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A Unique Form of Learning Gaining Momentum in Duluth

Julie Kruse
December 05, 2016 10:14 PM

As a parent, it's not always easy to decide which form of education is the best fit for your child. Choices can range from public to private school, charter and even homeschooling. In Duluth, another option is available, and it's quickly gaining momentum.

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Spirit of the Lake Community School began in 2010 and became a non-profit four years later. Currently, enrollment is up to 35 students who are now preparing for life in a unique way.

At the school, teachers try to incorporate all of the senses into their lessons. That could include jumping rope while reciting times tables or bouncing balls and passing bean bags during class.

"As the children are moving, they are building many neuro pathways in their brain which sets them up for success when we go into more complex concepts they need to learn," said Elaine Schmid, a grades teacher at Spirit of the Lake.

It's all part of the Waldorf Educational approach, a hands-on method that educators say is designed to equally engage the body, mind, emotion and spirit.

"This is a place that is serving children where they are at individually," said Libby Hanon, a parent with three children enrolled. "It was a place that is doing things I wish I could have done in my perfect, homeschool world."

The Waldorf method also suggests limiting media as a way to ensures that technology won't suppress a child's natural, instinctive and curious way of relating to the world. As a parent, Julie Bellehumeur says she gladly god on board.

"I'm a big fan of less information in the early years and more brain development," Bellehumeur said. "If you're consuming media after school, all the things you learned during the day are way less likely to be processed into your long term memory."

Instead, children are engaging in activities such as wood working, baking, knitting, crocheting and learning the Ojibwe culture and language. Schmid says the needs of the growing child isn't measured in a test, but rather the natural joy of learning.

"We look at different aspects, not just cognitive abilities and thinking forces," Schmid explained. "We look at their emotions, their will or movement, and incorporate each of these things into our lessons."


Credits

Julie Kruse

Copyright 2016 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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