Our teachers demonstrate a strong respect for and love of children. It is our intention to create a nurturing and harmonious environment for all the children. We focus on teaching imaginatively through the arts as a way to enliven learning, and practice an intentional honoring of each child’s physical and emotional needs, respecting that progress happens at the pace that is right for the individual child. We value open communication with parents to help us provide this environment.
BEGINNINGS AND GROWTH
Lilac Children’s Garden was conceived by Rochester parents to bring the influence of Waldorf education to homeschooling families.
Lilac began providing programs in 1998 when a small group of parents familiarized themselves with Waldorf curriculum and became our first teachers. Through the years, we have attracted parents to join Lilac Children’s Garden leadership and teaching. Many have come with a range of teaching experience in Waldorf education or other methods. Some have come with no educational experience at all, but have the willingness to grow and learn through independent study as well as formal training.
Through the years a cohesive community of current students and alumni has formed, many families having more than one child who has “gone all the way through” Lilac Children’s Garden program. There is a noticeable connection and joy as families have formed strong, long-lasting relationships through the community, supporting one another generously through life’s ups and downs.
WHAT IS WALDORF EDUCATION?
Waldorf education was pioneered by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in post-World War I Europe. Steiner stressed that children are spiritual as well as physical beings. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child—the heart and the hands, as well as the head. Child development in the Waldorf plan is age-specific. The decisions about the curriculum are based on what is happening in the child’s physical and emotional development and also in the development of the child’s consciousness. The Waldorf curriculum draws heavily from the wisdom of ancient cultures, and incorporates visual art, music, movement, and language arts, with a special emphasis on nature study into every aspect of the learning process. While no religion is taught in Waldorf schools, children are exposed to a variety of mythologies as well as the stories of great men and women throughout history.
IS LILAC CHILDREN’S GARDEN A PARENT CO-OP?
We do not strictly follow a parent co-op governance model. However, parental help and involvement are necessary to make our quality offering possible. Each year, LCG asks parents in the fall to commit to fulfilling at least one or two parent responsibilities (i.e., help during the plays with costumes or scenery, assist with the planning and production of our festivals, serve on the Board of Directors, etc.). Teachers also request parental assistance in the classroom and with set-up and/or clean-up on a rotating basis (three or four times a year, depending on class size).