Testimonials

tirzah

After graduating from Shining Mountain in 2005, I was excited to leave the small comfort of community and family, and also scared to death. I decided to pursue a bachelors degree in sociology and women’s studies at Manhattanville College, in New York!  After a few weeks of crying on the phone to my parents, I jumped into college life head first. I became a president of a dance club, volunteerd with at-risk teens, and put on the biggest event in the schools history. When I graduated from college in 2009, I felt that same mixture of accomplishment, excitement, panic and fear. I was now shedding the comfort of my “student” identity. I moved into my first apartment in Queens, New York, and worked in a special education high school as a teacher’s assistant. I then decided to pursue my Masters degree in Social Work at New York University, where I gained valuable experince in the field. When I completed the program, I felt like life had just become very real! After 7 months of the job search roller coaster, I landed an amazing position working as a Supervising Social Worker in a Domestic Violence Shelter. I am extremely passionate about supporting survivors of violence, and feel I am exactly where I am meant to be!  Being a Waldorf student shaped me ino the person I am today, and instilled in me the confidence to meet the world head on, create opportunities and accomplish my goals.  – Tirzah Stein, class of 2005


 

After thirteen years at Shining Mountain, I entered college with some nervousness. I got in to my top school – Barnard College, but wondered how I would fare. I knew that my education had been very different, and I was not sure how this would ‘translate’ into the ‘real world’. Well, it translated just fine! My first college semester was one of integration; learning the university system and how everything worked. My grades were good, and only went up after that: I made the Dean’s List every semester after the first. 

My initial nervousness about ‘fitting in to the real world’ soon vanished as I realized that the world I had within me was much more real and valuable than the materialistic, urban chaos of New York City that buzzed around me. And it still is. In retrospect, I look at the friends I made during my college career, and see that they are people of depth, breadth and heart. Although they did not attend a Waldorf School, they all share qualities of a Waldorf graduate. They are seekers of truth, high achievers in their respective fields, committed to helping others and the world, humanitarians of mind, heart and spirit. 

I feel richer having gone to a Waldorf school; richer in life experience and soul, with a keener ability than many around me to penetrate into the truth and heart of the matter. I do not write this with ego, rather an awareness of self and an awareness of the similar beings whom I choose to surround myself with. 

I have lived in many a metropolis since my time at SMWS, and have tried on a few careers, resting now in the career of Waldorf Teacher at Highland Hall in their high school as English and Drama teacher. I love the Waldorf world so much that I have returned. 

The words, in essence, that I feel sum up a Waldorf graduate are: clear sighted, full hearted, well rounded, awakened students and adventurers of Life. – Nita Mickley Davanzo, Alumna,  Class of 1999


 

I have been part of 4 different Waldorf communities over the last 10 years and Shining Mountain is by far the best in terms of organization, resources for children and adult education. Not only do my children feel supported and cared for but as a parent I feel the same way. The curriculum supports each child as they grow into themselves and wake up into the world by using the arts, outdoor play and academics to challenge and inspire learning. The creativity, respect and love of learning is evident in my children and I look forward to seeing how they will help shift and change the world one day. Waldorf students have an opportunity to not only have an outstanding academic education, but a life education and learn who they are in our vast and fast paced society. – Kate, current parent



grace1After graduating from Shining Mountain in 2009, I briefly attended Loyola Marymount University in L.A. Though I valued my experience there, it wasn’t long before I realized that LMU wasn’t the best fit for me and made the decision to transfer to DU. After the initial transition of transferring schools, everything began to fall into place. Because I had always known that I would pursue a career in counseling and human services, I became interested in a 3/2 program that would allow me to “fast-track” towards that goal. I finished my undergraduate degree in three years with a double major in Psychology and Sociology, and am now in my 4th year at DU (Denver University) working towards my master’s degree at the Graduate School of Social Work. In addition to completing my MSW in the following year, I have been accepted as a student and intern to an intensive Marriage and Family Training program at the Denver Family Institute where I hope to gain the skills and experience to become the best therapist possible.

