Maple Village, a small private school in Belmont Heights, is the only school in the Long Beach area that uses the Waldorf method of education. Developed in 1919 by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf education bases its curriculum on the various stages of child development, with emphasis on thought, artistic expression and hands-on learning.
At Waldorf schools, students don't take standardized tests. They learn how to make their own textbooks and will stay with the same teacher from first grade all the way through eighth grade.
Maple Village, which is funded through tuition and donations, started out as a preschool/kindergarten formed by a group of local parents.
Waldorf schools don't focus heavily on academics in the early years, and as a result, many students don't learn to read until about age six or seven.
Lynne Struye, who teaches the combined first- and second-grade class of 10 students, said her classroom focuses on imaginative play and learning that develops both sides of the brain. Rather than an everyday drill, students learn academics in time blocks - two or three weeks of reading, followed by two or three weeks of arithmetic.
They also learn Spanish, yoga, music, clay sculpting, puppetry, baking and other hands- on activities. In her classroom on Monday, students were learning to knit their own toy balls with hand-made needles.
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In addition to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first, and second grade, Maple Leaf offers Parent/Toddler Classes for children who are 18 months to 3 years old. This class provides an opportunity for the parents and their children to come together once a week in a warm, home-like environment. It offers the heart-felt rhythm and beauty of Waldorf early childhood education. The whole child is taught through creative play, song and movement, storytelling and handwork, while the parent is given a place to regain peace and strength in a natural, communal environment.
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About this Study
Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) is completing its latest community inquiry, Children 1-2-3: Early Learning for Future Success. This community engagement process has been examining the question, "How can Jacksonville best foster early learning success for children from birth to age 3 in our community?" Over the course of the process (October 2011 through April 2012), the meeting schedule, meeting summaries, key handouts and relevant articles have all been posted here. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.