Waldorf Schools Feed the Mind, Heart and Soul of a Gifted Child Parents of gifted kids who are concerned with their children’s lack of challenge in the elementary school years should consider a Waldorf school. Without the need for pull-outs or acceleration, gifted kids will be fully engaged in a regular Waldorf classroom. The content of the lessons draws on the essential knowledge that underlies all the branches of learning. The material is presented by the teacher with story, song, demonstrations and active participation. The children process what they’ve learned and retell and illustrate it in books they create at the level of complexity that they can handle. Writing and drawing becomes as fluid and expressive as oral speech. Children are given regular opportunities to act in class productions, recite poetry and create oral presentations, growing over time in self-confidence and poise. All children sing daily, play the recorder daily, study a stringed instrument and foreign languages, learn handwork and practice movement education. Two periods of outdoor recess enable children to move freely and take a mental and emotional break. For gifted kids who may excel academically but not in activities that require fine motor skills, visual-spatial perception and coordination, the Waldorf curriculum provides daily developmental challenges that help children overcome weaknesses as well as hone their strengths. In a joyful and relaxed environment, Waldorf educators promote the child’s well-being and healthy development in all dimensions: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Ideally, a child will have one teacher from 1st through 8th grade in a Waldorf school. A parent with an open mind willing to work with a Waldorf teacher will find a knowledgeable, impassioned and committed partner devoted to helping each child’s talents unfold over time. The rich content of daily lessons, the variety of activities in each day’s schedule and the encouragement of imagination, curiosity and self-expression all ensure that the gifted child will be challenged and engaged in a Waldorf classroom. Curiosity and love of learning will remain unquenched as the heart and soul of a gifted child is fed.
Why did we choose a Waldorf education? …. for the truth and beauty and results of the life-long benefits it will bring to our children. Cultures have always taught through the arts, movement, activities, and stories; it is how learning comes alive and social skills take hold and flourish. Waldorf education remains rich with academics, arts & music, socialization and respect for our natural world. A great education is one of the most powerful and important gifts we can give our children – it is a legacy.
Our children have attended Da Vinci Waldorf School for 5 years. Their experiences have inspired them to excel academically and have a real love of learning. They have been taught Spanish and German since Grade 1, been encouraged to play outside, been musicians since they were in preschool and have a reverence for life that I don’t see in our culture as often as I wish. If you want to have your children exceed and love school- this is the place.
Professor Gary Saul Morson is the parent of an 8th grade student at Da Vinci Waldorf School. He has held two chairs at Northwestern University, including the Charles Deering McCormick Professorship of Teaching Excellence. Professor Morson was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995. For nearly forty years, my life has been devoted to education, teaching Russian literature and other classics of world literature to undergraduates and graduate students at Northwestern University and at the University of Pennsylvania. As you would expect, my own children’s education has been of vital concern to me. Over the years, my two children experienced public schools, private schools (including a school for the gifted) and homeschooling. Nowhere did we find as comprehensive and stimulating an approach to education as we have in Waldorf schools. Through my own direct experience as a parent over the last five years, I can attest that Waldorf teachers dedicate themselves to their students’ education and help children reach their full potential as well-rounded people. Waldorf teachers love learning and are able to share their enthusiasm in a way that is absent from too many classrooms today. Students are exposed to an academically rigorous program in a way that makes learning fun. The Waldorf curriculum provides a remarkable education for children. The early childhood program provides the foundation that children need most for later educational excellence: curiosity about the world, a habit of exploration and a well-developed imagination. For five years, my son has received an exceptional education at Da Vinci Waldorf School. I have been impressed by the thoughtfulness with which the curriculum has been put together and with how engaging it makes advanced material. He has developed a deep trust and admiration for his teacher, who is exceptionally talented and inspiring in her approach. Few elementary schools provide the range of subjects and the depth of understanding fostered by the Waldorf curriculum, which includes foreign languages, mathematics, science, history, geography, literature, composition, spelling, grammar, art and music. In my field of expertise, language and literature, the lessons are simply remarkable, beyond my highest hopes. In addition, two periods daily of active outdoor play, movement class, handwork and other practical skills ensure that children develop the full range of skills needed for a healthy life. Moral education is a fundamental concern and is addressed thoroughly and in a non-sectarian way. I only wish our son had started as a Waldorf student in preschool and that his sister, now a Northwestern honors student, had attended a Waldorf school, too. We had some misconceptions that kept us from pursuing the Waldorf option for our older child and for our son until the fourth grade. We really should have investigated directly and much earlier. Da Vinci Waldorf School is a splendid investment for a child’s education, future success, and happiness.
Our children are very happy at this school. The class sizes are small, the programs appropriate, and teachers are inspiring. The preschool/kindergarten is 4 hours which allows me enough time to return home or run errands. Waldorf education is based on a philosophy that children learn and develop best in a warm, nurturing and natural environment. Academics are subtle in the preschool- no ABC’s posted up or videos playing- but real life activities that require use of the body and mind. Children are daily counting place settings, using rhyming and movement, hearing and repeating the rich vocabulary of song and story. Children have plenty of time for pretend play and outdoor play.
My children have been attending DVWS for three years. They are healthy, happy, and excited to go to school each day. The grade school curriculum meets their developmental needs. While reading was later than friends in public school, my oldest went right into chapter books within a few months of independent reading. The music and art programs give my boys a way to be creative, which they love.
Da Vinci Waldorf is more than a school for my two children. It is a place where we have found a community of friends and teachers with whom we share a passion for academic excellence in an environment that preserves the children’s innocence, accentuates their creativity and imagination, and inspires a profound reverence for human kind and nature. We embarked on this journey four years ago after informing ourselves about Waldorf education. We are confident that this unique and holistic educational approach is what our children need. I often think and have heard from other parents at Da Vinci Waldorf how lucky our children are for being immersed in such a magical and unique program. Many have said that they wish they had had the opportunity to attend a Waldorf school. Everyday I witness how creative and imaginative my daughters have become. They often play and invent or retell stories and songs using simple objects (silks, rocks, wood, water, leaves and soil) both indoors and outdoors. We as parents are committed to help and guide our children to develop their full potential in life and face the world with an open mind and heart. This school and its community are without a doubt our best allies to achieve this priceless goal.
My son is in the 3rd grade at Da Vinci Waldorf and is new to the school this year. He has transitioned wonderfully. He enjoys school and looks forward to going each day. At the end of the day he gets in the car and seems as “fresh” as he did when I dropped him off in the morning. He is not tired or overwrought and seems genuinely happy. I am very glad we chose Da Vinci Waldorf for him, and we are planning on sending our two daughters next year. Thanks, Da Vinci Waldorf , for doing what you do!
Da Vinci Waldorf is am amazing school!!! I have children from 11-26.. and I have been involved in many different schools… never have I wanted to turn back the clock so that I could start all over.. the way children are taught in this wonderful school blows me away!!! They are truly teaching the whole child…
We have 2 children in the grades and 1 in preschool and are so pleased with the education and environment. The children are happy, content and want to go to school each day! The teachers are wonderful in who they are and as educators. I love recommending this school; it is the type of education I wish I could have had myself!
Da Vinci Waldorf School is a wonderful little school in Wauconda, IL. It was a difficult decision to move our 3 children out of public school, but we have never regretted it. The children are much more relaxed and creative. They actually like to learn.