Waldorf School of Atlanta History

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The Waldorf School of Atlanta began with the inspiration of Katie Reily, educator and speech therapist, who had a way of pulling community together. Her interest in Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy and enthusiasm for people was infectious. After a few years of leading a play group for children in her home and studying Waldorf education with parents, Katie invited Susan Jones, a trained Waldorf teacher to lead our first kindergarten class in the fall of 1986. It was called “The Children’s Garden”… a bold and beautiful beginning. Through the years many dedicated parents, faculty, and staff worked alongside our children to create the vibrant Waldorf School we have now.

Some glimpses of our history-

  • • The Waldorf School of Atlanta with its varying classes occupied and improved six different locations in the Decatur area.
  • • The first Holiday Fair fish pond was held in a small room. The whole pond was about 4’ in diameter. The line of “fisherpeople” went through the hall and down the stairs.
  • • Our first Advent Spiral and Lantern Walks included every child and person in our school. Soon they were just too big and these festivals had to divide into smaller groups…still beautiful and heartwarming.
  • • The Board of Directors met once a month and the meetings often went on until 11 at night.
  • • At one time the administrative staff of four to five people was housed in the same tiny office together and somehow they managed to squeeze in the school store too.
  • • In every location volunteers have shoveled untold amounts of woodchips and sand, built play yard fences, helped to unload, lay, cut and install many square feet of carpet, knocked down walls, put up dry wall, painted, tiled bathrooms- all to make a beautiful place for our children to thrive.
  • • Our school graduated its first 8th grade in the spring of 2000.
  • • Our sister high school, Academe of the Oaks, graduated its first 12th grade in the spring of 2006.
  • • Our school now has five Kindergarten classes and Grades 1-8 with a faculty of 34, a staff of 11, a board of 13 and enrollment in our pre-k through 8th grade of 227, and so many wonderful parents.

We have worked, played, sung, studied, struggled and persevered together for the children who are the heart of the school. We continue to grow, to be inspired by this educational philosophy laid out by Rudolf Steiner and to continually re-dedicate our vision on a daily basis.

~Annamay Keeney & Annie Sommerville-Hall

Kindergarten Teachers

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This article was originally published in the Spring 2012 Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  

Spaces to Play at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

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As part of our work with the Columbia Presbyterian Church to manage the health of our beautiful wooded spaces, we are opening a new playground area just a short walk down the path behind the kindergarten playgrounds.

During this process we have marked out the boundary with Columbia Seminary on the West side of the property, and working with them, have planted a tree border in lieu of a chain link fence. In clearing the space, we discovered long neglected rose bushes, native magnolias, and many trees in danger of being overtaken by ivy.

This project was precipitated by the deteriorating state of trees on the upper playground. Arborists have suggested that the remaining trees require nutrient supplements, aeration, and to be left undisturbed for several months to recuperate from the stress of drought, heat, and compaction of the earth around the tree roots. We will be replacing some of the lost trees, starting in the lowest corner of the playground, with hopes that these trees and shrubs will help to retain more of the rainfall we do receive.

Going forward, the plan is to alternate between playground sites, giving each area time to recover from the daily visits of the children. We believe the new space will offer the children an enriched opportunity to explore play in a new way.
There remain a few tasks to complete including spreading several yards of wood chips. Beyond safety, we are leaving the space unfinished so that as we observe the children’s interaction with the area, we can bring the right things about to support their play. We will send an official ‘Opening” notice in advance of the move.

Please feel free to visit the new space and offer any comments you might have.

~Sara Walsh
School Administrator

creating tree border

This article originally was printed in the December 2012 edition of the Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  Visit us online at www.waldorfatlanta.org.  

 

Gateway at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

gateway

It begins with vision, the pivotal point that allows the soul to dream. Next, the will of commitment transforms the dream into living substance. Lastly, substance finds capable, caring hands to bring solid form. This is the story of The Waldorf School of Atlanta’s new upper campus entrance; it is a living picture of beauty: thinking, feeling and willing.

It began last winter when, at a faculty meeting, the question was asked what the school should raise Auction paddle call money for.  Annamay Keeney, one of our five-day kindergarten teachers, quickly sketched a pencil drawing of an archway; an archway that would bring unity to both sides of our campus. She envisioned a structure that would welcome new and seasoned friends, young and old, to our Administration and Kindergarten buildings. Annamay wanted to create a gateway that would represent solidity and stability, be welcoming and uplifting. The vertical posts represent the four-foldness of the human being. Just as every person is an individual, each post stands at a slightly different angle representing the individuality of being human, reaching for connection to the spiritual world yet grounded on earth. The top beams, like brush strokes represent the connectedness and community of people striving see the goodness in all.

Thanks to the infectious enthusiasm of Chance Claar-Pressley leading the paddle call, our generous community answered back and raised $1,500.00 for campus beautification and permanent signage. Your support and trust allowed the school to begin the project.

Lee Ritchie, who is responsible for many of our campus playground structures, spent this past summer meeting with WSA staff and faculty to develop the vision of the gateway. He thoughtfully incorporated similar details into this new structure; color of wood, smooth, sturdy posts, rounded corners and meaningful translation. With help from Evy Keeney-Ritchie, Nate and Jack Scully and Connor Weeks, the gateway was planted into the ground. Bonnie O’Brien, a long-time WSA parent and former Trustee, spent time designing a beautiful sign, one created to  partner with and balance the gateway. As always, our school was so fortunate to have Mr. Crowley close by, willing to offer skill and valuable assistance.

The Waldorf School of Atlanta wishes to offer its sincere gratitude to all the hands and hearts that made this vision a reality. Truly, inspiration is an invitation to dream and accomplish together.
~Ashley du Pont
Community Chair

gateway design sketch

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of the Garden Breeze Newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  Visit us online at www.waldorfatlanta.org.