At Bright Water Waldorf we believe that teaching active compassion is high amongst our pedagogical goals as a school. As Waldorf parents and educators, working through an understanding of child development, we recognize that - first and foremost - children learn through imitation. As adults, therefore, we strive to be worthy of imitation in the social realm. We strive to model direct and respectful communication and social warmth, and to show a willingness to work through social conflicts.

 We believe that every human being needs a healthy social environment in which to grow and develop. Because social conflict is inevitable, we make a commitment as a community to use difficult social encounters between students as opportunities to teach inclusion and to work for resolution. 

 At Bright Water Waldorf we have a clear school code of conduct and serious infractions of this code will result in disciplinary action. None-the-less, as a community, we make a commitment to approach social conflicts without blame. We understand that teasing, bullying and exclusionary behaviors are painful, and in fact harmful, to all involved, both active and passive participants. We also realize that human beings need help to navigate difficult social terrain and to take increasing responsibility for their actions as they grow from childhood into adulthood.

 Our goal, therefore, is to bring accountability to students, as well as the opportunity to make amends; to help imagine better solutions and to allow all voices to be heard and acknowledged. We make a commitment to educating ourselves to provide continuity in adult responses to social conflict at home and throughout the school day so that students feel held and secure. We strive to create a community where the students themselves are advocates for fairness, justice and peace. 

 To facilitate this, we agree to—

  1.  Educate ourselves as parents/teachers and include study of social issues and social check-ins into our parent and faculty work.

  2. Promote compassion through active practices.

  3. Work on refining our resolution skills to give us a common tools for working with social conflict including the use of DADD, Class Councils, Peace Circles and No Blame Meetings (see below).

  4. Focus on empowering the leadership skills of our students, in pedagogically appropriate ways, teaching them to be advocates for fairness and inclusion.

D.A.D.D.:  A gentle, effective discipline tool for parents and caregivers

(Based on the work of Kim John Payne, M.Ed.)

This conflict resolution process can be adapted to suit almost any age, providing a natural framework for guiding children towards more positive behavior. It is a process which teachers and parents can use their own words, their own language, helping it feel natural for the child.   

1.  Connect Before You Direct

You have to connect with the child before you can direct their behavior in a more positive direction. Touch them gently on the shoulder, make eye contact – once you have made a face-to-face connection, there is a shift in their thinking.

2.  Stay Close

Your calm physical presence will help calm your child. Being calm, and staying close, right by their side, you have a much better chance of ‘holding’ your child.  

3.  D.A.D.D.  

4.  Insist

Insist that your child can do the right thing. Insist that they ‘do-over’ their actions. Your children will consistently test your boundaries – it’s their job! It is your job to consistently reinforce the boundaries that you have chosen for your child. 

5.  Follow through

Stay close, and help your child follow through with whatever action you have insisted upon. Be beside them whilst they do it. They are learning how to live up to social expectations and boundaries, and we can help them as they learn.  

 This process focuses on learning, not o a forced apology.

With two to 7-year-olds, you don’t have to do all of the steps, all of the time. Once you are familiar with the process, you begin to learn which steps work better for which ages.

Discovering the cause of an incident may be impossible with a two-year-old, and a do-over becomes irrelevant for two to 4-year-olds if it can’t be done right away, in the moment. If you have to wait for a three to 4-year-old to calm down, chances are they will have forgotten about the incident and have no idea what you’re talking about when you finally come back to it.

The less you talk, the more children listen. Try to model behavior you want to see – imitation of positive behavior comes more naturally to children and is easier than correction of difficult behavior!   

Modeling Genuine Apologies at Home

Parents can model or demonstrate by making authentic apologies and do-overs to each other in front of the children “Oh honey, I am sorry, that came out unkindly. Let me try again. I guess we are all learning to be kind.”

Parents only need to do this – genuinely – a few times for the children to begin imitating. Far too often parents leave genuine apologies until after the children are in bed – depriving children of an opportunity to learn about real apologies. 

 Bright Water Waldorf School defines diversity as the broad spectrum of cultures, races, ethnicity, language speakers, genders, sexual orientation, religious persuasions, socio- economic backgrounds and abilities that together make up our city, country and the world. Embracing diversity in our daily practices elevates the experience for every member of our community and builds relevance and compassion for life in our ever-changing world.

Bright Water Waldorf School has created and continues to foster a program, culture and inclusive community of students, families, trustees, faculty and staff that embrace diverse perspectives, cultures, backgrounds and identities. The school is committed to caring for all members of its community.

One of the highest values and …….Bright Water Waldorf School is honoring the humanity of every individual. We believe that by learning and growing within a diverse and vibrant community, each student can best meet the challenges of the human being in the modern world. In this spirit, we welcome, value and support families of all races, ethnicity, national origins, religions, economic backgrounds, abilities, sexual orientation, and gender identities and expressions. We seek to provide an environment that require people to learn to engage with differences and be willing to listen and to find common ground. Therefore, one of our highest goals is to have our school community reflect the abundant in changing diversity of our city, United States as a whole, and the world.