March 19, 2015, Prescott- I had the first of two interviews, and a tour, on a visit to Mountain Oak School, on the near north side of town, this morning. Mountain Oak is a Waldorf School, meaning the stress is on integrated learning, with music, art and kinesthetics built into the curriculum.
I have dabbled in holistic learning, at various points in my career. It has always made the most sense to me, engaging the whole child, and in a manner that eases the child into the day of learning. At M.O., the first two hours are spent in structured, challenging, yet engaging activities.
While touring, I watched as students co-operated with one another in cleaning up a mess, while continuing to sing a lesson. It has been well-established that musical presentations of lessons help integrate the two sides of the brain, working together. Fifth graders were doing an integration-oriented activity in cross-body coordination. Grade 7 was on a walk in the campus wood. Eighth grade seemed a bit more traditional, but I could see they were preparing for a Socratic Seminar, which even the public middle schools are bringing into the fore.
I would imagine that the average Mountain Oak student will come away from a nine-year experience here with a far more complete picture of the way he or she fits in the world, than will those whose comparable experience is rooted in textbooks and paperwork.
I have a second interview next week, and the complete scope of how I would fit in here, as a substitute teacher and social sciences/language arts contributor, will be made clearer. I can’t help feeling that this experience will also awaken parts of my own psyche that have been asleep for some time. It’s not only my outer frontiers that are expanding; the inner worlds are, as well.