Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) Committee
The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Committee, is a working group of faculty and administration that seeks to catalyze and support meaningful transformation in critical areas of diversity and inclusion at Mountain Laurel Waldorf School.
We seek to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity within our school and are striving to better represent the many cultures of the world we live in. Doing so, we hope that our students may learn from one another, to see themselves in their peers and become citizens of the world, enabling them to understand and appreciate varying viewpoints and ways of being.
During the June 2021 work week, the College examined Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice pertaining to pedagogy, and took a deeper dive into its anti racist training. In addition to DEIJ study at our weekly College meetings, 4 afternoons have been set aside on the school calendar to allow focused DEIJ work.
As a community of learning, Mountain Laurel Waldorf School actively welcomes children, families, faculty and staff of all races, religions, classes, origins, ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations and family cultures. We believe that this range of differences fosters a richer learning environment, instilling values of empathy and collaboration more deeply in each of us.
Our community grows stronger as it grows in diversity. Now, more than ever, a verse from Rudolf Steiner the MLWS College recites as we open our weekly meetings, strengthens this understanding:
“The healthy social life is found,
When in the mirror of each human soul
The whole community finds its reflection.
And, when, in the community,
The virtue of each one is living.”
Our teachers recognize the value of including a variety of cultures, experiences, opinions and life stories in each classroom. We strive for lessons that are filled with world perspectives, preparing the students to be conscious citizens and empathic leaders of the future.
A fundamental principle of Waldorf Education is the respect of human rights and the diversity of humankind, as well as the belief that inclusivity and equality is both a moral and educational imperative.
We strive to have all learners, families and staff feel a sense of belonging and true inclusion. The Waldorf pedagogy stands on principles that embrace our common humanity and the equality of people.
However, understanding and appreciating differences, working through implicit biases and making conscious the undermining, systemic messages about “others” takes work. So is striving for honest communication and authentic listening, especially when hard topics arise. It takes work to open ourselves to new perspectives and find common ground in our humanity.
The MLWS College is committed to do this work, including the ongoing practice of courageous self-reflection, organizational development, and individual inner work.
At the foundation of Waldorf education lies the mission of social renewal.
The MLWS College studies and draws inspiration from the insights of Rudolf Steiner. Anthroposophy is the materializing impulse behind the founding of the first Waldorf School, which opened in Stuttgart in 1919.
The MLWS College acknowledges that some of Steiner’s early writings are unacceptable, racist, misogynistic and bigoted. We condemn and fiercely separate ourselves and our school from such misguided and harmful impulses.
Waldorf Schools, like many institutions founded over a century ago, and the people associated with them, have evolved.
Steiner’s own thoughts and beliefs evolved dynamically over the course of his life. He planted many seeds knowing that future generations would nurture and lead his initiatives, morally, toward their most upright realization. We therefore embrace Rudolf Steiner’s evolution, self education and later appeals that:
“We must seek to unite people of all races and nations, and to bridge the divide and difference between the various groups of people. Anthroposophy does not exist to send people off to sleep, but to make them really wide awake. We are living at a time when it is necessary for people to wake up.” -Rudolf Steiner, The Universal Human lecture
“Rudolf Steiner gave us powerful tools. We really can begin with the path of self-knowledge that requires the condition of freedom and the recognition of and respect for that freedom for every other human being. This is called moral tact or discernment and is the foundation for the virtue of justice in the relational world. And if we can deeply listen rather than speak in the relational world, trust will come toward us.”
John Bloom – General Secretary – The Anthroposophical Society