Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is meant by the term “curative education”?
A. Curative Education” is the name of a book, a compilation of lectures by Rudolf Steiner. These lectures were originally in German and the title translates as “Lectures on Healing Pedagogy”. They were given to a group of teachers interested in working with children in need of a deeper level of care or healing that would not be practical in the large setting of the Waldorf School, which Steiner had already established.
Q. How does a curative education class rhythm differ from a typical Waldorf school?
A. One of the things that Steiner speaks of in these lectures is the need for specific types of work with movement. He also speaks of the need to begin the day with movement work. That means that the Main Lesson time that you find in every Waldorf school is not the first thing that we would do, but something that comes after the work with movement. Although all Waldorf classrooms start their day with some movement and include music and recitation, this period is not the main focus of the morning, nor is that work headed towards what we would call “developmental” movement, meaning that it helps the child replicate and re-work certain developmental stages which then frees up more of the child’s innate capacities.
Q. What kind of children come to Mulberry?
A. Mulberry Farm is a program meant for any child who for whatever reason would do better in a smaller setting and one who needs to move in order to come to a better awareness of themselves that will serve them academically as well as socially.
Q. My child has “fill in the blank” syndrome. Do you work with children with “fill in the blank” syndrome?
A. At Mulberry Farm we do not look at labels. We are not interested in the content of assessments the child may have had in the past, not do we assess children when we meet them. We look at the child. Period. We ask ourselves who is this child? Who are they at their core? Who are they trying to become? And then we ask what is in this child’s way? What obstacles do they need to overcome in order to reach their highest potential?
Q. How will my child be able to have a social life with only a small group of children to interact with?
A. Difficulties in academics often have a direct relationship to difficulties socially. Being in a large group is overwhelming for our children when we first start to work with them. A small group is just the right size proportionally for them to begin to find their way and succeed socially. This is the way they learn the tools and confidence to make friends and have positive social interactions that will serve them well later on when they are ready to be back in a larger group.
Q. What role does the parent play in supporting their child at Mulberry?
A. The time that a child spends in a school like Mulberry is meant to be a healing time. We are working to bring about a change. We are looking at the child as a being whose potential is fluid, not fixed. This fluidity is what allows us to move forward, but it needs to be directed and guided. Teachers work during school time to hold the child inwardly and outwardly to his or her highest potentials. Appropriate boundaries, expectations and consistent rhythms are some of the tools we use. For the child to fully benefit from their time with us, this same kind of holding needs to continue at home. This means that the parents become more like pedagogies, helping to build a strong container around the child. This container is one of healing and protection. We want the child’s home life to be calm and nourishing in all ways. We don’t want them exposed to anything that will over stimulate them. We know that sugar and media undoes everything we do during the day, so we ask that they be eliminated. We know that clear, high expectations for behavior and capacity help the child build self-esteem. We want to be working together so that the child feels that all the adults in his or her life are working for their benefit, consistently holding the same picture of the child’s highest self. That’s where we hope to go.