call 352-260-6552 or visit HeartPineSchool.org.