Outdoor classrooms. A forest preschool. Animal care on the farm. Botany classes amidst the trees and gardening as an integral part of school life. Green Meadow Waldorf School has always put time in nature at the top of its list of curricular essentials and this year, it’s more important than ever as social distancing and other health protocols take center stage.
On this 11-acre campus in a wooded tract of Rockland County, N.Y., there is no Common Core, the oft-maligned educational rubric found in most schools. Instead, the school focuses on techniques such as block-style learning, teacher looping and multidisciplinary instruction. The goal here isn’t to prepare for standardized tests. It’s to foster lifelong skills that include curiosity, collaboration and critical thinking.
“At Green Meadow, we graduate well-rounded, capable, compassionate people who go on to make a difference in the world,” says Vicki Larson, the school’s director of communications and marketing.
It’s a philosophy that has been working since Green Meadow was founded in 1950, making it one of the oldest of the 300 Waldorf schools in the US (and roughly 1,000 worldwide). The school’s list of accomplishments in recent years runs the gamut from a robotics team that came in fourth place at a global competition to an annual basketball tournament with other Waldorf schools appropriately called the Friendship Games.
From friendship to fellowship, Green Meadow’s teachers are focused on what Larson calls “a developmentally appropriate approach” to education. “We are a tight-knit, welcoming community of people who strive to be well-rounded lifelong learners who make an impact on the world and in our daily lives,” she says. “And we want that for our children as well.”
307 Hungry Hollow Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY