July 2, 2005
To the editor of the Anchorage Daily News:
In response to your article (June 22), “Art, Movement form base of learning at new charter” I am writing to clarify potential misconceptions about Waldorf education. The article speaks well about the qualities of Waldorf education and what it has to offer children, parents and the community. The Aurora Waldorf School has worked for many years to create a home for Waldorf education in Anchorage. The intent to form a new charter school to make Waldorf education more accessible is admirable, but the use of Waldorf ideas in a school does not constitute Waldorf education, nor does it make the school a Waldorf school.
Waldorf education is an established worldwide movement of schools based on the work of Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf education (a trademark) requires fully trained and experienced Waldorf teachers (2 years training, with many weeks Waldorf classroom experience) who are thoroughly grounded and committed to the philosophical foundation of the education, who are capable in the dramatic and fine arts, and who are practiced in the specific methodologies of the Waldorf approach. In addition, a Waldorf school must be free from government regulation over the curriculum, free to determine its own qualitative methods of student assessment, and be an active member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
Both of your sub headlines give the impression that the Winterberry School is offering Waldorf education. The school, though it may become a good place of learning and may borrow ideas from the Waldorf curriculum, will neither be a Waldorf school nor offer Waldorf education. It is misleading to your readers to report otherwise.
AWSNA provides many helpful resources to parents on its website at www.awsna.org.
NW Regional Coordinator
Assn of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)