When COVID-19 came close to home this spring, the school, like others, moved to virtual instruction. Asheville Waldorf school took their classrooms outside. Olivette Riverside Community and Farm was host to the schools grades one, three and four.
Olivette Riverside Community has some of the greatest outdoor amenities and they were recently put to good use. The Asheville Waldorf school has always taken a nature-centric approach to education, but this year more than ever. The school has taken their classrooms outside and brought them here to Olivette. Read more about the outdoor classroom and how our community contributed on the Asheville Citizen-Times. If you would like to learn more about our nature based amenities click here.
From the Asheville Citizen-Times
View the full story here.
While preschool and kindergarten classes remain at the school’s West Asheville location, the rest have temporary new homes. Second grade and a class that combines grades five and six are in East Asheville. Grades seven and eight are in Waynesville, and grades one, three and four are at Olivette Riverside Community and Farm, an “agrihood” community along the French Broad River. The area features a fully operational organic farm, trails, forests and more.
“Since our inception at Olivette, one of our dreams has been to have a school on the property,” Allison Smith, a founding partner of Olivette and a farm-to-table living expert, said. “When the pandemic struck, it created an unexpected opportunity for Asheville Waldorf School to set up an outdoor classroom at Olivette for their students. We are excited to be able to partner with them in their goal of educating the whole child, in mind, body and spirit, for lifelong learning and meaningful engagement with the world. Having classes at Olivette dovetails our mutual focus on social renewal and Earth stewardship. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for parents and kids in our community. We are grateful to Olivette community member Kate Davis for working to arrange this collaboration.”
Students are equipped with gear for all types of weather, and Nordgren said restrooms and hand-washing stations are available. Platforms with tent classrooms provide opportunities for circle time and block schedule classes. In addition to language arts, math, history and other traditional classes, Nordgren said students are deepening a connection with outdoor living through opportunities such as fire building and tree identification.
“In the larger Waldorf methodology – obviously, we want children to come out with a lovely education – but having this picture of these tools of creativity, adaptability and resilience have always been a part of Waldorf,” Nordgren said. “These are the skills we need – not just for the present moment, but for the future.”