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New Program Enriches Learning for Middle School Students

Wilton, N.H.—2 July 2014—Pine Hill Waldorf School, an independent kindergarten and elementary school developing creative, free-thinking  individuals since 1972, today announced a program of Enrichment Afternoons for middle school students. For two hours after lunch one day each week, students from the sixth, seventh and eighth grades will convene to explore subjects of particular interest to students and teachers. For example, courses offered this year will range from courses in specific art techniques to cultural explorations to the sciences.

Christine Cassagnau, who teaches sixth grade at Pine Hill and chairs the faculty, said the teachers developed the Enrichment Afternoons program to  enliven students’ emerging thinking, reasoning and inquiry at a time when they’re yearning to stretch their powers and engage in more social activities. “Middle school is a time when students reset their relationships with teachers and pursue closer relationships with one another,” Cassagnau said. “In addition to our regular coursework, which exposes students to a number of teachers, Enrichment Afternoons will provide another opportunity for the students to work with teachers other than their class teacher in a group setting. At a time when children are developing greater abilities to dive into their work, the two-hour class session will enable students to  explore topics in a more hands-on way and playful manner.”

In Waldorf education, teachers approach the curriculum as an art, developing block units and topics to call forth students’ enthusiasm for learning and work. The pedagogy is based on 95 years of experience in more than 1,000 Waldorf schools in more than 60 countries. It is common for a single teacher to accompany one class through all eight grades of elementary and middle school. Specialty teachers augment the class teachers’ work by offering instruction in language, movement, music and manual arts.

Pine Hill’s Enrichment Afternoons curriculum and schedule is being finalized, and the 2014-15 school year will serve as a pilot for the program. Courses will run for six weeks to allow for deeper exploration of subjects while also providing opportunities to pursue new topics of interest. Over the 2014-15 academic year, students will take four enrichment courses. Cassagnau expects courses to reflect interests and skills that faculty members may not have extended opportunities to pursue in their daily work. For example, faculty members possess these backgrounds:

  • Music history and composition
  • Theater
  • Environmental education
  • Graphic arts, painting and ceramics
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Marine biology and chemistry

Teachers surveyed students in the spring to determine which subjects were of interest to the students. Students were also encouraged to suggest courses of study.

To learn more, phone PIne Hill Waldorf School at (603) 654-6003, extension 308, or email admissions@pinehill.org.

About Pine Hill Waldorf School

Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on a profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child—the heart and the hands, as well as the head. Pine Hill Waldorf School was established in Wilton, N.H., in 1972. The school offers generous financial aid. Interested families are encouraged to visit www.pinehill.org or schedule a visit.