Our Philosophy

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A WALDORF SCHOOL?

Shining Mountain, like all Waldorf schools, is rooted in the methods and philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, Austrian-born scientist, educator, and philosopher. Steiner’s legacy is a monumental body of timeless work that crosses many disciplines, including agriculture, medicine, education, spirituality, human development, and cultural renewal.

A DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH
The Waldorf approach recognizes that capacities emerge in students at fairly predictable stages, while also allowing room for individual rates of maturation. This appreciation underlies both the organization of the curriculum and the teaching methods.

Until age six or seven children learn primarily through physical activity, imagination and imitation. A sense of goodness permeates the home-like environment of the PreK/Kindergarten. Toys of natural materials encourage creative engagement in imaginative play. Young children drink in the images of fairy tales and stories, developing their capacity for inner picturing, which becomes the basis for literacy and future critical thinking skills.

In Lower School children learn best when academics are conveyed through painting, drama, music, storytelling and other direct kinesthetic experiences that stir their emotions. A sense of beauty weaves throughout the day, engaging children in their learning.

In Middle School academics continue to be brought through the arts, but the pictorial thinking of the earlier grades now turns toward more abstract thinking. Teaching methods adapt to this change.

In High School themes and methods stimulate higher-level intellectual skills and higher order thinking. This is the time when imagination, carefully cultivated in the early years, is transformed into skills of convergent, divergent, analytic, synthetic, and evaluative thinking.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Community is at the heart of our school. Together, students, parents, colleagues, and friends strive to create an environment that enriches and inspires the human spirit. We commit to the following:

A Respect for Childhood and Adolescence
We respect the developmental phases of the human being and are committed to a mindful pedagogy that nurtures each student’s natural capacities to discover and grow.

A Healthy Social Life
We strive to work collaboratively with one another in an inclusive and supportive community. To that end, we exhibit compassion, respect and understanding.

Supportive Teacher, Student Relationships
We cultivate meaningful relationships between our teachers and students, creating a supportive and engaging environment throughout the student’s years at Shining Mountain, and beyond.

Inspirational Teaching
We engage dedicated, skilled and artistic teachers who are capable of enlivening education and inspiring each student’s love of learning.

An Engaged Spirit
We inspire our students to discover the vital connection between the spirit of the individual and the spirit in the world, where each individual’s spiritual nature is uniquely recognized and honored, and their private beliefs respected.

Stewardship and Initiative
We cultivate a capacity for moral discernment that inspires personal initiative, social responsibility, environmental stewardship and an active involvement in the world.

An Enriched and Vibrant Community
We engage in authentic experiences with one another, by providing opportunities for personal enrichment, social connections, and meaningful work.