Is a charter school a public school?

Yes. Charter schools are public schools of choice open to anyone committed to being a part of the educational community.

How is a charter school different from a traditional public school?

A charter school is a public school that operates independently from its local school district, yet is still accountable for student achievement and operational performance. A charter school is funded on a per-student basis from state tax funds, and is bound by a legal contract (charter) with its authorizer. However, it is exempt from many elements of state education regulations and is governed as an independent non-profit, with its own board of directors. Charter schools were developed to encourage educators to try different approaches in the public sector since children do not all learn in the same manner.

Do you charge tuition?

No. We are a public, tuition-free school. Although we receive state funds, we still need to fundraise to close the gap between state and local funding and to build our facility. We encourage all families to support the school to whatever extent possible. We hope everyone participates by volunteering and giving in various ways.

Do you follow a traditional Waldorf curriculum?

Yes.  Our school follows closely the traditional Waldorf pedagogy and is committed to being a model in this regard.

Why do you discourage media for children?

The reasons for this have as much to do with the physical effects of the medium on the developing child as with the questionable content of much of the programming. Electronic media are believed by Waldorf teachers to seriously hamper the development of the child’s imagination, a faculty that is believed to be central to the healthy development of the individual.

Who is eligible to attend Syringa Mountain School?

Our charter school is a free, public school open to anyone residing in the state of Idaho. If more students apply than there are spaces available, admission is decided by lottery. Priority is given to students residing in the Blaine County School District, but if spaces remain, students from outside the district are allowed to attend. Once a student is enrolled at the school, priority is also given to siblings. Age restrictions on public school students also apply to us.

What are Waldorf methods and how are they different?

Educational approaches incorporating Waldorf methods are designed to be developmentally appropriate. The method is partly based on the question: What is the best thing to teach a child at each age? Children are given tasks according to their readiness, and not pushed towards the earliest possible achievement. Learn more about Waldorf methods.

Does Waldorf education support early reading skills?

Waldorf curriculum has a strong bent toward early-learning language skills including storytelling and oral traditions. This exposure, when integrated in lessons, serves to awaken the imagination and creates a strong curiosity for successful introduction of reading and writing, in addition to introducing phonemic awareness through listening. Our curriculum includes instruction of foundational reading skills starting in Kindergarten including phonemic awareness, sequence, and fine motor skills. Comprehension and reading interest are strongly linked to the creative aspects of our curriculum. Focus on oral traditions and the Main Lesson Block approach, further helping to build foundational skills.

Does your school provide support for different kinds of learners?  How do you support single classrooms for both “advanced” and slower learners?

While the lessons are whole class, different children can engage at different levels of complexity and/or progress at different speeds. We strive to meet the needs of each student and most families will find that their child’s needs are fulfilled through the mix of auditory and visual presentation of the material.

Does your school have a music program?

Yes. All students study music at our school.

What kind of foreign language program do you offer and for which grades?

We offer Spanish to all students, grades 1-8. Following our arts-based framework, much of the early instruction in Spanish will be song and music-based. Games and poems will figure prominently in instruction through the grades.