An emphasis is placed on ensuring the students have wholesome and nutritious food available to them throughout the day.
Main Lesson will be taught as it is in the larger classes but the students will be broken into small groups with more individualized attention and instruction for the entire lesson time. This is the typical Tier I instruction and will parallel what their same age peers are doing in their own grade level. All material will be tailored to ensure that grade level skills are targeted while content is engaging and enriching. With the reduced size of the groups students will move faster or slower according to their own needs.
In order to have a seamless day with healthy foods nourishing them, the children are encouraged to eat the school lunch each day. Federal free and reduced lunch is available along with foods for any variety of diet.
The afternoons will be rotating blocks of the typical Waldorf handwork, theater, pottery, outings, swimming, music and more. In addition there will be time for skills work and IEP goal work during the afternoon paired with more outdoor time.
Finally, dismissal will occur away from the rush of the hundreds of students and parents in afternoon pickup.
history and background
The Lotus class is based off of a program that Emily Merchant discovered in Santa Rosa, CA. Emily saw Robyn Brown, the founder of the Mulberry Farm, speak at a Waldorf conference in Sacramento, CA. She bought her book, read it, bought books for numerous staff to read and then travelled to Santa Rosa with colleagues to see for themselves how this little classroom operated.
What they found was a Waldorf school in the midst of an industrial office complex. The school had been moved off of the farm because of California codes and regulations. They did not miss a beat and proceeded to set up a beautiful setting of small classrooms that were intended to be glassed in offices with at most, 6 desks in a classroom. The center room is an area for eating and doing specialty projects but in the back of the “offices” the school has a gym set up for therapeutic gymnastics and an area for the children to keep all of their things. The children do their running/walking outside by a creek that runs behind the office buildings and their chores consist of being stewards of the local creek area to keep it clean from litter, creating a garden in a patch of land they can use and they do this happily in all types of weather.
The Wasatch Lotus Class is an attempt to blend the work of Curative Education with Robyn Brown and Public School Special Education regulations, rules and standards that apply to all students in the school. You and your child are participating with us in the effort to create something that is not like other schools but is remarkable in that it meets all the criteria that the federal, state and school policies require AND meets the deep needs of the students. A Curative Waldorf education is something that’s typically very expensive and impossible to obtain here in Utah. The only students in the Lotus Class are those whose IEP teams have decided that this placement is the Least Restrictive Placement for the student whose needs are best served in a smaller more therapeutic environment and not best met in the general education classroom. In other words, this is placement where the students will make be able to progress. Student academics, social and behavioral goals will all still be based on their IEP requirements.
Main Lesson - Optimal Learning Opportunity
Students will be learning in small groups of mixed skills, abilities and ages at times throughout the day to find the best possible process for them to develop independence and mastery in their own goals at their own optimal pace. The idea is to develop their will and self-determination to an extent that they can motivate themselves to ultimately produce their very best work. Most students will acquire what they need in this environment to return to the general education classes at a time when the IEP team determines they will be most suited to join the larger classes. Students will have opportunities to participate in general education to the extent that sets them up for the greatest success and possibility of maintaining the skills they are learning. Some IEP teams may determine that this classroom is the best placement for a student and have them remain in the classroom for any length of time. Ideally, it is strongly recommended that the teams plan to have students in the Lotus Class for one academic school year in order to allow time for skill acquisition, maintenance and generalization.
All IEP services will be provided. Regular progress reports and report cards will be provided two times per school year.
An overview from Mulberry Farm
“Waldorf Education is something familiar to many of us. Parents and teachers choose Waldorf Schools because they are comfortable with the picture of the child as a developing human being that underlies the curriculum. We choose Waldorf because we want children to be challenged to become creative thinkers, and to be encouraged to become masters of their own ships. This is something the pedagogy provides for every child, and yet the setting of the large classroom may not be the best or least restrictive place for every child. More and more we meet children who need a smaller setting, who need more individual attention than special education services provide in the regular education setting. It is also clear that these children need to move in order to form right relationships with their own bodies and to the space around them. They need the healing aspects of movement to better integrate themselves with their surroundings; to learn and progress academically and to form relationships to others.
What many people don’t know is that Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, also gave a curriculum for these children who need something more. He referred to this work as the deepening of Waldorf Education. He presented it in a course of lectures the title of which is best translated as “Curative Education”. Robyn has been working through “Curative Education” for the last ten years, and we have seen the results of Steiner’s intentions carried out in the progress the children make in her small school in California.
Through this work many children have been able to return to a large classroom without significant difficulties and ready to take up their work academically and socially. Other children are served by Mulberry in that they can receive a Waldorf Education tailored for their own time schedule; one that allows them to succeed at their own pace and feel real pride in their work.
Curative Education also serves many children in the larger classrooms. By working to educate teachers we are able to give them new insights and tools to support more children in the large class. The work we do is applicable to every child and every family. All of us as human beings are in need of healing sometimes. Mulberry Farm exists to serve children who need this support more directly, but a knowledge of Curative Education is something needed more and more in every classroom and every family.
More and more we are looking for answers to the difficulties we find as parents and teachers. As supporters of Waldorf Education we are familiar and comfortable with the concept of working from the whole to the parts. Curative Education provides a way of viewing the human being that mirrors this philosophy. We start with who each child is at heart; each one an individual, and then we work to find what is in their way of manifesting that individuality. This individuality is what Steiner calls the genius of the child. More mainstream approaches look at the symptoms and then attach labels to those symptoms. Steiner tells us when we do that we destroy the genius in the child. At Mulberry you won’t find children with labels. You will only find children being helped to heal themselves, because this is how it should be. This is the kind of respect each human being deserves.”