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A Gift of Wonder: A True Story Showing School as It Should Be Paperback – August 15, 2017
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About the Author
Kim Allsup has a B.A. from Brown University and a M.Ed. and Waldorf Certification from Antioch New England Graduate School. She has been teaching at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod for more than twenty years.
Patrice Maynard, M.Ed., is Director of Publications and Development for the Research Institute for Waldorf Education (RIWE). She currently teaches teachers at several Waldorf teacher training institutes in North America as an adjunct faculty member. She was leader for Outreach and Development for the Association of Waldorf Schools (AWSNA) for nine years and taught for thirteen years prior to these positions as a class teacher and as a music teacher at the Hawthorne Valley School in Harlemville, New York, where she lives with her husband. She was on the founding board of the Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport, Maine, and is the proud parent of three Waldorf graduates. Patrice is a published poet, a gardener, and a quilter.
- Publisher : Lindisfarne Books (August 15, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1584209542
- ISBN-13 : 978-1584209546
- Item Weight : 12.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.98 x 0.55 x 9.02 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,046,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The author/teacher beautifully recounted her art of storytelling during main lesson time and genuinely described how Rudolf Steiner curriculum was designed to “matter deeply to children” as they grew and evolved each year.
This thoughtfully written true story of a Waldorf teacher holding her class from First Grade to Sixth, chronicled cherished moments between her and her students while at the same time showing us all…”school as it should be.”
As I visualized this Cape Cod Waldorf schools class beginning first grade and walked with them as they voyaged through the grades that followed, I was able to grasp the sense of timelessness in their old schoolhouse that encouraged childhood, and became fully aware of how Waldorf teachers were wonderfully “free to seize opportunities to spark wonder and harness engagement.”
It was clear that not only purposeful freedom and nurtured relationships were key, but the curriculum content was the MAGIC SAUCE…”truly soul food for the students” AND teacher. Kim Allsup fortified the brilliance of a distinguished education philosophy that has endured and flourished for one hundred years.
Whether they know it or not, children hunger for culture and for a classic and meaningful education that feeds and nourishes the soul. A Gift of Wonder illustrated school as it should be and reinforced why we walk through the doors of our own Waldorf schoolhouse everyday.
The authors childhood, filled with wonder, allows her thinking to be free from rigid forms. She understands that there is still time to meet academic requirements, and holds the awe and wonder of childhood to a higher standard. It is the awe and wonder of life that gives us strength and courage in our old age and the author is a gentle guide to children along the way.
As a homeschooling mother, this book inspires and encourages me. It is filled with thought provoking quotes. I will keep it close at hand and on the tough days, pick it up and find encouragement. Kim's life dedication to children is a touching legacy. I wish I had been lucky enough to have been one of her students. In a wonderful way, I am through this book.
When I first started reading this book, I was disappointed it was stories about events occurring with an elementary school class. It was easy to read and kept my attention, developing characters and visualizing the classroom setting. But I’d prefer a more abstract, analytic, quantitative evaluation of this educational approach rather than a series of stories.
Halfway through the book, I realized I was getting a good understanding of what is happening daily in a Waldorf school classroom. (Certainly much better than my own experience in public schools!) Without stating explicitly, there seems to be:
• Positive relationships among the students and teacher;
• Genuine respect for each other, and the material covered in class;
• Accommodating the varied personal interests and capabilities of different students, including improvising in real time;
• Enjoying learning and discovery;
• Establishing a lifelong interest in learning;
• Feeling part of a community and friendly classroom environment group (vs. hostile cliques or bullying that you see in public schools)
Now I see how they accomplish these goals by their approach in the classroom.
Although it seems more work for a Waldorf teacher, the teacher seems to grow and really care about the students. A really positive bond develops through the years.
Two faults I find with this book:
1. I know there’s data showing Waldorf school graduates are more successful, and are superior in test scores, to graduates of public schools that focus on testing. (For example, a large study done by Stanford.) Why isn’t this discussed in some depth in the book?
2. Although chapters are named for topics relevant to schooling, I would have appreciated an explicit summary of the advantages of this educational approach in a final chapter or somewhere. This might not fit the format of the book, but I was left wanting a discussion or summary of the advantages and outcomes. Maybe that’s the topic of another book, or there’s a web resource, but its not mentioned how to find this list of advantages.