Waldorf school earns accreditation

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FREEPORT – Merriconeag Waldorf School, which serves children from nursery school through high school, has recently received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The school, with campuses in Freeport and New Gloucester, was commended by NEASC for “cultivating the qualities of goodness, beauty and truth evident in the nurturing care of the students . . . the skilled and creative faculty, the high school’s resourcefulness, aesthetically pleasing buildings and grounds, and the deep respect and responsibility shown for its natural surroundings. The students and school exude a spirit of joyful learning and respect for one another.”

While the school has received accreditation before, by both the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the Association of Independent Schools of New England, this is the first time since the founding of Merriconeag’s high school five years ago that the full program been accredited.

An independent school founded in 1984, Merriconeag serves approximately 250 students by providing curriculum based on the insights of the Austrian educator, scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. The faculty teaches out of the understanding that every child is a uniquely unfolding individual who passes through distinct life stages. Teachers present their subject matter imaginatively to engage not only their students’ intellects, but also their artistic and physical sides.

All Merriconeag students take two languages throughout their elementary school years, create their own “textbooks” by hand, play musical instruments, sing in chorus, act in class plays, learn circus arts, handiwork and woodwork, in addition to their formal academic subjects. Most of these activities extend through high school, where students also have the opportunity to engage in activities as varied as blacksmithing, Model UN and community service to complement the academic program.

NEASC also praised Merriconeag for one of its defining features: the faculty, administration and board of trustees are jointly responsible for decision making. School Administrator Christine Sloan said that helping to create that collaborative atmosphere has been one of her most gratifying responsibilities.

“Our faculty embraces the responsibility of guiding the development and future of the whole school, not just their area of interest,” Sloan said in a press release from the school. “It is a dynamic and at times complicated communication challenge, but these efforts deepen all of our connection to the mission of the school and each other’s work.”

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