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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Environmental education in the heart of the United States

USA: Since 2001 a Waldorf school exists in the heart of the United States in Lawrence, Kansas. Interest in Waldorf education in the Kansas region is going back all the way to the 1980s and a number of kindergarten initiatives, which were more or less successful. But up until today the Prairie Moon School is the only Waldorf school in Kansas. Currently the school serves approximately 65 students from the early childhood level through grade six.

Prairie Moon Waldorf School is housed in a six-classroom school building located on premises that continue to be surrounded by vast farmland in the Kansas River Valley near the city. Lawrence is generally regarded as being unusual in Kansas - more politically liberal, more diverse demographically, and more youthful - owing to the university’s drawing of international students and faculty. Lawrence is impressively open-minded in ways that make it a good seedbed for Waldorf education.

One of the main concerns of the school community is to teach environmental consciousness and responsible treatment of nature to the children. Important topics include recycling, nature conservation, composting and organic food. Prairie Moon was the first school to establish a school garden and was recognized for its efforts by being named Green School of the Year in Kansas in 2011.

The community events and festivals offered by the school have, in a few short years, become anticipated seasonal celebrations that are well attended, not only by school families, but also by members of the greater community. These include, among others, the annual Winterlight Faire, the Spring Fest, and the Prairie Moon Sweetheart Moon Dance on Valentine’s Day.

Attracting fully prepared and experienced Waldorf faculty to Kansas has been a challenge for Prairie Moon. In response, the school started a teacher preparation course in Lawrence in 2012, which in recent years has started to draw teachers and administrators for summer study from a wider geographic area.