Our Mission & Values
Our mission is to awaken and draw out each student's individual strength and integrity, allowing them to become a free thinker; a courageous seeker of truth and knowledge; and an empathetic, enthusiastic participant and innovator in local culture and global society.
Connection to the Environment
Our school community thrives in a three hundred year old city, set in a vital ecosystem at the mouth of one of the world’s most important waterways. We fully embrace New Orleans’ rich cultural and natural environment. Like all Waldorf Schools, we cultivate in our students a profound love of nature, and gratitude for the Earth and all life. We encourage active engagement with nature, so students may understand themselves as an intrinsic part of the world around us.
Our kindergarteners take a daily stroll along the sidewalks of their neighborhood, saying hello to neighbors and experiencing changes in the seasons. The kindergartners also enjoy Forest Kindergarten days at Audubon Park, where their parents will drop them off and pick them up. There, they maintain the rhythm of the kindergarten day while exploring the beauty and mysteries of paths, lagoons, animals, urban equestrians, and ancient Live Oaks.
Our grade school students regularly walk to neighborhood parks for movement classes, and the older ones tend our local community garden for gardening classes. We often use the local bus or streetcar to attend field trips in the French Quarter or other convenient locations.
Through the process of stepping beyond our school grounds, our students learn not only to recognize the natural world in their urban environment, but to feel confident and aware as they navigate their surroundings.
Developmentally Appropriate Education
The basis of Waldorf Education is a profound understanding of human physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual development - of who children are and how they best learn, what they are ready to understand at different stages of life.
Actively working with this knowledge, we integrate academic and artistic excellence with social engagement and moral awareness in a way that is appropriate for each developmental phase. By doing so, we encourage in our students the flourishing imagination, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, love of learning, physical and moral courage, and empathy to meet life’s challenges and opportunities.
The Waldorf School of New Orleans welcomes, values, and actively seeks racial, religious, economic, and cultural diversity, including single, dual, or multiple parent households and LGBT parents, faculty, and/or students. Approximately 24% of our students are children of color, and we are committed to having our school community further reflect the abundant diversity of New Orleans.
We believe that diversity is vital to our students and our school in that it promotes respect for individuals, empathy between groups, and a deeper understanding that leads to greater equity and reduced conflict within society as a whole.
While we strive to live up to these ideals, we also recognize that doing so calls for ongoing conversation, education, and partnership, and we encourage all stakeholders in our community to participate in this endeavor.
Rather than allow children to be drawn into virtual reality, Waldorf Education teaches our children the virtues of Reality.
Based on a deep understanding of child development and the nature of electronic media, the Waldorf School of New Orleans considers screen watching (including television, videos, movies, and computer games) to have a negative effect on the senses of a growing child and to be a harmful influence physically, mentally and emotionally.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, have studied the problems associated with media and children. Early exposure to electronic media impacts learning as passively receiving impressions from electronic media does not support the child’s inner efforts to concentrate, build inner pictures, sustain an imaginative train of thought, or to follow a complicated thought process.
Our teachers can clearly see a difference in the quality of learning and play when a child’s creativity and behavior are screen-influenced by ideas other than those that arise from the child’s consciousness. We therefore request that each family strive to eliminate or limit screen time in their child’s lifestyle. As one of our parents noted, "You don't teach children to think outside the box by giving them a box in which to learn. "
For more on our media policy, please consult our Family Handbook.
We strive to provide students with opportunities to see themselves as engaged citizens who can make a difference in the world. For the second graders, a Martinmas coat drive reflects the lessons of the stories they learn in class. For middle school students, teachers help identify programs of interest and support them as they volunteer. Parents and older students volunteer in the summer to prepare the buildings and grounds for the new school year, and we attempt to include several designated service days on the school calendar.
At the Waldorf School of New Orleans we feel strongly that our students learn to take loving responsibility for their environment, both within the school and without. From nursery age, they share in classroom chores, tend school gardens, learn to care for their school buildings and playgrounds, and participate in neighborhood clean-up events.
In addition, through simple steps such as recycling, composting, installing LED lights, working toward energy efficiency, and by using recycled paper and natural cleaning products, WSNO is not only providing a healthy environment and a good example for students, but has earned a Stage 1 Certification from LifeCity in recognition of our efforts at sustainability.