Isn’t it depressing to know that our beautiful state ranks 50th in the nation when it comes to investing in the education of our children? The good news is that this dismal record is about to take a turn for the better on Sept. 2 when the Syringa Mountain School opens its doors in Hailey. This will not only be the first free public Waldorf charter school in Idaho, but also in Montana, Washington, Utah and Wyoming, and represents a thrilling new opportunity for our valley’s children.
Recently, we attended a gathering of the new school’s delightful and enthusiastic teachers and parents. The whole atmosphere of the evening was electric with gaiety and energy, starting with some of their children greeting us on our arrival, smiling and politely shaking hands with charming self-assurance. Two others were playing their violins on the terrace, and other children’s exuberant artwork added splashes of color to the scene. Several school books laid out on a table for us to look at were full of joyful sketches and paintings illustrating their multi-colored written work which—as a writer myself—I couldn’t help noticing was vividly expressed and individual in style and with a quite startling range of vocabulary—and a remarkably few corrected spelling mistakes.
In the course of the evening, we learned that Waldorf education is the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world today, with over 200 schools already in America, and many more world-wide. My grandchildren in Maui are a product of this splendid system, and one other thing I always noticed when over on visits was—they couldn’t wait to get off to school in the mornings! Doesn’t that say it all?
I urge anyone interested to visit the new school, and let’s all celebrate the beginning of Idaho’s climb up from that shaming 50th place in the nation towards becoming innovators and leaders in the education of our best and brightest hope for the future—our children.