Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor is dedicated to being a welcoming and affirming institution to all members of our school and wider community. To this end, we will continue our work in the critical areas of increasing capacities for anti-racism and overcoming implicit bias, expanding full representation of our diverse American community in the curriculum, and regularly examining our school policies, procedures and practices for changes and improvements.
DEI at RSSAA
DEI: Curriculum and Student Experience Committee members are currently working on:
- Developing a series of curriculums focused on the experiences of cultural subgroups within the United States – including African American Studies, First Peoples’ Studies, LGBTQ+ Experience, Latinx Studies, Immigrant Experience.
- Forming an Event and Classroom Presentation Series to bring diverse speakers into our classrooms and expand the experiences of our students – this will launch as COVID-19 allows.
DEI: Creating a Warm and Welcoming Community Committee members are currently work on:
- Supporting the AWSNA Climate, Equity and Inclusion Survey – involved with the launch, data collection and the understanding and application of the results in from spring 2021.
- Planning for an RSSAA Diversity Audit, to follow the AWSNA Survey and take up an examination of our school policies and procedures, facilities and culture, with a goal of making necessary changes.
DEI: Communication and Community Dialog Committee members are currently working on:
- RSSAA Community DEI Statements – how to share what we are committed to as a school community.
- Developing ways to keep the full RSSAA Community fully informed in all of our work in these important areas.
College of Teachers members are currently working on:
- Fully integrating our Braided Curriculum (developed by the DEI: Curriculum and Student Experience Committee) into our full RSSAA Scope and Sequence Document for 2021-22.
- Fully integrating our African American Studies Curriculum (developed by the DEI: Curriculum and Student Experience Committee) into our full RSSAA Scope and Sequence Document for 2021-22.
Like other dimensions of diversity that RSSAA strives to build, achieving economic diversity makes for more enriching experiences, conversations, and learning opportunities for our students and employees.
We offer robust grant and tuition assistance programs that help make Waldorf education possible for all families who are interested in it. Information can be found out our Tuition webpage.
RSSAA has followed the Social Inclusion Approach, created by Kim John Payne, for over 20 years. All faculty and staff completed a three-year training in the 2020/2021 school year.
The Social Inclusion Approach gives practical playground, classroom and home-based tools to work with social exclusion issues.
The Social Inclusion Approach emphasizes politeness and courtesy as keys to establishing social impulse control and empathetic relationships at home and school and uses techniques to bring greater awareness to our verbal and nonverbal communication.
The Social Inclusion Approach shows how to make teasing guidelines the children understand and use; how to facilitate class and home meetings around social exclusion issues; how to actively engage peers, other students, in developing and implementing the Social Inclusion Approach. Most importantly, it shows how to develop a whole community approach and policy to inclusion of all students and adults in the school community.
One way in which the school is working to ensure that our curriculum, classroom activities, and celebrations include a wide range of diverse and inclusive topics is by connecting to monthly observances that are held in the wider culture of the United States. Recognizing these months and ensuring that the students are all involved in activities and education centered in that particular culture, or with that particular focus that month, is a step that ensures that each year all students have that experience as a minimum. Our school is dedicated to bringing work surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion into the everyday classroom with our students, not just month by month. Observing months is an important way for the teachers to have a touch point to making sure that specific topics are being presented in the classroom either through books, toys, crafts or activities. It is one way to ensure that there is a structure to support the work being done across the curriculum from the Early Childhood classrooms to the High School.
September 15 to October 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month
October - Disability Awareness Month
November - Native American/Indigenous Peoples Month
February - Black History Month
March - Women's History Month
April - Arab American Heritage Month
May - Asian Pacific Heritage Month
June - Pride Month
Each area of the school will be observing these in different ways and working throughout the school year to find the best way to involve the students at each level in these observances and celebrations. We invite you to visit our social media accounts (links at bottom of page) to see the various ways we celebrate diversity.
The Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN) works to foster a new cultural impulse for the work with the young child from pre-birth to age seven. Based on an anthroposophical understanding of human development, WECAN is committed to protecting and nurturing childhood as a foundation for renewing human culture. You can read WECAN's Diversity Statement here.
Our annual Grandparents & Special Friends Day is an opportunity for a peek into the curriculum and day-to-day life at RSSAA. In 2021 we continued the tradition with a remote presentation, giving an even wider audience the opportunity to get a taste of the breadth of our curriculum and warmth of our community.
Interested in supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at RSSAA? We invite you to:
- Have conversations at home with your children! Our book list and resources below can help you get started.
- Bring your expertise into the classroom! Let's talk about how you might share your experiences and skills with our students.
- Share your festivals with the school! Let us know about festivals and celebrations that are important to your family and how we might share them within the school community.
- Join a committee! By bringing your experiences and ideas to our committees, you help broaden our vision.
- Connect us with an outside group that you belong to! If you think we could support an organization you care about, or they could bring a new dimension to our school, please let us know.
- Join one our book studies.
- Donate! Almost all improvements and changes come at some cost.
Please reach out to Sian Owen-Cruise, School Administrator, about any of these or to discuss other ideas you might have.
We will offer regular DEI Town Halls during the school year which will invite the whole school community to come together for a discussion around our work in this area.
If you'd like to have a conversation now, you are welcome to reach out to any of the following:
Sian Owen-Cruise, School Administrator
Sara Deon, Early Childhood Coordinator
Peggy Wilson, Lower School Coordinator
Ann Brennan, High School Curriculum and Activities Coordinator
Elizabeth Head, Board Member
Heather Rindels, Board Member
Or, at the bottom of this page is a form where you can leave a comment or suggestion, either anonymously or with your email.
This letter from Angela Gladstone, one of our Early Childhood teachers, is a lovely introduction to how we address diversity in the Early Childhood classrooms. It also shares information about talking with your own children about these topics and offers some additional resources.
Books are a great place to start! We have curated a wonderful collection of books for young children to help spark intentional and honest conversations. Opening up the conversation allows children to have a dialogue with you about something that they may be thinking or wondering about internally.
Online resource which includes a Tough Topics Discussion Guide and sections on Teaching Respect & Empathy and Teaching Social Justice.
Designed to help parents teach their children to honor the differences in themselves and in others, and offers strategies for talking to kids often and honestly about tolerance — and intolerance.
From Psychology Today
Published by the Anti-Defamation League
To help stop anti-Asian/American and xenophobic harassment.