At the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, our director, Megan Neale, shared the following letter with our families. We hope you will find optimism in her message.
Life is not always easy. Even for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in this beautiful land with an abundance of food and clean water, there is still illness, death, separation, and loss. The past year has reminded us, sometimes in the most painful way, that it takes strength and courage to meet the challenges of the world with compassion.
In 1919, the first Waldorf school was created in response to the devastating loss and destruction of World War I. Founders Rudolf Steiner and Emil Molt wished to educate children who would be incapable of inflicting violence on others and who would be inspired to create a more peaceful world. Many things have changed over the last 100 years, yet there is still war and we still work for a better world. And we still have hope.
Our job as educators, and as parents, is not to fend off the pain and loss in life, or to eradicate it, but to strengthen the inner forces within young children so that they may meet life’s inevitable challenges with love, care, and strength. Over their years at Marin Waldorf School, students develop resilience in ways both overt and subtle. It is a process that is slow, incremental and deliberate, and that we approach with different means at different ages. This week on campus, you could see a four-year-old Sunflower preschooler diligently sweeping sand out of the breezeway, gently guided by his teacher, while, in the amphitheater, a fourteen-year-old 8th grader was hauling heavy boards to build a set for this year’s class play, The Tempest. Here, we do not shy away from discomfort, we value the lessons that come from challenges, and we know that hard work is part of a meaningful life. We can observe the Sunflower’s pride in the freshly swept hallway and the 8th grader’s satisfaction in their elaborate set. It is after the hard work and the difficulties we face that we are able to stand a little taller and shine a bit brighter.
Soon we will complete the school year and send off our beloved 8th grade class. We know they need strength, endurance, and fortitude to meet life and remain open-hearted, even under the best of circumstances. They are ready to take the next step. They have been prepared by their teachers, parents, and life itself with a willingness to work hard, to strive, and to bring an open heart to the world.
As we approach summer break, we find ourselves, and our school community, is in many ways strengthened and bolstered by the unexpected challenges of the past year, as well as by its many moments of joy and beauty. Educating children to lead us through the next generation is a deeply optimistic act. We have learned that hope is an action.
With that, we wish you a joyous summer with your family and look forward to continuing our journey together next year.