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New charter school to utilize the Waldorf method

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 28 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 29 2013 06:12:33 PM CST

It's a school where learning doesn't just come from textbooks.

WEISENBERG TWP., Pa. -

It's a school where learning doesn't just come from textbooks, and there are no actual grades.

The goal is to turn the former Penn State Lehigh County campus in Weisenberg Township into a new public school where the curriculum is a little out of the box.

"Waldorf looks at a child and says they're this age, where are they developmentally, what are they ready to learn and how are they ready to learn it," said Phil Arnold, director of the Circle of Seasons charter school. "So it's very arts infused, music, movement, a lot of activities especially in the early grades."

The Circle of Seasons charter school will be the first public school on the East Coast teaching the so-called Waldorf method.

Administrators were denied an application in the Parkland School District, but reapplied for a charter in the Northwestern Lehigh School District.

The board had a lot of questions before approving the application last week.

"Items to do with the common core standards being instituted in Pennsylvania, Chapter 4 regulations and things to do with special ed students and things like that," said Darryl Schafer, board president of the Northwestern Lehigh school district.

Another difference in the curriculum is the grading system. Waldorf students don't receive letter grades. Instead, a teacher writes a narrative on the students progress, but administrators said if a student has to transfer to a school with a grading system, they'll be just fine.

"Typically, what has been shown is when kids leave if they were to transfer out of a Waldorf type school and go to another school part of what they are taking with them is a love of learning," said Arnold.

The Circle of Seasons charter school will hold open enrollment in February and expect to open in August with kindergarten, first and second grade students.

For more information on enrollment go to http://circleofseasons.org/About_Circle_of_Seasons.html.