The Waldorf School of Garden City provides students from around the globe with the complex skills required to achieve in a complex world. Intellects are honed during Main Lesson seminars and imaginations are flexed in the lab, gym, and studio. Becoming a student at Waldorf means joining a community of people who think—creatively, critically, deeply, differently.
The following highlights the distinctive features of a Waldorf education and why Waldorf students are prepared to excel in college, career, and life.
We encourage intellectual curiosity and delving into big ideas, and encourage our students to become critical and independent thinkers. The Waldorf School of Garden City has more than 47 passionate educators, most with advanced degrees in their core field. Our average class size is 12, with a student/faculty ratio of 7:1 – which means a personalized experience.
We are a school big enough to offer an extraordinary breadth of opportunities, but small enough to feel personal. Our students come from more than 93 different zip codes and many different countries, with 40% identifying themselves as people of color.
Every term, many of our students give back to the larger community by volunteering with organizations–from Erase Racism to Food not Bombs to the Energeia Partnership. Within our school there are opportunities for you to hone your leadership skills on the Student Council, through our Model United Nations, or on our student-run Literary Journal.
The Waldorf School is distinguished by its powerful and transformative approach to education that combines both block schedule (called Main Lesson seminars) and more traditional yearlong coursework. High School students start their morning with a double period seminar called Main Lesson. The year-long Main Lesson curriculum is divided into nine Main lesson blocks (each about a month long) covering core subjects in the sciences, humanities and mathematics. Main Lesson books created by the students display an increasing degree of independent thinking, sophistication of analysis and beauty in execution as students’ progress through the high school curriculum. As they gather their work­—essays, drawings, maps, charts, lab reports, lecture notes—into a content rich block book, they make the subject uniquely their own. It combines a challenging academic program delivered in an interdisciplinary environment that encourages students to take healthy risks and push themselves to take creative risks.
The principle behind Main Lesson seminars are to engage students in the learning process by inspiring them to prepare thoroughly, participate daily, solve problems collaboratively, explore divergent ideas, challenge assumptions, and learn to lead class discussions. In this way, students take an active role in and responsibility for their own learning. Waldorf School students develop outstanding listening skills and the confidence to speak with clarity and nuance. Regardless of college track or professional field, these talents and skills are critical to future achievement and success.
The Waldorf School faculty has developed a rich and varied curriculum that sets high expectations for independent thought, participatory engagement and careful reflection about the purpose and meaning of student learning. Each discipline is further enhanced by Main Lesson Seminars, which requires more faculty and student involvement and commitment than teaching and learning in a traditional classroom.
Waldorf is proud of its talented faculty with 75% having advanced degrees, an average tenure exceeding eight years and many serving as student advisors. Faculty members develop supportive, guiding relationships with their students in the classroom or studio, on the athletic field, in clubs, on field trips, and in homestays.
Today’s students will live and compete in a highly competitive global knowledge economy. Building the new skills they will need for college, careers, and citizenship is reinforced by Waldorf diverse community of students and faculty members. With many countries and over 93 different local zip codes represented, Waldorf is a true cultural, socio-economic and geopolitical melting pot. Waldorf students have different interests, passions, and ideas; no two students fit the same mold or are obligated to follow the same path. A community of scholars, athletes, and artists; thinkers, collaborators, and doers; Waldorf is enriched by the unique tapestry of learners and educators who call our farm, classrooms, studios and campus “home.”
Our location is the best of both worlds: a beautiful 11-acre campus next door to a major university, 18 miles east of New York City and a rural 250 acre farm campus in New Hampshire. The Waldorf School takes full advantage of its proximity, tapping into the city’s rich cultural and educational resources. Students utilize the museums, landmarks, the university, and more to expand their educational experience. The School’s performing artists can attend world-class dance and musical performances and even take the stage in some of the city’s prominent venues. There’s simply no limit to what can be learned in this vibrant, thriving metropolis. This is balanced with climbing a mountain, camping out doors and feeding farm animals at our farm.
With students from the Class of 2015 admitted to Dartmouth, Harvard and MIT (to name a few), the goal of the College Counseling Office is to help students make informed educational choices, be experts on the college search process, and advocate strongly for our students. While acceptance at a college or university that matches the student’s educational, social, geographic and financial needs is vital, the College Office takes a very personalized approach that guides students through a process of self-exploration so they may learn more about themselves to help create a positive vision before they move on to the next, more independent phase of their life.
Our process begins in ninth grade and is dedicated to understanding and helping determine each student’s college goals, coupled with knowledgeable advice and attention to detail, in order to ensure a timely—and successful—process. We bring dozens of college representatives to our campus each year and they consistently tell students how well prepared Waldorf students are to achieve in college and beyond. Reflecting the diversity of our student body, Waldorf graduates matriculate at a broad range of colleges and universities, including the most selective institutions in the nation and abroad.