A healthy social life is found only when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living. –Rudolf Steiner
Tamarack’s parent community is a wonderfully diverse and energetic group of parents who share the common goal of wanting an excellent Waldorf education for their children. Some choose Tamarack after hours of study and evaluation of other schooling options nationwide. Others simply seem to know this is the right school for their children once they’ve visited us. However they first come to Tamarack, our families blend together into a beautiful and exceptional multifaceted community. Our diverse student population is the product of a diverse parent body, a blend of all kinds of people from all walks of life. Tamarack strives to embody a remarkable spirit of tolerance, kindness, and respect for all families.
Our parents help our school with heartfelt energy, vast quantities of time, and an array of talents. The first request our community makes of parents is that they support their child’s teacher, so that the teacher can concentrate on the children. Parents volunteer as class leaders and as parent association representatives. They drive and chaperone for field trips and assist in various ways with school plays and concerts. They support the classroom environment with assorted donations throughout the year.
In addition, our parents have opportunities to assist in a variety of ways with the running of the school. The Tamarack Parent Association-Community Circle, or TPA-CC, serves the school and parent interests throughout the year, and holds our two biggest school events. Parents also volunteer on school committees, such as our Enrollment Committee, Site Committee, Fund Development Committee, Finance Committee and other ad hoc committees. Parents who have shown a penchant for committee work may be asked to join the Board of Trustees.
How does Tamarack in turn support its parents? Parent community building begins with the faculty. Parents are encouraged in many ways to learn about their children and the Waldorf education they are receiving. Regular class meetings that discuss curriculum, class dynamics and future class activities are held by all grade teachers and the combined kindergartens. Conferences are held twice yearly. Teachers often use newsletters to keep parents informed about class progress, work and lessons. If a parent has further questions, each faculty has regularly scheduled office hours and is also available by appointment as well as via phone or email. At the end of the school year, every teacher completes a Student Report, an assessment of the year’s progress, to further the parent’s understanding of their child. The open exchange that is encouraged between teacher and parent not only supports our parents, but by extension strengthens the teacher-student relationship.
Tamarack, as a school, offers many community events, as well as enrichment and educational opportunities for our parents. Throughout the school year, there are traditional, seasonal festivals that illustrate the meaning and depth of the Waldorf curriculum. There are regular All-School Meetings, workshops and special interest speakers. Given the unique structure of our parent population and its own special challenges, Tamarack strives to make most school events free of charge or of minimal cost.
Parents also benefit from school newsletters, articles and the Parent Lending Library. Newsletters are distributed electronically on Tuesdays, and helpful, educational articles are frequently distributed, posted in the school, or posted on our Facebook Page. TPA-CC holds a Parent Lending Library with many engaging books on Waldorf education and other parenting issues.
Tamarack parents strive to create community by giving to each other: they have organized clothing exchanges, donated to families in crisis at the school, helped support other families in personal ways outside of school hours, and worked together to constructively meet concerns and questions amongst themselves. As one parent said, ‘I knew Tamarack’s Waldorf education would be good for my children; I just didn’t know how good Tamarack would be for me!’