I truly believe that my experience as a Waldorf student at SMWS was a main driving force that has shaped the individual I am today, and who I continue to become. It not only provided a groundwork from which to grow academically, but more importantly Shining Mountain instilled in me a personal confidence, sense of self, and a much expanded life perspective that has profoundly influenced my academic experiences, interpersonal connections, and understanding of my personal potential and place in this world.
– Grace Stein, alumna

 


 

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As I was working on my science project today where I go back and look at what my science instruction looked like over my lifetime, I realized that SMWS (and Waldorf in general) does A LOT of science!! In fact, the science curriculum seems much richer than that of public school. I only mention this because there are parents who come to the school and worry that their children won’t get the same, quality science instruction at SMWS as they would at public school. However, they are wrong in most cases (each teacher is different in their abilities and expertise).  I believe potential parents should know that their child is getting a phenomenal education all around in a Waldorf school. 

– Amalinde Baker, Alumna




I remember feeling so alone and self-conscious in the public school because I struggled with the premature pressure to learn to read.  I went to “Pre-First” (an experimental program that was discontinued) at the public school after failing the test to get into First Grade and then transferred to Shining Mountain. The stark contrast I experienced strongly influenced my life’s work in becoming a Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher.

 I have a childhood full of nourishing memories I attribute to Shining Mountain like the smell of beeswax and freshly cut pine boughs and the magical world of color that emerged while watercolor painting. My class teacher, Dawn Diehl greeted me every morning with a warm, welcoming smile and a firm handshake. She was always brimming with enthusiasm for life and learning.  The stories she told came alive. Mrs. Diehl inspired us to care about the quality of our schoolwork. She brought beauty and love into education.

 David Mitchell, my high school class sponsor, had a larger than life personality and we respected him for his life experience and inspiring accomplishments (He received a full scholarship to Harvard, played professional football, and was a Green Beret to name a few).  He too was enthusiastic and brought humor to his teaching and made science fun and interesting.

 I admired my Spanish teacher Claude Baud, who was also our class sponsor. He shared his love of cooking by teaching us how to prepare a meal on occasion. I admired his courage for traveling around the world with a backpack and no extra money except what he made along the way.  He was a wonderful male role model, a loving father figure to all of us (my dear friend and classmate had him walk her down the aisle). 

 The relationships that were nurtured at Shining Mountain supported by the beauty of festival life cultivated lifelong friendships. I maintain frequent contact with the majority of my classmates and teachers.  They are my extended family. I am so happy for my niece who recently joined the SMWS family and is flourishing there.  The transformation in her behavior and sense of well-being is astounding. She “loves” school! – Karen Glas, alumna and Waldorf Kindergarten Teacher




I graduated from SMWS in 1998, in the third graduating class, having been accepted into the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. I deferred enrollment and absorbed an amazing year in which I traveled to Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, spent a significant time in Italy, worked my first commercial trips rowing a boat through the Grand Canyon, and attended the inspiring Valley of the Moon fiddle camp for the first time (an annual tradition since). At RISD, I earned a BFA in Industrial Design and returned to Italy for my Junior year, based in Rome with the school’s European Honors Program. After design school finished in 2003, I made many trips to Ireland, till I finally moved there for a year in 2008 to immerse myself in the musical tradition with my fiddle. I had begun my freelance career as musician, artist and designer.

I loved my time at Shining Mountain. I am very grateful to my parents, who actually moved to Boulder to put my sister and me in the school. I had many wonderful and inspiring teachers who engaged and affirmed me — thank you to all of you. Thank you to Patricia Sexton for being the one to first point me toward RISD! Thank you also to David Mitchell for being a fiery beacon of passion and modeling for me a multi-creative scholarship that would impress a Renaissance court.

I now live and work in North Boulder, just a few blocks from the school. I do graphic design, web development and illustration. The idea is that I “leverage whole-brain synchrony to create consistently magical user experience” — a fancy way of saying that I went to a Waldorf school, grew up in the mountains and was breast-fed. I feel blessed to make my living working for people I love, doing the things I love. I am passionate about helping others achieve their creative dreams, and much of my work focuses around that theme. You can get a feeling for my creative work here: www.adamagee.com. Relevant to our community, I got to create the illustrations for Donald Samson’s The Star Trilogy books, as well as his new 5th grade reader, At the Hot Gates. I also teach and perform traditional Irish fiddle —  right here in the neighborhood! My buddy Jon Sousa played at the Holiday Bazaar Shopping Soiree with me this year, and every other Friday morning from 8:00-10:00 we play at Spruce Confections, (Broadway and Yellowpine). Come by and say hi. I would love to see you! – Adam Agee, Alumni




