Special Needs

Admissions and Continued Enrollment

Our School is designed to meet the needs of children with an average and above average range of intellectual, emotional, and physical needs who do not present severe or persistent learning differences or challenges. Our School has limited resources for meeting specialized needs.  However, we are willing to meet with families to assess whether we are able to meet the needs of any child with special requirements. Applicants for admission with a diagnosed learning disability and/or a current IEP will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In determining what learners we can serve, we recognize our capabilities and limitations and our wish to meet each student’s needs with integrity.

There are other private schools that do seek to provide a learning environment that has similar characteristics of Waldorf education that we encourage families to explore if they believe that their child would require more support than what EWS can offer.  These schools are:

The Parzival Academy in Kimberton, PE
(A Waldorf School for children with learning differences).
Jordan Lake School of the Arts in Apex, NC
(An artistic, outdoor, multi-age school for children with learning differences).
The Just Right Academy in Durham, NC
(A school with small classroom size, integrated curriculum, multi-sensory approach).

As part of the Emerson Waldorf enrollment conversation, parents are required to share any information from previous assessments. During the course of the admissions process, the teacher may recommend further assessment from the Educational Support teacher on staff or an evaluator outside the school. The teachers will decide whether the student’s needs can be met within the range of school resources and policies. Some students will be able to be successful at the school when they have support such as speech-language therapy, sensory integration, constitutional, social skills, counseling, or tutoring. The family will be responsible for providing these services.

While our approach appears to offer benefits to students with learning challenges (education through multiple modalities and emphasis on art and music), it has been our experience that the children who thrive in our environment are those who enjoy learning, do well in a auditory learning environment, are responsive to artistically rendering what has been presented orally in the lessons, can work independently and in groups, and can accept responsibility.

Few teachers at our school have extensive training in working with children with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders. Our resources for supporting special needs are limited and that, in turn, limits the range of needs that we can meet and the number of children with special needs we can effectively teach. EWS must insure that efforts to serve particular students do not impose undue hardship on teachers or detract from other students’ opportunities to learn.

Enrolled students requiring additional academic or social support may be identified in a number of ways, including, by teachers, the Educational Support Coordinator, a doctor, or by parents themselves. While teachers may provide extra help on a short-term basis, the parents must provide long-term tutoring and remedial services. Parents seeking outside tutors or specialists may request a copy of the Practitioner Referral List. Testing to determine specific learning challenges may be requested through our local school district or other local evaluation services. A collaborative approach is taken in assisting teachers and parents in finding the additional support needed. At any point in the student’s schooling, if it appears that the student’s needs cannot be met at the school, there will be conversations with the parents over time, with the final decision resting with the School.

To continue from the Grade School to the High School, students must:

1.      Be taking a foreign language that is offered in the High School;

2.      Be at grade level and able to work independently with minimal tutoring;

3.      Be able to accept personal responsibility for their actions.