Shining Mountain Waldorf School is one of the first Waldorf schools in America to alter the traditional grade 1 to grade 8 teacher cycle. At Shining Mountain, there is a grade 1 to grade 5 teacher cycle and a grade 6 to grade 8 teacher cycle. This change was made to better meet the needs of the burgeoning adolescent, through dedicated teachers, a support team (made up of class and subject teachers) and a curriculum aimed at nourishing and challenging the students.
Shining Mountain’s middle school is in its 9th year, and it continues to evolve as the challenges and societal issues confronting our students change. In addition to the traditional morning lesson blocks that are still taught, the Middle School also offers: outdoor education, community service, social/emotional learning (individual and group), a practical arts program (with mixed groups of 6th through 8th grade students in each class), social gatherings (dances, assemblies, ice cream socials, Michaelmas and Field Day games), yearly class trips (3-7 days), and field trips. Our athletics program (cross country, volleyball and basketball) is centered around an approach highlighted by coaching that is focused on learning the game and having fun — not winning and losing. Another important aspect of middle school sports is that all teams have no try-outs, no cuts, and everyone gets to play.
One of the most important parts of the Middle School is the Middle School Support Team (MSST). This group of middle grades teachers meets once a week and handles the administrative side of the Middle School, program development, event planning, class/student study, class and subject teacher support, and student behavioral issues, concerns and interventions. The MSST also has the support of Shining Mountain’s Social Health Program, giving the group multiple options for dealing with the complex, unpredictable and often volatile social/emotional middle school playing field. The Shining Mountain Middle School also sponsors numerous parent education gatherings, where our community can deepen and enrich their knowledge and confidence around going through the middle school years.