Culture & Community
As the longest-running Steiner Waldorf School in the English speaking world we feel a sense of responsibility to the wider Steiner Waldorf movement as well as to our local community and the school community of pupils, parents, teachers and support staff.
We aim to cultivate the awareness that the thriving existence of any individual is based on the support of the community and that, conversely, the thriving community will depend on the awareness of the community in each individual. The bond between parent, teacher and child is one that is process-based, not outcome-based. Our daily work can be experienced as creating culture, like a living stream. In doing so, it preserves an awareness and connection with environmental/cosmic rhythms. Newness comes into our work through service of the ideal. We care for each child and aim to allow children to enjoy their childhood.
Whilst we are privately funded, largely by fee-income, we aspire to be inclusive to families from a range of family backgrounds.
We rejoice in a strong and diverse team of specialists (languages, gardening, music, drama, movement, art, learning support…many centres of excellence). In doing so we acknowledge a living connection with colleagues who have passed on, drawing from their inspiration.
Since their inception, Steiner Waldorf schools have regarded the celebration of festivals as an integral part of school life. The education has its roots in western Christian culture and for this reason Michael Hall celebrates the Christian festivals, particularly at the cardinal points of the year – Michaelmas, Advent, Easter, Whitsun and Midsummer. These festivals are celebrated by the whole school. There are other festivals – for example, minor Christian ones, festivals from the Celtic tradition and those belonging to the other great religions of the world – which are also marked by individual Classes in different ways, helping to deepen the children’s experience of other cultures as they progress through the school. In addition, school festivals are held where classes share what they have been working on in the classroom with parents and other students.
Festivals are important as they address the basic human need for rhythm and repetition. Each festival has its place in the cycle of the year, which give children an orientation in time, in a society where many of the natural rhythms of life have virtually disappeared.
As well as giving them sensory impressions that nurture the soul, the celebration of festivals encourages the cultivation of reverence and wonder in our pupils. It helps the children to develop essential human qualities such as patience by learning to wait, and the ability to look after things by using the same objects and decorations every year.
See our school calendar for the festivals that are celebrated by the whole or large part of the school.
We have an active alumni, known as Old Scholars, and we like to keep in touch with our graduates and hear news of where they go and what they get up to after they leave Micheal Hall.
If you are curious to follow this news or you are a Michael Hall old scholar and would like to stay in touch, you can sign up to our Old Scholars Newsletters. The newsletter includes stories of graduate endeavours, Class reunions, school updates and more. On the Old Scholars page you will find out how to sign-up and be able to read past copies of the Newsletter.
Formed in the autumn of 2020, “Michael Hall Parents” is an open group that supports and engages in dialogue with all parents on how to participate with Waldorf education for their children and themselves at Michael Hall. In order to achieve this, parents work to support each other, are in study of Waldorf Education, and are in dialogue with teachers and management. With parents working together we can foster the best conditions for learning in a Waldorf community.
“The well managed noticeboard, the daily coffee drop-ins, the crowd-funding of another school in trouble, selling school apples at the local farm shop, the public footpath through the grounds. These are all small examples of like minded individuals working together for a better world. This is about belonging (a human need). If you feel you belong to something of real meaning and purpose this equals happiness. This is like a big group hug around our children.“Parent