Diversity at MVWS
Maple Village Waldorf School is fortunate to have a wide array of cultures, races, economic backgrounds, religious affiliations, gender identities, and sexual orientations represented in the makeup of our faculty, staff, parents and students. We value this multiplicity and consistently strive to ensure that the population of our school reflects that of our community. We collaborate with diverse communities in Long Beach, as well as other cities and countries, to enrich our educational and social environment and to actively engage in the city and in the world in which we live.
Waldorf education began almost 100 years ago in Northern Europe. Maple Village Waldorf School is proud of its position in a diverse urban setting that allows it to further develop an American curriculum that meets the modern student with rigor, relevance, and cultural awareness. Waldorf education strives to bring students a richer view of the world and a deeper connection to others.
We strongly believe that inclusion of diversity throughout the learning experience strengthens all subject areas. Through the Waldorf method of teaching, students hear stories about heroes and courageous people from around the world. Whether it is building models of the shelters of indigenous people in the 3rd grade, learning phonics through tales from Jamaica, China, Africa, India and Russia, or studying the heroes of recent history—like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.—the curriculum provides our students and families the opportunity to learn about and appreciate contributions from men and women from all cultures and walks of life. Children study Native America and Spanish language and culture, as well as learning Japanese verses, poetry and songs. Our attention to diversity and inclusion is not only experienced in terms of curriculum content, but also in terms of action. Cultural cooking is brought into every grade, and teachers integrate different learning styles into lesson plans, modify physical activities for various body types and are sensitive to the range of abilities in each class. Activity groups always integrate genders, and assumptions are not made about sexual identity. Use of language is approached with sensitivity to respect the private beliefs of students and families present in the school. Classroom decoration and school festivals and events honor and celebrate a diversity of cultural experience and expressions.
Our students also actively engage with the world, with people of other cultures in local and distant geographies through the many collaborative relationships the school maintains with community groups, agencies and programs. Our students work with people experiencing homelessness, have adopted a child in South Africa, partnered with a school in Uganda for a water conservation project, and have pen-pals across the world.
The faculty at MVWS recognizes the value of including a variety of cultures, experiences, opinions and life stories in each classroom. Lessons balance personal experiences with global perspectives to better educate students and prepare them to be active citizens and leaders for the future. In every subject there is an effort to authentically reflect the lived experience of students and to introduce things that are less familiar in a respectful way. This variety is an essential part of educating the whole human being.
AWSNA Position Statement on Diversity
“Waldorf schools are independent schools, which are designed to educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring recognition and understanding to any world culture or religion. The Waldorf School, founded in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner, is not part of any church.
Waldorf schools are committed to developing the human potential of each child to its fullest. Admission to the schools is open to everyone, without regard to race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, or ethnicity. In company with many other tuition-based independent schools, Waldorf schools are actively seeking ways to increase the economic and ethnic diversity of their student populations.
It is a fundamental goal of our education to bring students to an understanding and experience of the common humanity of all the world’s peoples, transcending the stereotypes, prejudices, and divisive barriers of classification by sex, race and nationality. We most emphatically reject racism in all its forms, and embrace the principles of common humanity expressed by the founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner: “[We] must cast aside the division into races. [We] must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divisions and differences between various groups of people. “