The philosophy of Desert Star Community School is founded upon the conviction that children are innately curious about themselves and the world; they inherently want to learn, discover, and create. The role of the school is to nourish and guide this natural exuberance, energy, and delight in the quest for meaning and knowledge. Creative approaches in which the arts are integrated into academic learning serve to engage the child holistically and provide an experiential, multi-sensory context for understanding intellectual concepts. The experiential study of world cultures enriches the student’s expanding world-view giving an appreciation for diversity, flexibility of thinking, and an intrinsic empathic understanding of social and cultural issues. The school’s overall educational approach is designed to instill in its students not only high standards for academic achievement but also a sustaining degree of intellectual curiosity, creative thinking, problem solving and creative self-expression, as well as valuable interpersonal and intrapersonal life skills. We believe that true education involves more than just the intellect; it engages and integrates every aspect of the child: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social as well as the creative-imaginative self.
Both Steiner and Gardner created an educational approach that provides a holistic understanding of the child’s needs and potentials. By addressing diverse learning styles these methods provide a means to nurture success and academic mastery for all students. Thomas Armstrong, author of Multiple Intelligences in the classroom, said, “Waldorf Education embodies in a truly organic sense all of Howard Gardner’s seven intelligences. Rudolph Steiner’s vision is a whole one, not simply an amalgam of the seven intelligences (Armstrong, 1994).” At Desert Star we use these complementary educational philosophies to develop curriculum methods that lead to mastery of standards and that cultivate and expand all intelligence areas in a developmentally appropriate context.
Desert Star teachers will understand and address Steiner’s indications for the developmental stages of childhood while respecting each child’s individual abilities and rate of progress. They will strive to provide a child-centered approach to learning that will support development as it emerges and will meet the child’s needs for individualized approaches. This will be accomplished by providing advanced learning opportunities, remediation, or time and resources to pursue special interests and passions. We will place a high priority on our students “learning how to learn” through creative problem solving, discovery and inquiry based approaches rather than rote instruction.