COLORADO SPRINGS — Mountain Song Community School is a public, Waldorf, charter school that does not charge tuition.
They teach with an emphasis on agriculture, arts and the earth.
Since they are outside, they say the kids have the freedom to not wear masks. The leaders say one of the most challenging things this year has been the use of technology during remote learning because they usually try to limit the use of devices during the day for young kids.
You’ve heard us say school looks a lot different this year. But, at Mountain Song Community School, different is a benefit, not a burden.
“We have the freedom to take the time to help the children solve problems,” said Gina Nicoletta-Budler.
Stories told with passion, not from a page. From fairytales to history lessons, the Waldorf way doesn’t use books and lets the teacher tell the stories by heart.
“One of the really important aspects of telling the story without showing them pictures in a book, is that they are using their imaginations to picture the grandmother and the apple tree and whatever it is that am talking about,” said Nicoletta-Budler.
Amy Deivert has a 8th grader and a kindergartener at Mountain Song Community School.
“I guess we are just a little bit of a different,” said Deivert. “We tried the public school system, it didn’t work for our oldest child.”
At Mountain Song Community School, Deivert’s son has thrived.
“It’s just been really nice to see him blossom in that environment,” Deivert said.
The school’s principal Dr. Teresa Woods, said remote learning during COVID has been a challenge. Though they gave their families Chromebooks, their goal was still to get the kids outside.
“This is the irony is that, in Waldorf education, we do not put kids on screens when they are young. So, COVID has really put us in a new environment,” said Dr. Woods.
One of the rules of the school is that the students don’t sit in front of screens on school nights.
In a world where everyone is constantly connected, Dr. Woods thinks sometimes it’s best to unplug. During the day the kids do quiet time, reflecting inward, kind of like mindfulness or meditation.
“We also provide experiences that are not online, where they are getting out in nature, whether it’s a scavenger hunt or nature observation,” Dr. Woods said. “We have these activities where they go out and do independent study.”
Instead – they are connecting with the natural world and each other.
“This is something that we are looking for in our world today is this connection and sense of belonging,” Dr. Woods said.
The entire school will be going back into the building for in-person learning the week of Oct. 5. When they return to in-person learning, the school has several precaution in place: masks will be worn inside, there are sinks in each room, and some classes will take place outside.
They are still enrolling student this year until September 29.
On September 25, they are having a virtual fall festival where families can participate in seasonal activities.