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
- 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.
- Adding a Day of the Dead celebration.
- Enlarging our Diwali celebration and closing school on Diwali to allow families to celebrate.
- Enlarging our Lunar New Year celebration and closing school on Lunar New Year to allow families to celebrate.
- Adding an Eid al-Fitr celebration and closing school on Eid al-Fitr to allow families to celebrate.
- Between Earth Day and a Spring May Fair in the spring, looking to indigenous wisdom, native plants, and caring for our land.
- Expanding the celebration around the Thanksgiving time of year be more Indigenous-People-inspired.
- Continuing to expand our lending library to have books from respective months and topics.
- Supporting the AWSNA Climate, Equity and Inclusion Survey – involved with the launch, data collection and the understanding and application of the results.
- 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.
- As of October 2022, 50 Faculty & Staff and 20 Board & Parents participated in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training through Alma Partners. Training designed to ensure that we are prepared to support all the students and families in our community.
- 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.
- Fully integrating our Braided Curriculum (developed by the DEI: Curriculum and Student Experience Committee) into our full RSSAA Scope and Sequence Document.
- Fully integrating our African American Studies Curriculum (developed by the DEI: Curriculum and Student Experience Committee) into our full RSSAA Scope and Sequence Document.
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 Integrative Student Support 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 Integrative Student Support approach gives practical playground, classroom and home-based tools to work with social exclusion issues.
The Integrative Student Support 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 Integrative Student Support 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 Integrative Student Support 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.
The RSSSA Three-Streams Care process for educational support is based on this approach and tailored for our school and 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.
Our "Look A Little Deeper" blog covers all sorts of topics, but DEI-related subjects are often touched on, like Talking With Our Littlest Students About Race, Monthly Observances Help Us Appreciate Our Diversity, International High School Students Find Community at RSSAA, Is Travel Good for Teens, and More Than A Body: Capturing the Essence of Another Human Being.
Visit our “Look A Little Deeper” blog page and choose “DEI” in our tag cloud for posts related to the topic.
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) is the guiding and accrediting body for Waldorf schools across the US and Canada. You can read their Statement of Inclusion and Equity here.
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 school includes a wide range of family structures and many extended family and friends support and participate in our school community. Our annual Grandparents & Special Friends Day is an opportunity for a peek into the curriculum and day-to-day life at RSSAA. In 2021 & 2022, 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. You can view those events on our YouTube Channel!
Our 2023 Grandparents & Special Friends Day is planned for April 25 and we're thrilled that it will once again be an in-person event!
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
Angela Gladstone, Early Childhood Pedagogical Coordinator
Kim Likosky, Lower School Coordinator
Alix Gaither, High School Administrative 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