The coming of Autumn in Boulder, heralded by the magnificence of the golden and crimson trees, and the SMWS celebration of Michaelmas, mark the anniversary of the quest that brought my family to Boulder and of our discovery of Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Not all schools are created equally; it took us years to find our way to SMWS. We are part of that 35% of families at SMWS who relocated to Boulder for THIS school. We’ve left behind our families and friends but that’s o.k. because this school is our family now. For our family this school has meant the difference between struggle and success, between being ostracized and fitting in. Shining Mountain is the place where our whole family and our values shine. This is the place where we come together as parents, students and faculty to envision a future of capable, thinking, caring, active and involved adults. We gather together for meetings and festivals. We share our dreams and our frustrations. We are invested in our school and in our community because with 75% of our school population living within Boulder- we ARE a community school. We are diverse and unique adults with strong voices and opinions, just like we encourage our children to be. This school community is the place that meets our children’s needs. It is a place for discussion, for sharing stories, for problem solving, and for finding accommodation to individual needs. Our strength lies in our unique abilities and gifts. We’re very lucky and blessed to be able to provide this for our children and it is because of this belief that I volunteer my time, attend class meetings and festivals. This is my village. – Deb Kelner, current parent


Our four-year-old daughter has attended Shining Mountain two years in a row and we are thrilled both with the loving environment here as well as the positive changes we’ve seen in her since she began attending. She loves to go to school every morning! Her teacher is an amazingly sweet and loving woman who is great with children and very knowledgable about early childhood education. We enjoy the environment and community that Shining Mountain creates and suggest it to anyone looking for a wholesome ECE experience for their little ones– Claire Redmer




My 8th grade son just finished Cross Country season at SMWS. It was the most powerful experience! SMWS follows the PCA (Positive Coach Alliance) and Double Goal Coaching protocol in team sports. The focus is personal growth, being a team player and having fun. It’s fabulous and I’m so grateful we have this in addition to all the other wonderful curriculum, festivals, teachers and Waldorf philosophy! – Katerina, current parent


When it was time to choose a school for our son, we looked at almost every school in Boulder County.  We found it a confusing search so we decided on 3 elements that we were looking for in a school.   1) A focus on emotional intelligence as well as IQ  2)  A knowledge of how to work with very active boys without labels and medications (because we had one.)  3)  An approach that would cultivate a child’s natural curiosity and interest in the world  We didn’t know anything about Waldorf education but when we toured the school my husband and I kept tearing up as we experienced the environment that they had created and how they saw and worked with children.  Our son wanted to go to the neighborhood school where his best friend was going and asked why he was going to Shining Moutain.  I could honestly say to him it is because it is the school with the most magic.  

 It was a big change for us as they asked us to change our son’s bedtime to 7:00, develop more routines, slow down, and stop all screens (TV, video, computer, etc.)  His teacher promised us that we would see behavior changes and almost immediately he became calmer, his voice became higher and sweeter, he started singing as he played, and he became more independent.  This sweet boy was the same rough boy that only 3 months previously had gotten in trouble for hitting other children in preschool.  He was being invited to playdates for a 2nd time, something that had never happened.  It was truly a miraculous turn around.

 We took our son out of school during the 7th grade, rented our home and traveled around the U.S.  We educated him in museums, civil war fields, and National Parks.  He came into contact with adults constantly and they always spoke about our son’s curiosity, how he looked them in the eye and was eager to talk. 

Our son is now in high school at Shining Mountain and Waldorf has been a wonderful choice for him.  He shakes his advisor’s hand every day and his teachers have known him since he was 5 yrs old.  Every teacher not only knows each child but also the parents.  In the scary world of today, I’m so appreciative that the children and the parents agree to a drug free teenage community and I know the families and young adults with whom my child is spending time.  I also know that my child will have a good sense of what his gifts and talents are as he exits schools and how he wants to give those to the world.  Waldorf has met and exceeded our expectations of what we were looking for in a school.  – Barb E., current parent




Well the magic started for our family when the summer camp we had signed up for was cancelled in the summer of 2011. I had heard about Shining Mountain in the past and thought sure, why not…a camp that our girls can both attend during the same time frame was my intent. And then it began! The morning of the first day of summer camp we felt it walking on to campus. It was a dreamy and serene and peace-filled atmosphere beyond our description. My little girls, Emma(7) and Lily(3) felt it too. At the end of the first week of summer camp they begged me to do one more..and just for the record we are very protective our our time together and at first I could barely handle the idea of having them away for a week during summer break! I quickly agreed and their second week of camp was as delightful as the first.I noticed that we all spoke a little sweeter, walked a little more slowly..what was it about this place??

