Hello. My name is Meredith.
My path to Waldorf Education, like that of so many teachers, is the result of a collection of fortunate circumstances. When my son was young, a neighbor invited us to a Michaelmas festival at the local Waldorf school. I was moved and inspired and from the moment I stepped on the campus I could tell there was something very special about the place. When I asked my friend for more information she loaned me her copy of You Are Your Child’s First Teacher. This well-timed read inspired the teacher in my heart, just as I was preparing to graduate from the University of California at Santa Cruz. In the fall after graduation, I moved to San Francisco, enrolled in the San Francisco Waldorf Teacher Training, directed by Dorit Winter, and began an intensely satisfying study of Anthroposophy.
After two years in San Francisco, my then-husband and I and our two children moved to Washington state. When my third child was a little over a year old I enrolled in the Sound Circle Center Teacher Training in Seattle. Little did I know that this practical, hands-on, creativity-inspiring training would be the perfect complement to the intense academic study of anthroposophy I’d engaged in while in San Francisco. Along the way I taught preschool in my home with a small group of little ones, including my own three.
After completing my training I began teaching a dynamic group of fifth graders at our local Waldorf school. I carried them through the middle school years and to their graduation. These four years made up some of the richest experiences of my life as I engaged in ideas and activities that never would have come my way otherwise. During these years I became the Queen of Sparta, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and Harriet Tubman. I discovered how seeds sprout and where rocks come from. I invented the compass, the camera obscura and the bathysphere. I went on backpacking trips, hoisted sails on a historic schooner, and directed four successful plays. My powers of observation and my understanding of child development grew thanks to the unique individualities of my students. Through it all, I never felt so alive.
After graduating that group I took on a new class and I am currently working my way through those upper grades once again.
When I first began teaching at a Waldorf school I was struck by the helpfulness of all of the resources that my fellow colleagues shared with me. As is done in most Waldorf schools, the teacher of the grade ahead of me met with me over the summer and shared her thoughts and opinions. She let me know what worked, what didn’t, and what she would do differently if she had it to do all over again.
In addition to the advice based on her experience, she passed along a box of books and documents that contained the secret to the year’s curriculum. Each summer this box felt like a treasure to me and I sorted through it with great enthusiasm, filling with inspiration along the way.
Having been part of the Waldorf homeschooling community since my children were small, throughout my teaching I’ve often thought about this group of ambitious mothers and fathers who are working so hard to bring this fantastic education to their children at home. I couldn’t imagine trying to bring the gifts of Waldorf to children without the support of my training and my colleagues, but these dedicated parents accomplish this phenomenal task every day and their lives are more inspired for their efforts. I often thought how much easier and richer their homeschooling experiences would be if they had the advantage of the resources that were available to me.
With this in mind, I am happy to offer my first attempt at providing a mentoring experience to teachers and homeschoolers. For now my guides will cover just the upper grades, beginning with grade five and adding a new grade each summer (after I finish teaching it.) During the school year I will blog about the experiences my students and I have together.
I hope these materials provide teachers with excitement, enthusiasm and plenty of inspiration.