by Rick Shrum – 09 Feb 2004
On the evening of January 15, one of the coldest nights of the year, nearly 50 people eagerly squeezed into the school library to be fired up by the topic of Waldorf high school education. Carol Bartges from the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City gave a clear picture of how the high school curriculum completes the educational process begun in the lower grades. She showed how the inward moving spiral of the lower school experience brings the child from a state of oneness with the outer world to an inner threshold of self-awareness by the 8th grade year. She explained that the high school curriculum transforms this into an outward moving spiral, which recapitulates the work of the lower school and then reunites the adolescent with the outside world with a clear sense of purpose.
As living evidence of this process, a panel of 10th grade students enthusiastically and eloquently answered questions about their experiences with Waldorf high school thus far. To finish the evening, I spoke about the progress toward the opening of the new Great Barrington Waldorf High School. In summary, the school has now been successfully incorporated as a separate entity and is seeking its non-profit status. Many students from the current 8th grade are visiting the 9th grade and the school has received numerous inquiries from previous students and others from outside schools. Two possible locations being considered as the site for next year’s program are the Christian Science Church in Great Barrington and the Friends Meeting House on Rt. 23. Negotiations are in progress with both groups.
All in all it was a highly successful evening, which generated a great surge of enthusiasm for this important initiative.