 Fast forward two months to the beginning of the school year…we began the school year at the school Emma had attended since she was two. As the start of the year wore on, there was this pull, this instinct that continued to say we should turn our family in the direction of Shining Mountain. So after some tough conversations with friends and staff at the school we began the process to transfer to Shining Mountain. I remember my husband and I both in tears during the Shining Mountain school tour and the Halloween Wonder Walk..both looking at each other and wondering why we were weeping!(As it turns out I have wept at every single festival and assembly since!!)

 I remember in the interview with the Kindergarden angels( I mean teachers:) telling Miss Cherie we planned to move the girls to Shining Mountain in January..it was mid October..and she looked at me like a sad puppy dog! I now know why she wanted us there right away as all of the amazing festivals were beginning and how could we miss them??Another thing that melted my heart is that Miss Cherie and my youngest daughter Lily had fallen in love with one-another during the two weeks they spent at summer camp. And when I told Miss Cherie we were applying for enrollment she mentioned she had held Lily in her heart since summer.

 The girls began the week of November 7th. I will never forget it. It was transitionless..they never looked back, uttered one word about their other school or expressed stress from a transition. In our home life it felt as if we had been walking into the tide all along and now the tide was gently flowing at our backs. The relief I have felt in this past twelve months is inexplicable. To be surrounded by like-minded, conscientious, HAPPY people is what I have dreamt of my whole life. Each week has felt like a blessing and now I just feel like we are part of this enormous warmth filled family. We have found our tribe and I am soooo relieved. My husband and I both have families that do not understand our lifestyle and parenting methods and at time criticize it intensely. Shining Mountain has provided a safe haven in so many ways. 

 Shining Mountain will be our forever school. It is so much more than a place that we drop our girls off to learn each day. It is a place I am excited to be. A place where I am motivated, moved and inspired to volunteer and be a part of the rich atmosphere it creates. It is a place in which I honor deeply the commitment it takes from every individual taking part to create such a mindfully governed and well oiled machine that Shining Mountain so clearly has become. It has become the center of our household..it has improved the quality and depth of our family, our traditions and our mindset around how we want to raise our children and what kind of adults we want to be in this world. I could go on and on..the blessings seem endless.

 I have always been a pioneer of sorts, choosing paths that are different than people have outlined for me..sometimes at the expense of close relationships. This decision has been the best we have followed and know we will be blessed for oodles of years to come! – Jennifer Towle, current parent



I have attended various Waldorf Schools throughout my childhood as my parents moved quite a bit. I have been to Pine Hill in NH, Tübinger Freie Waldorfschule in Germany, and Shining Mountain Waldorf School here in Boulder. Moving from country to country can be very difficult, but the continuity of the daily routine was instrumental in helping me transition from culture to culture. When I had my son, it was very clear to me that Shining Mountain was the school for us. I love the community, the teachers, and the philosophy.  I graduated magna cum laude from Colorado State University, and attended CU Boulder for a while. When I mentioned that I had attended a Waldorf school to my professors, a number of them remarked that you can often pick out students from Waldorf schools since they are taught to think, not just to absorb information and regurgitate it on a test.
– Sarah Altgelt, alumna and current parent




We chose Shining Mountain because of the deep commitment everyone has to the school and the children.  We started at our local public school but could see the negative impact immediately on our daughter’s creativity and sense of herself.  Her first year at Shining Mountain she would come home singing every day – and in multiple languages – she’s just so happy there.  She has this belief in herself from having a Waldorf education that she can do anything – because she has done so much.  She’s never been made to feel like she isn’t “performing” and as a result she’s excelling.  We are so happy we made the switch.Athena West, current parent


 

I see a centeredness, happiness, and self-assurance in the adolescents at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. From this core esteem these young people connect very well with others and the world around them. Shining Mountain Waldorf School children gain an emotional intelligence and maintain a wholeness which will take them anywhere they want to go. -Dr. Carolyn Williams-Orlando


 

