Frequently Asked Questions
What is Waldorf Education and what makes it unique?
There are many essential elements of a Waldorf Education, but at its heart, the Waldorf method provides the right learning experience at the right time. This method works because it addresses the whole child—cognitive, social, and creative—and meets the needs of each individual through a challenging and multi-sensory environment that focuses on experiential learning. Learn More
What’s included in the Waldorf Curriculum?
Waldorf Education’s rich, high-quality curriculum is set by The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and interpreted and taught by teachers at Spring Garden Waldorf School. Waldorf curriculum includes Science, Spanish, Arithmetic, Writing, Reading, History, Social Studies, Gardening, Physical Education, Handwork, Woodwork, Drawing, Painting and Music. Learn More
What is a Typical School Day at Spring Garden?
In the Early Childhood program, rhythm and routine set the day, which includes creative play; circle time; ample outdoor time; a homemade, organic snack; then rest and more outdoor play.
For our Lower and Middle school students, each day begins with a personal greeting from their teacher followed by main lesson, a 90 minute to two-hour period of academic concentration (the time spent depending upon grade level). Main lessons are taught in three- to four-week blocks devoted to a particular subject such as humanities, math or science. After a snack and recess, students move on to their specialty classes, which include Spanish, Music, Handwork, Woodwork, Physical Education, Art, Gardening, and additional academic study or review.
What is Your Approach to Homework?
We like to say that 10 minutes per grade is an appropriate amount of homework for children. However, homework is not typically assigned until third grade at Spring Garden Waldorf School.
Homework should not be an unmanageable burden for our students or their families. It should be an age-appropriate opportunity to practice special skill sets, hone executive functioning skills, and work on projects that require more time that a typical day allows.
Why does the Teacher Move with the Students?
Looping teachers, as it is called, and keeping the class together for eight years lends social and academic cohesion and helps keep the focus on learning. Children learn by respecting and modeling authority figures. Keeping the class teacher (by no means the child’s only teacher) as a steady authority in a child’s life is beneficial to social and intellectual learning. This deeper relationships with students, parents and extended families helps our rich community thrive and studies show that a student’s relationship with their teacher is an essential function of learning. Learn more.
How Often Do Students Go Out for Recess?
Out to play three times a day for all of our students in all grades. The research is in on recess and outdoor time. Moving to learn and going outside in nature improves academic performance and increases wellbeing.
What is Your Schools Media Policy?
Our school, and Waldorf educators in general, believe that technology is an essential tool in 21st century life and work, but not the best way to teach subjects of study in grades 1-8. For children under the age of twelve, we believe the focus should remain on hands-on, experiential learning.
Studies show, that note taking by hand, writing mathematics problems on paper, reading from print books, moving in class, and making art and music all better support brain development when integrated into curriculum than using iPads or Chromebooks. Learn More
Do You Offer Tuition Assistance?
We are committed to making our school accessible to all families that value a Waldorf education. We strive to keep our annual tuition reasonable and offer financial aid packages to qualifying households. We also accept EdChoice scholarships. Learn More.
How Do Students Perform After Attending Spring Garden Waldorf School?
Spring Garden Waldorf School instills essentials like critical and creative thinking, intrinsic motivation, and a high level of lifelong curiosity. An independent five-year study of SGWS students’ IOWA test scores (conducted by the University of Akron) showed that Spring Garden Grade Eight students well outperformed their same-age and same-grade peers nationally who took the IOWA tests. 50% of SGWS Grade Eight students tested at a 13th grade equivalency, the grade level at which the IOWA test is capped. 75% of the students tested at least two grades above grade level.
Our alumni are equally impressive and include an award winning journalist, prominent economic researcher, National Park administrator, and so many more inspiring doctors, teachers, lawyers, filmmakers and more. Learn More
What is the Role of Community at Spring Garden?
Community involvement is a central tenet of Spring Garden Waldorf School as it is essential in helping develop creative, thoughtful and engaged students. Parents are asked to be active and engaged in our classrooms, festivals, school events, field trips and more.
How Do You Approach Science Instruction?
All sciences begin with simple nature experiences in kindergarten and the early grades, and advance with the study of chemistry, biology, botany, zoology and modern physics in middle school. The emphasis is on direct encounters with observable phenomena: “Describe what happened. Evaluate what you have observed. What are the conditions under which the phenomena appear? How does this relate to what you already know?” Then students are asked to think through the experiment and discover the natural law that stands behind and within the phenomena. Learn More
How Do You Approach Reading Instruction?
Our goal is to foster passionate readers who continue reading for pleasure throughout their lifetimes. To that end, we introduce reading in a developmentally appropriate way, when students are more comfortable with the written word and fully ready to engage. Early reading skills begin in early childhood as the students experience story telling full of rich language. They develop skills in comprehension and the ability to create a picture of the story in their mind as they listen, recall, and act out the stories. Decoding begins in first grade by teaching consonants and vowel names and sounds through an artistic approach of drawing, painting, movement, and speech. This artistic, deliberate process engages the children with great interest, and by the end of first grade, children are writing and reading sentences and short texts. Students typically begin reading printed readers with their teacher during the second half of second grade. Learn More
How is Spring Garden Waldorf School Governed?
Waldorf schools are self-administered under the guidance and accreditation of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Our school is the only Waldorf School in NE Ohio with full AWSNA accreditation.
Governance in a Waldorf school is made up of three major working groups: the Faculty, the Board, and Parents. The Administration coordinates the flow of information and resources between these three bodies. The form of leadership in Waldorf schools is republican, which means that smaller groups are empowered, through mandate, to carry out tasks determined by the larger bodies of the school.
These smaller groups, including committees, work within current policies or bring recommendations to the larger bodies of the school. Working committees are structured with representation from the Faculty, the Board, and Parents to ensure representative collaboration between the bodies of the school.
What Grade Levels Can Children Enroll?
We accept children at every grade level in our school with the exception of eighth grade and often have mid-year enrollment available. While there are sometimes waiting lists for enrollment, particularly in early childhood, we do our absolute best to offer enrollment in all grades at all times to qualified students.
One thing that is different about our school is the age requirement for enrolling in first grade. We require children turn six by June 1st of the year they are enrolling in Grade 1.
What does Spring Garden offer for Educational Support?
Remedial and intervention services at SGWS are provided by member of the Educational Support Team (EST). The EST is made up of the Academic Tutor, Extra Lesson Teacher, and Speech and Language Pathologist. This team works in collaboration with teachers, parents, and outside service providers to develop and implement accommodations to support the academic success of all students. Accommodations may include modifications within the classroom, strategies and techniques implemented by the classroom teachers, and interventions by EST members. Parent permission is needed before any child can work with the EST, and the EST and the student’s teacher will monitor the student’s progress and the effectiveness of the accommodations and communicate this to the student’s parents.