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This forum is open to all Waldorf parents. You are encouraged to discuss the topics posted on this blog using "comments". If you have a question you would like to have addressed, please e-mail me, and I will put it on my schedule of topics. Contact me as well if you would like to post a topic yourself, so I can send you instructions.

Please remember, this forum is about supporting one another, our children, our teachers and our schools. By participating in this forum, you agree to keep your thoughts and ideas positive, even, and especially, when the topics are delicate. Try to avoid naming specific people or schools except when congratulating them on achievements. I reserve the right to remove any postings or comments that are not in the spirit of compassionate mutual support.

- Ms. Ilian

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Understanding Waldorf School Structure: Part III

If you were to compare Waldorf school structure to a 3-legged chair, then in the last two posts I talked about the first two legs of that chair. The third, and equally necessary leg is the parent organization. This group goes by any of a variety of names, from PTA/PTO to Parent Council - but regardless of its name, its function is a vital part in maintaining school health.

While the faculty is the prime decision making body and pedagogical leader of the school, and the board is the keeper of responsibilities connected with finances and legal issues and requirements, the parent organization is the group that imbues the school with life. Consisting of parent representatives from each class as well as a faculty liaison (and often a board liaison as well), this group provides the man and woman power to get much of the work of the school done. The parent organization is the group that organizes the volunteers that ensure that school festivals and fundraising events are well organized and successful. The class representatives assist the teachers with class projects from preparing the building and grounds for the coming school year, to making sure that each class has a class parent - a parent who helps the class teacher organize plays, projects, trips, etc. that are class-specific. The parent organization also takes up the role of welcoming committee when there are visitors to the school, or a new family joins the school community. A strong parent organization gives the school a strong positive local presence. Through maintaining a school blog, representing the school in community events such as festivals and parades, by helping teachers organize public performances by the children at community events, or organizing a display of student work in public places, or by arranging for the school to host the visit of important lecturers and artists, and in many other ways I have not even mentioned, it is the parent organization that represents the school and Waldorf education in the community. Without the parents, most of this work would not be done, and the school would remain the best kept local secret. If one were to describe Waldorf school structure using the familiar three-fold sound bites: thinking, feeling, willing, or head, heart, hands, then the board would be represented by the head and thinking (the intellectual realm), the faculty would encompass the heart and feeling (the artistic realm), and the parents would  embody the limbs/hands and willing (the active, doing realm).

Waldorf schools therefore are faculty run, assisted and advised by the board, and powered by the parents. Dear parents, this forum is for you. I hope through it to help you to learn about and understand as much as you wish to or can about this Waldorf education that we love. Please let me know what you would like to discuss.

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