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Home | Current News and Features | Maine's Only Comprehensive Waldorf School Earns Accreditation

Maine's Only Comprehensive Waldorf School Earns Accreditation

Contact: Deeda Burgess, Public Relations Coordinator FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Merriconeag Waldorf School, 57 Desert Road, Freeport Tel: 207-865-3900 Ext. 105 Email: publicrelations@merriconeag.org

 

          The only Waldorf school in Maine offering an education from nursery school through high school received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) this past June.  Merriconeag Waldorf 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 Merriconeag has received accreditation before, by both the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE), 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 currently serves approximately 250 students by providing an in-depth curriculum based on the insights of Austrian educator, scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925).  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 their artistic and physical sides as well. 

          To that end, 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, handwork 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 a rigorous academic program.

         The NEASC visiting committee gave an exemplary rating to Merriconeag for exuding a "joyful and robust implementation of its mission statement . . . evident in the admirable level of attention given in all sections of the school to the Waldorf educational approach of integrating academic studies, artistic expression and practical work."

         Part of the Mission Statement states that the school strives "to foster a sense of community which extends to the world at large in the hope that Merriconeag will serve as a center of cultural renewal."  In recent years, the school has premiered thought-provoking films such as Race to Nowhere and Queen of the Sun, invited notable speakers to address topical issues such as sex education, parenting, and the burgeoning technology in our children's lives.  It has also hosted Circus Smirkus for the past eight summers.

       The Committee also made several recommendations to strengthen the school's program.  Among them, they advised Merriconeag to strengthen its documentation with a more detailed technology plan, a more comprehensive facilities plan, and a comprehensive crisis response plan for on-site emergencies.  

               NEASC also praised Merriconeag for one of its defining features: the faculty, administration and Board of Trustees are jointly responsible for decision-making. In the absence of a headmaster or executive team making unilateral decisions, Merriconeag embraces a collaborative approach to governance. The Visiting Committee commended the school "for its efforts in developing a strong, supportive community and positive co-working through its renewed collaborative and inclusive governance model and its outreach to the parents in its community."

         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. 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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