Saturday morning was hot and rainy when we headed down to Aurora Waldorf School, eager to see old friends. When we arrived at 525 West Falls Road, the clouds parted and the sun was shining. A circle of about 65 people gathered outside the front of the school for a commemorative circle; a circle that has been unbroken for twenty-five years. The moment was marked by a verse, heartfelt expressions of gratitude for the school and community, as well as optimism for continued success in the next 25 years.
The anniversary event was sponsored by the Aurora Waldorf School alumni association. Aurora Waldorf School was founded in 1991 by a group of parents willing to come together to study and work to found an independent school based on the philosophy of Austrian humanitarian and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. Many of those parents were present for the anniversary and continue to support the school and its unique model. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate, arts and academics are woven together. Programs include parent-toddler, nursery, kindergarten, and grades one through eight.
After the commemorative circle at the school, we went to a nearby ski lodge at the top of the hill to enjoy the company, the view and delicious food. This is a community of people that you can count on for good food and conversation. Raindrops brought intermittent relief from the oppressive heat but the warm connections were welcomed regardless.
Connecting with young people is always fun, especially when you were the grown up alumna’s kindergarten teacher. A child who enjoyed repairing things in my kindergarten class is now six foot five and plans to study electrical engineering after he graduates from high school next year. “Still tinkering”, he said with a smile that reminded me of the gentle five-year-old he once was.
Another alumna, Adrienne Morrison-Taylor, returned to the area to visit family and attend the alumni event. She is now studying Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. An alumnus from the second graduating class, Thea Kegler, is studying for her Master’s degree in Social Work.
One of the objectives of Waldorf education is to awaken social responsibility.
Based on the alumni stories I’ve heard, it’s working.
Judith Frizlen is the founder/executive director of the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center on Lafayette Avenue. She is the author of Words for Parents in Small Doses available at Talking Leaves and Inspiration Point book stores on Elmwood Avenue. Judith and her husband support the arts locally and enjoy recreational activities including kayaking and cross country skiing. They are long time Elmwood Village residents and are happy to say that their adult children have chosen to call Buffalo home.