One of the many gifts a Waldorf education offers is one of parent enrichment through class meetings. These are an essential part of a Waldorf education and the Tucson Waldorf School community. This week at a grades class meeting, parents shared a delicious snack and enjoyed a bit of time to simply converse with one another. They then heard from the class teacher about the beginnings of Waldorf education and how the human being is viewed and understood in a Waldorf school. Next they were paired up to paint using the wet-on-wet method that our children use on a weekly basis. This experience of coming together, sitting in the chairs our children occupy, experiencing the story told by our children’s teacher, hearing each other’s laughter and questions, and admiring the profound differences in our paintings, creates a foundation that strengthens this community.
A wonderful description of class meetings from Spring Garden Waldorf School:
This type of community building makes a Waldorf community and classroom like no other in education today. Ideally, the children, teacher and parents will be together through elementary school for eight years. Throughout those years, there will be many celebrations and some challenges, but regular class meetings help parents come together and remember the common cause that brought them into each others’ lives — the education, care and love of the children.
Having class meetings several times per year is also pragmatic. While teacher/parent conferences focus on one child and his/her social and academic progress, class meetings can deal with class learning goals and social dynamics. Understanding what the children are learning when and why, can help parents relate to a child who often reports that a day was, “fine.” And knowing the ins and outs of academics helps parents assist children in their homework tasks or in areas that need attention.
Class meetings also give parents ample opportunities to ask questions of the teacher and also to share their experiences with other families. Often parents find that their peers have the same questions, struggles and successes with their own children. It is so good to know your experiences are not yours alone!
And finally, coming together builds the parent community as families get to know one another over the years, not just through their children, but by relating to one another at these meetings and through volunteer opportunities and social engagements.