Alabama Waldorf School is a community dedicated to educating responsible world citizens. Located in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham, AWS is the only Waldorf School in Alabama. AWS strives to provide well-rounded education to families of all income levels and backgrounds. The school has met the educational needs of families from many religious and ethnic backgrounds, as well as a broad geographical area. Since 1987, our community has witnessed the positive effects of Waldorf education, and we are constantly planning for AWS's continued success in Birmingham. In our commitment to Waldorf education, AWS represents the world's fastest growing, nonsectarian, independent school movement. Located in the former Comer public school building, the school has now grown to nearly 130 children and over 20 faculty and staff. Students may enroll at AWS at walking age in the parent-toddler Morning Garden program and continue through Grade 8. Alabama Waldorf School is proud that itsgraduates have applied and been accepted to fine high schools such as Indian Springs School, The Altamont School, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, Alabama School of Fine Arts,The Shades Valley Theater Academy/Visual Arts Academy/Finance Academy. Our graduates also transition well into public high schools such as Hoover, Homewood, Spain Park, Clay Chalkville, and Vestavia.
Alabama Waldorf School's Nursery program provides children ages 2 1/2 to 4 with a home-like environment in which to play and participate. Activities in the Nursery program include room care, cooking, and preparing for festivals. The children are engaged in a comfortable, secure routine which gives them great confidence to explore their surroundings and immerse themselves in the all-important work of play. Since young children absorb the world primarily through their senses, our biggest job in the Nursery and the Kindergarten is to provide an environment which is worthy of their absorption and imitation! AWS currently has two multiage Nursery classes and two multiage Kindergarten classes. Toys in both the Nursery and Kindergarten programs are open-ended so that they may be used for many different kinds of play. Everything in the children’s environment is made of natural materials (wood, wool, and silk, for example) so that the children are surrounded by many beautiful textures and forms. A hallmark of Waldorf early childhood education is that all of the academic skills the children learn are embedded in the experiential curriculum – building vocabulary with the rich language of circle time, counting to set the snack table, observing the changes in seasons during nature walks, and categorizing objects during tidy up time. One of the over-arching goals of the preschool is for the children to have as many hands-on experiences as possible. This way, when they move into the grades, they are learning more about what they have already experienced and internalized.
Elementary and Middle Grades
The Elementary and Middle curriculum offers a rich and deep academic foundation, which includes math, language arts, history, and sciences. Teachers actively engage the student in scientific observation in ways that allow them to internalize natural laws and functions, so as to cultivate intellectual and creative ownership of the material. History and geography are enlivened by artistic renderings, which are thoughtfully transcribed into each student’s handmade Main Lesson Book. Practical skills such as cooking, farming, sewing, and carpentry, are seamlessly woven into the curriculum. As in all Waldorf schools, art is not considered a separate subject; rather, it enriches every subject! The middle school curriculum is particularly strong, including organic and inorganic chemistry, physics, geology, meteorology, and astronomy, in addition to the continuation of the previously mentioned subjects. A distinctive feature of the elementary Waldorf School is that the teacher ideally begins with a class in the first grade and continues with the same class through eighth grade. This ideal student/teacher relationship allows the student to feel comfortable and confident while allowing the teacher to better acknowledge and actualize the healthiest teaching methods for each individual student within the class as a whole. After such a rich and varied curriculum, Waldorf graduates have the skills, abilities, and portfolios to choose from a variety of high schools. The class teacher works with each student to find the best fit for his or her high school experience.