The best part of my undergraduate education was what I learned at Shining Mountain. The emphasis on expression through the arts, the stories from ancient times, and the exposure to many religions are things that have prepared me to take full advantage of and appreciate my college education. – Alumni, currently a Junior and Honor Roll student at Dartmouth College




There are lots of options for educating your child, but there’s nowhere I’ve found that has such a strong focus on the heart, the social health and the development of my children than Shining Mountain. We’ve been a part of the school community for over a decade — in fact, we moved to Boulder because of SMWS! — and we’ve many more years before our children are in college. I love the school, the safe environment it offers for my children to dip a toe in modern culture without drowning in it, and the wonderful community of like-minded parents that are a significant part of my own social circle. Don’t think about Shining Mountain, come join us! – Dave T. — parent


I am Michael Barton, 35 years old and a member of the first graduating class at SMWS. Attending this school shaped my life in ways that I could not have imagined at the time. The style of cause and effect thinking that I learned at the Waldorf school afforded me a unique perspective on the world. Because of this I was able to see opportunity and succeed in life. In the years since graduation I have attended three colleges, started and sold my own business, built a ski lift, and become a well-respected educator in the outdoor field. I am grateful to the teachers, especially Mr. Mitchell, for imparting to me the optimism about the world that I carry today. – Michael Barton, alumni


 

We moved to Boulder from Europe, BECAUSE of the renown the Shining Mountain WS had in Europe. My children were already 1/2 way through their schooling in a Waldorf school in Switzerland. So I was looking for the same exact thing, in the states. We had heard of this school and the amazing teaching staff from more than one source.  So off we came. You can imagine my relief once we’d moved across the ocean, that everything I’d heard was as good or better. The teachers are incredible, the staff is warm and friendly. The grounds are delightful. This school has been a haven for our first steps in the US.  My children are blossoming and I’m continually complemented on how self assured, interesting and funny they are. They bound out of the house in the morning to get to school, which I don’t ever remember doing! Thank you Shining Mountain! – Lisa Lindsey, current parent



My 26 year-old daughter is a graduate of SMWS, class of ’05. She is wonderfully grounded, kind and smart young woman who runs her own business, and has done so since the year she left Shining Mountain. While her dad and I would love to take all of the credit for how she turned out, we (happily) cannot do that–the SMWS curriculum, teachers, staff and community have all played a vital role in shaping the person she is today. We still enjoy being a part of the SMWS community and are looking forward to the awesome Michaelmas Pageant this coming Friday!!! – Julie Barringer-Richers, alumni parent




Shining Mountain Waldorf is a blessing that holds the heart of your entire family in its hands.  As the family progresses up the ladder of evolution from roots to wings the love this community holds is a powerful container to support the art of BEING.  From this space parents are supported to cooperate in a healthy environment in which to raise your children, your consciousness and humanity. – Lori Kochevar, current parent.




Our family found Waldorf education through a May Faire that we attended in Davis, California in the early 80’s. We were so happy to find a school that embraced the festival life as well as an education that intertwined, arts, stories, music and dance into its curriculum. This felt like an immediate fit for our family and for as long as each of our three children has been in Waldorf, we believe they have been given useful life long tools that will enable them to become successful and happy adults.  One of my favorite memories as a young mom is that I thought the thing to do was to put the kids in front of the TV while I cooked. It was always a long day and it seemed to be a way to keep them quiet while I rushed around making dinner. Then, one evening we were talking about media in a class meeting and several of us were trying to justify our reasons for the short TV babysitting break and our Kindergarten teacher said, “well, why don’t you have them help cook, it’s a great learning experience and they become better helpers”. At the time, it was so strange, it never occurred to me to have them in the kitchen cooking at such a young age.  Now I look back on that and laugh because from that point in time the TV went off. Twelve years later, they find very little interest in watching TV and are much more available to help.  Waldorf education is a gift and when it works for your child, in my opinion, there simply is no better choice.  It has not happened without a struggle, there have been financial concerns, relocation decisions and pressure to try new things that have been part of the journey. Staying the course can be the best decision and we are happy to have our son graduate from SM in 2012. As an eighteen year old senior he is in a hurry to get out into the big world. When he grumbles about how he is still in HS I remind him he has to be patient because he was blessed with two years of kindergarten, which allowed him all that extra time to play. -Mari Linden, Parent of 2012 SMWS Graduate




