Reflection on the Parent Information Session

I love hearing the old stories. The stories about the teachers and parents who came before my time. Who fervently wished, worked and carried a flame for our school. During the first phase of our school, a new group of Class 1s entering the school meant building a new classroom! Reading the stories written down by a founding parent who went on to become one of our founding teachers, Cindy Diane-Cornish, has been fascinating. She writes of forming a College of Teachers for the very first time… of pioneering the school on many basic levels and of having to be very resourceful.

Over the last while a few parents and staff members told me of the facilitated sessions they participated in, to get clarity on the kind of school they were wanting to build. And of realising in the midst of these sessions that they wanted – very specifically – a true Waldorf school based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner.

On 1 September 2014 we signed the sale agreement for our new land. Many, many negotiations and processes brought about a beautiful, heartfelt moment whilst everyone gathered under the big tree to see a few Board and College Members sign the documents for the sale.

In this greatly shortened version of our bigger story, last Tuesday’s Parent Information Session felt to me to be the start of a new phase of working together towards the vision of a permanent home for Imhoff Waldorf School.

Steiner’s intention was for Waldorf schools to be a force for social change and ultimately a model for society. My understanding is that the threefold organisation he suggested and described implies a living, learning organisation that mirrors the threefold human being on which our pedagogy is based. It is an organisation more like a biological network, than a top-down structure.

What I loved hearing last Tuesday was the underlying commitment I could sense in the comments of concern. I further heard that our school and the children’s education here at Imhoff mattered greatly to all those that were present. Hidden in all the comments, I heard the telling, underlying values of people drawn to a Waldorf School – just beautiful. I felt a strong willingness to stay engaged from the parents that were present and an appetite for the journey ahead.  We are going to need that.

It is clear that we have all been called to this place, to this beautiful school. And I know that if we allow it, that there is much for us to learn whilst we are together.

“It is important for Waldorf schools to remember their social mission. The education must manifest an administrative structure that is developed directly out of the curriculum or pedagogy, which in turn is developed out of an understanding of the need for social renewal.” (Rea Taylor Gill, A School as a Living Entity)

Ester Ruttmann, Afrikaans and craft teacher