The Purpose of World Language Learning in Waldorf Schools

Whether it be Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, or American Sign Language, most Waldorf schools in North America offer world language studies as an integral part of their educational program, which, for schools with high schools, often culminates with an international student exchange or travel abroad. Many Waldorf students graduate with a working knowledge of at least one world language, and frequently pursue global studies or university majors or minors in these languages. While this trajectory is also found in some, though not all, other independent schools, the ‘why’ of Waldorf pedagogy makes our world languages programs unique.

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Brad PorterComment
4th Grade Sound to Sea Program

Here at Emerson Waldorf School, we strive to provide a holistic education that connects the hands, hearts, and minds of the students that are entrusted into our care.  A Waldorf education is vastly experiential where the sense of wonder inspires our students to observe and make sense of the natural world around them. Social and environmental responsibility are highly valued so that when our scholars reach adulthood, they engage in moral standards to care for each other and the environment.

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Brad Porter
The Benefits of Outdoor Play

“Stress reduction, greater physical health, a deeper sense of spirit, more creativity, a sense of play, even a safer life - these are the rewards that await a family when it invites more nature into children’s lives.”  Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods 

Has it been a challenge to get your child and yourself motivated for the day in the morning? Are you in a bit of a rut with your mood and is your child grumpy to boot? Is it close to impossible to get your child excited to do anything, even for playtime?

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Brad Porter
Tuning Waldorf Music to the Key of our Students: How One School Reimagined the Traditional Waldorf Music Program

The early May weather cooperated perfectly; sunny and pleasant with enough of a breeze to lift and turn the ribbons that hung expectantly from the May Pole. The entire school gathered together in the meadow for the first time in over two years, while grades 5-8 stood eagerly by, ready with performances that heralded a completely redesigned music program.

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From Switzerland to Detroit: A Summer of Inspiration & Service - Part Two

Upon my return from Switzerland, I road-tripped directly to the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit, in the heart of the USA.

In some ways, Brightmoor could not be more different from Dornach, Switzerland, and the neighborhood surrounding the Goetheanum. Whereas in Switzerland, every square inch of land looks tended to and accounted for, the Brightmoor neighborhood has been largely neglected and vacant for some decades.

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Brad Porter
Appreciating the Waldorf Difference

My first summer with the Emerson Waldorf School Summer Camp is only half over, but already it has been exciting, eye-opening, and warm. Whether they are here for basketball camp, creative writing, handwork crafts, or farm camp, I have seen young people interacting with nature and with each other in ways that are wholesome, invigorating, and joyful.

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Brad Porter
A Parent's Reflection on Graduation

Early June signals the start of summer for most students, and for high school teachers, the scramble to the finish line and bittersweet goodbye to a group of teenagers we have worked with and learned from for four years. This year, the nearly-here graduation comes with even more emotion, as I experience it not only as a high school teacher but also as a parent.

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Brad Porter
The Play's the Thing

At the Emerson Waldorf School—and many Waldorf schools worldwide—class plays are a yearly occurrence, often put on for the wider school community. The plays increase in scope and difficulty as the students age--for example, a typical first-grade play might last 30 minutes and include no solo speaking parts. In contrast, many 8th grade classes tackle a Shakespeare drama. The 12th-grade play—typically large in scale—can be seen as a capstone moment for the class.

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Chasing the Dream of the Honeybees

Community begets community. And so it was in February of 2019, Gunther Hauk came as an emissary from the Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary. Through his story, wit, and information, he inspired the Emerson Waldorf School (EWS) community to set about on an adventure, guided only by trust in each other and in the honeybee.

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The Rise of The Icosahedrons

Walking into a basketball gym, you’d expect to hear sneakers squeak on hardwood floors and basketballs clank on iron rims, smell perspiring athletes and freshly painted lines, and see glowing scoreboards and eager fans.

If you wandered into the NC A&T State University gym in Greensboro on February 20, you would have been met with different sensory experiences. You’d have heard clicking and whirring and seen young adults frantically typing at keyboards.

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Brad Porter
Reflections on the Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is a joyous 15-day festival, all about wishing good luck and fortune to your friends, family, and colleagues. Falling in late January or early February, it is a holiday of hope as we emerge from our collective winter hibernation and eagerly await the warmer spring weather. During this time of year, the streets succumb to a sea of red and gold decorations, dangling from street lamps, adorning shopping malls, and bobbing from restaurant eaves. Red symbolizes luck. Gold symbolizes fortune.

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Brad Porter
Escargot vs. Hershey's Chocolate

AN 11TH GRADER'S ACCOUNT OF HIS FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Making the leap of faith to study abroad opened me to a wider view of the world. Although three months initially seemed long, I now realize I could have done six. It was an experience that I will always remember and cherish. I arrived back in Chapel Hill with new ideas of what is possible—for the world and for myself. Living away from home has prepared me for when I leave for college and am fully responsible for myself. It has taught me to take advantage of the opportunities I am given.

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DEI Committee's Land Acknowledgment

Our path and purpose in this place is to allow healing forces to work throughout the land and all living beings here. We acknowledge that the Emerson Waldorf School stands upon the homelands of the Indigenous Peoples of this region who are the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, as well as former inhabitants known as the Eno, Shakori, Keyauwee, Tuscarora, Saponi, Saura, Occaneechi, and Sissiphaw Peoples.

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Brad PorterComment
Setting The Stage For Success

Cooper Harris wanted to be a violin-playing, ice-skating Eurythmist. An unlikely profession? A childish fantasy? Words you’ve never seen in that order? Perhaps. But to doubt Cooper Harris is to miss backing the winning horse. A spark plug, a dynamo, a mover and shaker, Cooper approaches all enterprises with an enterprising zeal.

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Brad PorterComment
Forging Courage

According to Mark Eichinger-Wiese—or Mr. E-W, as he’s called around school—the majority of his students enter their first Blacksmithing class scared of fire and having never before wielded a hammer. “It’s too heavy,” he often hears. “I can’t do that!” is a popular refrain. Two weeks in, however, and the students are transformed.

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A Leap of Faith

Tales from a Gap Year

Awkwardly, I walk up to a person sitting in the observation area of a Covid-19 vaccination site in Los Angeles. I hand them my journal and ask them to read the first page—no pressure if they aren’t willing to write in it. I sit at the Check-Out station, bouncing my knee up and down, nervously waiting for their response.

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The Three Musketeers

From Swashbuckling Students to Enterprising Entrepreneurs

The Reily Brothers might be superheroes. At least, that’s how I saw them when I was younger. Big, tall, and strapping, older than me and cooler than I’d ever be, there wasn’t a task they couldn’t accomplish, a challenge they couldn’t conquer, a foe they couldn’t vanquish.

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Stitch by Stitch, Row by Row

How Handwork Supports Brain Development in Children

We human beings use our hands regularly in our daily lives, often for activities that we don’t put much thought into, such as getting dressed and feeding ourselves. The Handwork curriculum not only develops needed fine motor skills through flexibility and dexterity, but it also builds hand-eye coordination, supports math skills, offers multi-step processing of instructions, and offers practice in the ability to follow directions thoroughly.

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