The Waldorf School of Baltimore (WSB) understands the key to education is human connection, with teachers at every level, known to go above and beyond to ensure their students feel supported, secure, and special.
In the WSB Children’s Garden and First Grade Classes, the all-important work of relationship building starts well before the first day of school, thanks to the unique Waldorf practice of one-on-one student/teacher visits during the summer months.
While relaxed and informal, these warm visits are instrumental in connecting with the children on their own terms. Early Childhood Teacher, Colleen McGlory explains, “One-on-one visits with a child, their grown-ups and their teacher helps create a sense of familiarity and trust between everyone present. When the visits happen on campus, they instill the children with a sense of confidence as they start their journey in a new class or school. When they occur at home, they give the teacher a window into the child’s world.”
First Grade Teacher, Caitlin Winegrove, agrees, “One-on-one visits provide a unique window into the world of each child. Spending time together offers an opportunity for me to observe, notice strengths, and reflect on the individual child through caring, intentional interactions. At the same time, these meaningful moments establish a sense of trust and connectedness for the student, which helps them transition more confidently into their school journey ahead.”
These First Grade visits take on added significance, thanks to the Waldorf practice of “looping”, where a Class teacher will advance with a class for more than one year. At WSB, that typically looks like a five-year commitment to the same group of students, ensuring continuity from first through fifth grade.
Not only is this connected approach to education deeply nourishing for children, but studies have shown that students who know that their teachers care deeply about them are more likely to be engaged and learning at a high level.
As you might expect, scheduling 12-16 individual home/school visits during the summer months with families is no small scheduling feat, and Waldorf teachers take time away from their own summer vacation to ensure they take place, but if you ask Forest Kindergarten Teacher Lida Lawrence, they wouldn’t have it any other way: “Our one on one visit with each child plants the seeds of trust and familiarity needed for a healthy, happy student-teacher relationship.”
Learn more about the Waldorf School of Baltimore’s holistic and joyful approach to education, www.waldorfschoolofbaltimore.org