The importance of storytelling, of the natural rhythms of daily life, of the evolutionary changes in the child, of art as the necessary underpinning of learning, and of the aesthetic environment as a whole - all basic to Waldorf education for the past 70 years - are being “discovered” and verified by researchers unconnected to the Waldorf movement.”
Paul Bayers, Professor, Columbia University Teachers’ College
Dear Families and Friends of Aurora Waldorf School,
Aurora Waldorf School has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember, and it feels impossible to tell its story without telling my own.
I started as a Kindergartener in 1992, the year after the school was founded, and have had some place in the constellation of its extended community ever since. Like me, my younger brother is an AWS graduate. My mother, Billie McAdam, became the gym assistant (and sometimes-coach), continuing until her retirement last year. My sister, Meghan Gomez, is the Sixth Grade Teacher. This year, I joined the Board of Trustees just as my niece joined the weekly Parent Toddler class. One day she will be able to say that this school has been a part of her life for literally as long as she can remember.
Even in my short time as a Board member, I can tell that this is an exciting time to return to the school in an official capacity. Enrollment in our early childhood programs has swelled to a fifth classroom, the Educational Support Team, Mentoring Committee and math program have been strengthened, and there is tremendous enthusiasm among the faculty for the middle school vision. The Faculty and the Board have worked tirelessly together to build a day plan and a budget that will lighten the load on our incredible teachers, freeing them up to focus on what they do best: creating an engaging and rigorous learning environment for each and every one of our students.
This is also, it must be said, a time of uncertainty for the school. The continuing trend of declining enrollment at independent schools all over the US has hit particularly hard this year and we are once again facing a substantial projected deficit despite maintaining financial transparency with independent oversight. Unless mitigated by donations like yours, this is likely to severely impact the faculty and staff, who have already dedicated so much of themselves to making this school everything it is today.
If there is one thing Waldorf education teaches us, it is that the path to success is forged not by eliminating uncertainty, but by embracing it.
Every child who learns to knit embraces uncertainty. A potholder or a recorder case or a sock may seem like an impossibly complex goal, but through practice she learns that there is only one way to get there: stitch by stitch. Whatever challenges are in store -- a dropped stitch, a miscounted row, a knot in the yarn -- she learns there is only one way to prepare to meet them: stitch by stitch.
Every parent who entrusts his child’s education to a Waldorf school embraces uncertainty, too. He understands that she will grow to inhabit not the world of today, but the world of some unknowable future, and preparing her for that is perhaps the most impossibly complex goal there is. He understands that it is achieved not all at once, but through a thousand tiny successes: a well-written essay, a balanced equation, a finished sock.
Every day our classrooms are filled with these tiny successes. Every day our students develop the quiet confidence to undertake new challenges not because they know what they are capable of, but because they don’t. Together our community achieves excellence in the future by practicing excellence in the present -- even, and especially, in uncertain circumstances. In other words? Stitch by stitch.
Join me in giving generously to the Annual Fund today, and we will stitch together a future of successes both great and small.
Brooke McAdam, AWS Board Trustee
Aurora Waldorf School Class of 2001
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June 15-17, 2018
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