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Why Waldorf? (Part 8 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Maria Fitzgerald, who grew up in Honduras, came to the US for college, and joined Green Meadow in 2014 as our Lower School Spanish Teacher.

Click on the title of this post to see a photo of the Fitzgerald family.

When we chose Green Meadow in 2014, we knew we were joining a well established Waldorf school that would provide our two daughters with the educational setting we were looking for. What we did not know was that we would become a part of something much bigger than a school. 

In three years, we have become part of a community that gives our children a sense of belonging, of safety and trust, of love, beauty, friendship and generosity. Just last week, after both of our girls spent the morning up at the farm watching sheep get sheared, we spent the afternoon in the music room at a benefit for Syrian refugees, which was organized by the High School Student Council and Student Activism Club. We were inspired by musicians, artists, poets, and activists, and it was wonderful to watch our daughters waving enthusiastically at the 8th graders and the high school students, calling them out by name to get their attention (you see, to them these upper grades students are akin to pop stars).

Last week, our daughters spent a late evening (in their pajamas) at Rose Hall while watching the 7th and 8th grades perform Fiddler on the Roof, which blew us all away. The week before that they had the pleasure of sharing their school with their grandmother at Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day. 

Our daughters are getting a beautifully rich and developmentally appropriate curriculum, taught by dedicated teachers whom we love and respect. We do not take this for granted, and we are grateful every day for this place we call "school." We took a leap of faith moving to New Jersey from North Carolina, in large part because of Green Meadow.  Now, when we see the human beings both of our daughters are becoming, we can say with confidence that we are exactly where we need to be.  

Why Waldorf? (Part 3 in a series)

In this series, we have been introducing you every week to a teacher, parent, or student who shares something about why they love Green Meadow and Waldorf Education. Today we hear from Maskit Ronen, Life Sciences teacher in the High School, and mom to four children in the school.

The science curriculum in the High School is designed to meet the needs and interests of the students, which change and expand every year. I love that all the students learn the basic concepts of different sciences, regardless of the path they are going to take in life. Since I teach some of the life sciences and earth sciences curriculum in each grade, I can introduce a topic in 9th Grade, give the students some knowledge about it, and then revisit the same ideas and expand on them the following years. This spiraling back and deepening methodology helps the students integrate new ideas with previous ones, which increases their ability to then apply their accumulated knowledge to real-life situations.

I am lucky to be able to observe and address the students’ thirst for facts in the 9th Grade, followed by their need to better understand processes in 10th Grade, then by their interest in causality and hidden forces behind these processes in their junior year. When I meet the seniors in the Fall of their last year in high school, their interest in who they are becoming and how they fit into the world around them is palpable. The curriculum meets these needs with a wider look at the Animal Kingdom, and explorations of ideas such as natural selection, philosophy, architecture, and modern history. As with any group of young adults, there are struggles along the way, but the enthusiasm our students have towards the future keeps me hopeful and motivated and makes it all worth the effort.