Early childhood through grade 12

Hawthorne Valley Association

It was a boon on Thursday afternoon to have the sun shining down after several days of cold and gray. Some of the students went up to Fire Pond to investigate all of the new signs of spring. They found some lovely wildflowers and were very careful to admire them from afar; the children spotted a big bullfrog and a tiny little baby painted turtle. The joy in their voices as they stood and admired the natural wonder—this is what fills our hearts as teachers!

It’s always at this time of year—the weeks between Spring Break and the last day of school—that teachers know to be a flurry of activity, even among the aforementioned stolen moments of reverence and awe. Around campus, the Senior Class is preparing for their Senior Project Presentations and the May Day Celebration songs are being sung while the rainbow ribbons fly as the children practice dancing around the Maypole. The welcoming of spring and all of the varied beauty that the season brings, along with the coming “breathing out” of summer on the horizon make our campus a particularly special place that is buzzing with energy this time of year.

The holding of the day-to-day activities that make up the life of Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School is truly a labor of love. Each day, teachers and staff come to school to create a place where the children can feel safe, respected, loved, and understood in so that they will learn with the kind of vigor and excitement that make Waldorf Education so special. Waldorf pedagogy has such depth and meaning imbedded within the curriculum; creating a school environment that is conducive to a life-long desire to keep learning and to feel inspired by moments of nature and moments of togetherness is the icing on the Waldorf cake!

It never ceases to amaze me (and I believe I can speak for all of the teachers when saying so) how this education is fertile soil for those moments of awe and reverence. Those moments—like the one I mentioned above when children are momentarily mesmerized by the unfolding of the changing seasons or when their hearts are filled with joy by accomplishing a learning task such as the Senior Projects or the joy that comes from dancing around the Maypole—help to create life-long learners that come to see the world as a place, even with the burdens of modern life, as a place to experience joy and beauty.

Written by Meaghan McKenna, Grade 3 Class Teacher & Lower School Chair