A picture may be worth a thousand words, but seeing an Ashwood Waldorf classroom in action is priceless.

With a School Tour event around the corner on Wednesday, November 14, parent Amy Thompson shares a few words about her visit to Class 2-3, 4-5, and 6-7 during last month’s tour. Read on, and come see what makes Waldorf work on the next school tour. Bring a friend! Registration by Tuesday, November 13 is required. Call 207.236.8021 or email.

We recently had a friend from Los Angeles staying with our family, and her trip coincided with an Ashwood school tour. I tried to explain what she would be seeing beforehand, but it clearly did little to prepare her. When she saw Rob Kaczor lead his fourth- and fifth-grade students through their morning routine like the Pied Piper, her jaw dropped. Like my friend, although I have witnessed it many times, seeing our teachers in action still delights and inspires me.

Waldorf is really something that has to be experienced in person. Reading the literature or hearing the philosophy behind the method is one thing, but seeing in the children’s faces how much a certain story or activity resonates is the real magic. Michelle Buczacz’s students reviewed a saint story by performing it three times in a row! Their rapt attention, even for the third re-enactment, was testament to how well-suited the story was to their stage of development. Equally inspiring was the depth and breadth of the sixth and seventh-graders’ understanding of Roman history. No mere recitation of facts, these students had clearly worked with these stories and historical figures to the point that the information had become a part of them. The words and ideas, woven from books, stories and images, brought to them by Mr. Clough, were interpreted and assimilated now as their own. As each student stood and shared what they had learned, their layered impressions, colored by their own, unique perspectives, combined to create a full and vibrant tapestry of ancient history.

It is striking how engaged and connected to their teachers the children are. The classroom culture and rhythm that seems so effortless, has doubtless been carefully crafted. After morning greetings, roll call, and a bit of math, the 4/5 students moved like a flock of birds to swiftly bring their desks to the edge of the classroom and began a lively circle game. The game ended, seated in a circle, for a full class discussion about how the students thought the great cliffs overlooking Megunticook were formed. The fearlessness with which the students offered ideas was inspiring. The safety to share and to sometimes be wrong is a hallmark of our classrooms at Ashwood. Without fear of ridicule the children offered up and discussed a wide range of theories. And I came away with a new bit of knowledge about how Lake Megunticook got its name; if you’d like to know, you will have to ask a fourth or fifth grader.

Amy Thompson, Ashwood Parent