Portland’s South Waterfront is home to many alternative approaches to education, and if you’re interested in providing your child with a Waldorf education, Cedarwood Waldorf School is currently accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year. Cedarwood is an independent, private school that is accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). It has a Developing School membership, which “is for a youthful school with early childhood and grade school programs” with “a three-year plan to guide the school in its development,” according to the AWSNA website.
The Waldorf approach is a humanistic one based on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner. The education focuses on practical, hands-on activities and creative play in the early years; artistic expression, social capacities, and creative and analytical modes of understanding in the elementary years; and critical understanding and idealism in the secondary years. Each program lasts about seven years, and each approach stresses the role of the imagination and the ability to integrate academic, practical, and artistic pursuits, with the goal of developing free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals who have a high degree of social competence. Most schools have a high degree of autonomy to decide how best to construct their curricula and govern themselves, and therefore are self-administered, as is Cedarwood.
The Cedarwood curriculum uses painting, music, and story as integral parts of their academic lessons “so that art becomes a conduit of knowledge, not an optional add-on” (http://www.cedarwoodschool.org/about/). The curriculum incorporates the kinesthetic learning of movement and crafts into the mix as well, and it cultivates a love of and respect for nature through seasonal celebrations and daily outdoor activities.
When Cedarwood opened in October 1997, it had one teacher and four students, and it has grown into a thriving program with over 280 students and a wide range of classes. They have also recently completed a newly renovated wing on their building, which added two new classrooms, a community kitchen, a faculty room, a performance space, an art display hall, and a music room to the building.
If you are interested in enrolling your child at Cedarwood, visit their website to download their application, request more information, or visit their calendar to schedule a visit.