At this time of each year an important gathering of our Kindergarten and Primary School teachers takes place. Our newly appointed Class 1 teacher (Shelby Hadwen) is an integral part of this meeting as we focus our attention on the newly forming ‘constellation’ of little stars who will become the Class 1 group of 2018.
This year’s gathering of teachers took me back to November 2012 when I was the newly appointed Class 1 teacher, visiting each of our three Kindergarten classes to meet the 6 year-old children who looked up at me from their snack table. The openness, joy, wonder, enthusiasm and excitement that shone in their faces rekindled my passion and commitment as a Waldorf Class teacher.
Now, after 5 incredibly special years of journeying together, I can truly say that those enlivening characteristics that formed my first impressions of my new 2013 Imhoff Waldorf school class 1, still live strongly in each of those same children who are now 11 and 12 years old.
There is something so unique in the nature of our Imhoff Waldorf School where all of our children intermingle, sharing a campus and playground that nurtures imaginative play and contributes to preserving the essential joyful qualities of childhood. I am always incredibly proud of the warmth created by our teachers who can turn simple wooden classrooms into spaces of wonder with the children’s rich work displayed on the walls and classic Waldorf chalkboard drawings accompanying every creative lesson.
So many images immediately come to mind – extraordinary class plays performed in our movement room that magically transforms into a theatre; the entire school (including 3 year-olds) that can line-up for fire drill practice in under 5 minutes; the unspoken rules that pass on from child to child about the ethic of waiting your turn to swing off the big tree; children stopping to feed the goats on their way to and from school; older classes skipping with joy alongside the younger children… and many more treasured memories of my own class that I will carry with me into my retirement.
The striving of a Waldorf Primary school teacher is: “That each primary school child needs to develop capacities (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) which will serve him or her throughout life.” As we have journeyed through the rich Waldorf Curriculum, crossing each developmental threshold from Class 1 to Class 5, my inner striving as a teacher has been strengthened by the extremely supportive parent body of my class and I trust that the foundations of confidence, ability and initiative have been developed in each child through our combined efforts as we have held the children together in a co-teaching/co-parenting relationship.
Our last class camp (described in this Indaba) was held at my farm in the Cederberg Mountains where I will rebuild my home that burned to the ground in 2012. Although retiring, I will remain in contact with my class and the school whilst mentoring Sandra Le Blanc – our new Class 6 teacher. What an exciting phase we are approaching as the roadway to our new school is being laid. I am very pleased that I can remain on as an independent member of our Board of Management as our school transitions onto our own land and into the specially designed new classrooms that will maintain the unique character of Imhoff Waldorf School into the future.
by Glenda Capra