Why We Prioritize the Student-Teacher Relationship

“Waldorf education is…knowing that my daughter is being taken care of on many levels. It’s a bit like having another branch of parenting happening when she walks through those doors.”

–CLWS Parent

At City of Lakes Waldorf School, teaching goes beyond delivering a lesson plan. Relationships are at the center of our work, guiding what we do inside the classroom, as a school, and within our wider community.

Our dedicated faculty and staff are committed to understanding each student and nurturing their development. Our grades teachers often stay with the same class for five to eight years. This allows each teacher to develop a deep understanding of each child and the class community as a whole—and the children, feeling secure in this long-term relationship, are more confident and engaged in their learning.

According to an article in Education Week, “Why Student-Teacher Relationships Matter”: “A lot of teachers … have really strong abilities to engage socially with the students, but then it’s not enough,” said Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Southern California who studies the effects of emotions and mindsets on learning. “You have to go much deeper than that and actually start to engage with students around their curiosity, their interests, their habits of mind through understanding and approaching material to really be an effective teacher.”

The article goes on to say that an analysis of 46 studies found that strong teacher-student relationships were associated with improvements on practically every measure schools care about, including student academic engagement, attendance, behavior, and more.

In the short clip below, CLWS 3rd Grade Teacher Darcie Steeves shares a glimpse into why relationships form the heart of a Waldorf education:

Click here to listen to the full conversation, featuring seven CLWS educators as they discuss why relationships are at the center of their work, including questions such as:

  • How do good relationships help with academic skills?
  • What is the one thing that every teacher needs to teach well?
  • How is this foundation of relationship-building paying off as we teach during a global pandemic?

Learn More:

Are you curious about a Waldorf education for your child? Click here to connect with us. Applications for the 2021-22 school year will be accepted through February 1, 2021.

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