School rings in 30th

Imag­i­na­tion, ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing part of cur­ricu­lum

Midtown Post - - News - by Jo-Anne Craine

This Toronto school may have moved lo­ca­tions over the decades, but its com­mit­ment to the in­tel­lec­tual de­vel­op­ment of its stu­dents hasn’t changed. We spoke to Diana Mik­los, a teacher who’s been part of the Wal­dorf ex­pe­ri­ence for nearly 30 years.

What is the school’s ap­proach to teach­ing?

It’s a school with a soul. It’s a school where we are try­ing to cre­ate well- rounded hu­man be­ings, stu­dents who would be flex­i­ble in their think­ing. The role of imag­i­na­tion in learn­ing is in­te­gral for the de­vel­op­ment of cre­ative and an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing. This ed­u­ca­tional ap­proach is aimed at pro­vid­ing an en­vi­ron­ment where young peo­ple can de­velop free think­ing.

The school stresses the im­por­tance of hands-on learn­ing. Why?

Through cre­ative arts, such as knit­ting and wood­work­ing, stu­dents also learn the ba­sic arith­meti­cal skills of count­ing, ge­om­e­try and frac­tions. They learn about science, zool­ogy and bi­ol­ogy by craft­ing an­i­mals and dolls out of pine cones, rocks and other ma­te­ri­als they find out­side. In later grades, stu­dents also learn through sto­ry­telling, hands- on art projects and text­books they write and il­lus­trate them­selves. It’s im­por­tant to use all el­e­ments of teach­ing.

What has changed in 30 years of ed­u­ca­tion?

What we’ve tried in the last few years is to … in­clude more of the needs of dif­fer­ent cul­tures … and bring the fes­ti­vals that would be speak­ing to th­ese com­mu­ni­ties to try to be in­clu­sive. [ And] nowa­days, chil­dren need more move­ment. In an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, this is some­thing that we need to en­cour­age. This was not an is­sue when we first started. (250 Madi­son Ave., 416 962-6447).

One of the early Wal­dorf lo­ca­tions on St. Ge­orge, 1991

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