My daughter & I joined Fairy Blossom because I wanted to learn more about Waldorf philosophy. It is a great way for parents to take part in and witness the warm and imaginative world of play that is offered. My daughter loved playing with friends, and I enjoyed learning to sew from the ever-friendly Mrs. Fifer while chatting with other parents. We eventually did enroll our daughter in kindergarten at Shining Mountain, and she surprised everyone by one day asking for some materials for sewing and created, all by herself, a gnome very much like what we made in Fairy Blossom months before. Little ones do observe and absorb, and I just love the sweet and enriching sort of play and modeling offered to them Fairy Blossom.
– Former Fairy Blossom parent




Shining Mountain instilled me with three particular skills that have been paramount to my post High School activities and success: creativity, social awareness, and a deep understanding of myself. My collegiate career at Colorado School of Mines was one primarily focused on technical learning.  What I noticed early on in college was that there were certainly students that had received far more advanced technical coursework in High School than I had, whether it be AP studies, IB programs, or a singular focus on math and science.  However, despite their technically rigorous high school careers, many of those same students left Mines after a single semester. In my opinion, they left or struggled while I stayed and flourished because I was able to adapt to the environment at Mines that required self-awareness on how best one individually learned, an ability to foster relationships with fellow students and teachers, and an understanding that although many of the questions we were asked on tests were direct right or wrong technical questions, creativity was an important piece to solving each problem. These three same skills have again proven important to my success as a young entrepreneur.  I work in an industry dominated by older more experienced individuals and an attitude that how things have always been done is how they should continue being done.  I have been able to start and grow a successful consulting company through developing and nurturing relationships with other talented individuals; approaching each challenge with a passion for finding a creative solution; and with the confidence that if all else fails, I know how I learn and that I can come up with a solution to a challenge even if it has stumped everyone else before me.
Bryan Carruthers, SMWS graduate


Since my first day of setting foot on our campus, I have LOVED our students! We have a wonderful group of children: friendly, curious, open, interested, enthusiastic, and always ready for a challenge. The parent community is vibrant, talented and heartfelt; ready to work and support the school: to improve the areas that need further development, help to put on our festivals, as well as stepping in to assist a family in need.  SMWS truly SHINES and I am honored to be part of our school! The faculty has a wealth of experience and has been a leader in the Waldorf movement with implementing new ideas. We have a strong and diverse program at SMWS! Please come and visit us to see for yourself! – Dorothea Altgelt, Lower School Class Teacher




We came to a conclusion when our kids were in 2nd and 4th grade that public school was not meeting their needs, even though both of us went through the public school system, including public Universities.  Living in Boulder, it turned out, was a lucky break because Shining Mountain was a choice for us without moving. We understand now that many families move to Boulder from elsewhere to attend the school that was in our backyard. When we began our search, we knew right away Shining Mountain was special when we walked around the campus, before school started, and we noticed how happy the kids looked playing and laughing with each other. Our children are now in the high school and thriving. What they like most is the way the teachers will adjust to their individual learning style. What they don’t recognize, and we clearly see, is how much the teachers care for our children and the other students. This is all they have known since they can remember. The teacher’s passion for their work is extraordinary and it shows in the classroom, and outside of the classroom. We feel so fortunate to have found Shining Mountain, not just for our children’s sake, but for ours too. We have many close friends that are teachers and fellow parents. Lastly, we feel the environment is focused on learning, and how you learn, verses grades and test scores. We have heard college admissions departments know this and always find space for a Waldorf student. I was told “ One Waldorf educated child can change the entire dynamic of a college classroom in a very positive way because their curiosity and desire to learn is so contagious. – Marty Kibiloski & Bronwyn Fargo




Our children came to Shining Mountain after we tried enrolling our oldest daughter at our neighborhood public school for kindergarten. After a few short weeks, it became clear that we needed to look for a school that could provide a more holistic and well-rounded education for our children.   At Shining Mountain, the emphasis on imaginative play, music, art, and movement in the early years has been a great gift to all of our children.  As they grow and develop, we find that the grades curriculum expands and deepens to meet them.  My older children have strong relationships with their class teachers, who know them extremely well and can guide them as individuals through their academic work. My kids are active, engaged, and excited to learn each day at school.  We are also grateful to be members of a community that supports our desire to raise our kids consciously, and to delay the inevitable influence of media and advertising. – Beth & Bill Leuchten