A healthy social life is found only when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living. –Rudolf Steiner
Tamarack’s parent community is a wonderfully diverse and energetic group of parents who share the common goal of wanting an excellent Waldorf education for their children. Some choose Tamarack after hours of study and evaluation of other schooling options nationwide. Others simply seem to know this is the right school for their children once they’ve visited us. However they first come to Tamarack, our families blend together into a beautiful and exceptional multifaceted community. Our diverse student population is the product of a diverse parent body, a blend of all kinds of people from all walks of life. Tamarack strives to embody a remarkable spirit of tolerance, kindness, and respect for all families.
Our parents help our school with heartfelt energy, vast quantities of time, and an array of talents. The first request our community makes of parents is that they support their child’s teacher, so that the teacher can concentrate on the children. Parents volunteer as class leaders and as parent association representatives. They drive and chaperone for field trips and assist in various ways with school plays and concerts. They support the classroom environment with assorted donations throughout the year.
In addition, our parents have opportunities to assist in a variety of ways with the running of the school. The Tamarack Parent Association-Community Circle, or TPA-CC, serves the school and parent interests throughout the year, and holds our two biggest school events. Parents also volunteer on school committees, such as our Enrollment Committee, Site Committee, Fund Development Committee, Finance Committee and other ad hoc committees. Parents who have shown a penchant for committee work may be asked to join the Board of Trustees.
How does Tamarack in turn support its parents? Parent community building begins with the faculty. Parents are encouraged in many ways to learn about their children and the Waldorf education they are receiving. Regular class meetings that discuss curriculum, class dynamics and future class activities are held by all grade teachers and the combined kindergartens. Conferences are held twice yearly. Teachers often use newsletters to keep parents informed about class progress, work and lessons. If a parent has further questions, each faculty has regularly scheduled office hours and is also available by appointment as well as via phone or email. At the end of the school year, every teacher completes a Student Report, an assessment of the year’s progress, to further the parent’s understanding of their child. The open exchange that is encouraged between teacher and parent not only supports our parents, but by extension strengthens the teacher-student relationship.
Tamarack, as a school, offers many community events, as well as enrichment and educational opportunities for our parents. Throughout the school year, there are traditional, seasonal festivals that illustrate the meaning and depth of the Waldorf curriculum. There are regular All-School Meetings, workshops and special interest speakers. Given the unique structure of our parent population and its own special challenges, Tamarack strives to make most school events free of charge or of minimal cost.
Parents also benefit from school newsletters, articles and the Parent Lending Library. Newsletters are distributed electronically on Tuesdays, and helpful, educational articles are frequently distributed, posted in the school, or posted on our Facebook Page. TPA-CC holds a Parent Lending Library with many engaging books on Waldorf education and other parenting issues.
Tamarack parents strive to create community by giving to each other: they have organized clothing exchanges, donated to families in crisis at the school, helped support other families in personal ways outside of school hours, and worked together to constructively meet concerns and questions amongst themselves. As one parent said, ‘I knew Tamarack’s Waldorf education would be good for my children; I just didn’t know how good Tamarack would be for me!’
Twenty Reasons To Love Tamarack Waldorf School
Tamarack Grandparent and Board of Trustees Member, Jill Herbst created a “Twenty Reasons To Love” for our 2015 Grandparents and Special Friends Day. We loved it so much, we wanted to share it with everyone. Below are Jill’s words:
- I love that at Tamarack Waldorf School, diversity is embraced and cherished…..it fills the school with vitality and energizes the community.
- I love how the Tamarack community of parents, relatives, and friends are able to act as patrons to Waldorf education, supporting our future leaders as they journey through the grades.
- I love the colorful stories that unfold on the chalk boards in every room, each drawing a masterpiece that takes the children on exciting journeys through the ages.
- I love the heavenly sounds of voice and flute that float into the halls like clouds from behind the classroom doors.
- I love the verses that are recited at the beginning of the day, before morning snack and lunch, and at the close of day. The words are purposeful and meaningful as they tie the the day into a beautiful package.
- I love how the class plays are woven into the day as they become special tools for learning. Each play becomes indelibly etched in the children’s hearts, never to be forgotten.
- I love how are school’s celebrations have their special meanings, and form the rhythm of the school year. These celebrations become a radiant light of healing and love for the entire Tamarack community.
- I love how numbers in the classroom turn into math and creep through the entire day, gently touching each lesson and special subject.
- I love how a Tamarack parent of one child becomes a parent to all children as they take their special place as a member of the greater school community.
- I love how the reading buddies form a “bridge of learning” between the first and eighth grades. How quickly the tapestry of seven years is woven through the children’s lives as they emerge like butterflies ready to take flight.
- I love the running footsteps of circle time and the rhythm that they create…..over and over. The counting songs and rhymes become the passage to learning and memorization.
- I love how the classroom turns into a home, how the teacher and children become a family, and how the faculty and staff form a larger community, offering support and respect to all who enter.
- I love how the outdoors is invited into the classroom, allowing the children to connect with the mysteries of nature and feel the presence of Mother Earth each minute of the day.
- I love the handwork and eurythmy connection, where the short and small movements of the fingers and wrists are clearly related to the long and large movements of the limbs.
- I love how my husband’s and my home has changed over the last seven years and how the fabric of the Waldorf philosophy has unfolded itself into our daily rhythms. The threads have wrapped our hearts and cleared our vision for the future.
- I love that Tamarack now has a highschool, so that the eighth graders who choose to pursue their Waldorf education are able to continue their journey and arrive in ninth grade with confidence and independence, ready to connect with today’s world.
- I love the sounds and smells of the city, the noisy streets and sidewalks, that surround our urban campuus and give it a unique community in the heart of a wonderful city.
- I love that I am invited to give back to Tamarack in ways that are relevant to me. I have learned that many small gifts of time and/or money can add up quickly to fulfill the challenges of the classrooms.
- I love that Tamarack understands that grandparenting is just as important as parenting, because I find that with my continued involvement in my grandchildren’s education, I have a clearer understanding of the place that a Waldorf education takes in their lives.
- And….I am thankful for a day like today, when grandparents and special friends are able to observe and enjoy this nurturing community, where our children are given the opportunity of a lifetime.