TORONTO, ON: On Tuesday the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) released the results of their second, and probably the largest in Canada, study on the mental health of students in the Greater Toronto Area. The TDSB report found that 73% of student respondents between Grades 9 and 12 were worried about their future. It also found that 66% of students surveyed between Grades 9 and 12 said that they experienced heightened levels of stress.
These findings should be of great concern to educators and parents everywhere. At Toronto Waldorf School (TWS) every aspect of the program is uniquely designed to promote psychological, physical, social and intellectual health in children.
“Our goal is to produce healthy human beings – psychologically, socially, physically and intellectually health. No mental health week for us. It is built into the whole fabric of our education,” said teacher Todd Royer. “We have a deep understanding of human development which helps us to pay attention to significant natural crisis moments – these are transformational opportunities. When handled poorly, these crisis moments in childhood become the roots of mental dis-ease in later life.”
TWS curriculum (preK-12) is based on a deep understanding of human development and the concept that students are presented with the right thing at the right time. This approach:
a) helps children move through the natural stages of child development in a healthy way, i.e., emerging empowered, with confidence and self-esteem,
b) helps the children understand more fully what it means to be human, and;
c) uses the child’s developmental experience as a fundamental platform for them to more fully understand the range of subjects – language arts, humanities, mathematics, sciences.
TWS takes great care with how and when homework is assigned. Children in the younger grades should not feel that added pressure after a full day at school. TWS uses drama, music, fine and practical arts, the outdoors, and lots of physical movement to help bring the academics to the children in a way that meets a variety of learning styles, creates a healthy learning environment and engenders a love of learning. None of these are extra-curricular, they are all part of every student’s day at Toronto Waldorf School.
“There is much in society putting pressure on our children. Waldorf education is a healing education in a stressful time,” said Royer.
About Toronto Waldorf School
Toronto Waldorf School is an independent school, founded in 1968, offering parent and infant programs through to Grade 12 / University Entrance. TWS is part of a global community of schools, where Waldorf teachers and child development professionals come together for the purpose of educating, supporting and inspiring children. With more than 90 years of proven curriculum experience, Waldorf has nearly 2500 schools and kindergartens in over 60 countries.
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