Our family has been at Camellia for six years now, and it has been such a wonderful place for our two girls to grow, learn and flourish. The teachers are so warm and caring, and the teaching method is extremely engaging - my 6th grader especially has been so excited about what she has been learning lately, at an age when a lot of kids are hard to engage.
Camellia teaches kids to have a life-long love of learning, a deeper depth of understanding, and excellent critical thinking skills. It is not just rote memorization of facts that they will soon forget. Due to the small class sizes, teachers also can really cater to the interests of the children in each class.
But more than that, Camellia helps kids grow into wonderful human beings. When my husband got his haircut recently, he was chatting with the woman cutting his hair. When it came up that our girls go to Camellia, she said "I can always tell when [I'm giving a haircut to] kids that go to that school. They always have something interesting to talk about." That kind of sums it up!
The school develops respect in its students in every sense of the word: Respect for teachers, respect for each other, respect for family, respect for community, respect for differences, and respect for self. My children are blossoming at this school in ways that demonstrate their skills, abilities, and unique attributes of course, but also in ways that do not diminish others. Put another way, there is no zero sum game for ability or accomplishment at Camellia Waldorf School. Each child is valued and encouraged. Each child develops academic skills, artistic skills, physical and movement skills, social skills, and a quiet, solid integrity that will serve them well as they grow into a world full of loud opinions and hyper-connectivity. My children are learning to differentiate between themselves and the world in a way that is not social-media dependent. They are coming to know their own minds. As such, they will be poised to do well, no matter what the future holds.
I want to thank the entire staff: the faculty, the administrator, the registrar, the business manager, the enrollment director, and the maintenance director. Camellia Waldorf School moved from a rented to a purchased location over the summer, and the dedication of all school employees as they planned, packed, unpacked, improved the new site, and organized for the school year - in addition to all of their regular duties, was incredible. My hat is off to all of you, and I am so grateful for your continued dedication.
I am humbled and amazed by the dedication the teachers demonstrate year after year at Camellia Waldorf School. They are able to focus on each and every student, find ways to reach and encourage the student, and help the student discover and act on his or her own potential. It may sound quaint, but I have gotten the strong impression that the teachers genuinely love each and every child at Camellia Waldorf School.
As early as kindergarten, the children are assigned tasks that challenge their focus and endurance. The assignment could be as simple as sweeping or sanding wood, but the lesson of persistence is there: Keep going until the task is completed thoroughly and with quality and attention to detail. By the time the children reach eighth grade, they are required to do a year-long project in which they choose a skill with which they have no experience, find a mentor, learn the skill, study the history, produce a product, and give a well organized presentation on the skill and the product at the end of the school year in front of an audience of faculty, staff, and parents. In past years, presentations have ranged from building a robot to hand-blowing glass. Persistence, grit and determination? Absolutely.
I have been amazed by the compassion and empathy demonstrated by my children and the other children I know at Camellia Waldorf School. For example, when a first grader was crying because she felt left out of a game, another child stopped the game and invited the girl to join in. This kind of behavior is a regular occurrence at Camellia Waldorf School. The children are also taught to be gentile and caring with animals, and it shows in how they handle them.
Camellia Waldorf School cathects honesty, integrity and fairness in students in everything it does: Through stories, history and fables that are told with vivid detail. Through helping children work through disagreements and differences in ways that focus on mutual respect and reasonable compromise. Through demonstrating these qualities: The faculty and staff is dedicated to discernment and fairness and it shows in how they work with the students.
When we chose Camellia Waldorf School for our children, I was confident that it would be a warm, loving environment for them in preschool and kindergarten, and an increasingly challenging and engaging environment as they progressed from first through eighth grade. This has proven to be true and our children are thriving. What I did not realize, was how much this school would influence my entire family for the better. We used to be a family that came home from a long day of work and daycare, heated up something from the freezer, and watched TV. We were too tired to do anything else and I think I missed out on many precious moments with my children because of my adherence to the "daily grind" mentality. But, at Camellia Waldorf School, I met so many families who had found other ways to organize their family life, that I became inspired with possibility. My spouse and I found a way for me to work part time, and now I spend a lot more time with, and have more energy for, my family. This evening, after dinner, the TV was off, as it is every weeknight now, and we played board games and danced to some old pop tunes. My son and daughter were exuberant and joyful as they flew around the room. This is now a nightly occurrence at our house. I am so grateful to the Camellia Waldorf School community for being welcoming to my family from the very beginning. It is an extraordinary place for children - and parents!