My 8 year old son began Class 2 at the start of the year. He’d previously been at an independent private school and was simply not thriving. Mornings were stressful for everyone in our home and afternoons worse with a very tired, angry and frustrated child. I knew that the level of pressure to perform and compete and to complete work quickly left my child feeling a failure, and as a parent I felt a failure too. Home work every day and also in holidays was an enormous burden to him and the rest of the household. This I also knew to be part of the heaviness he carried. He was only happy on the computer or Xbox. Kind of like escapism I expect and so I let him indulge in hours of it thinking that it ‘made him happy’. He used to tell me 40 weeks of the year for 3 years to please home-school him despite having friends and having a god rapport with all his teachers and being very well behaved. There was still something not quite right. School wasn’t in my view supposed to be so draining and such a burden.

I made the decision to change schools after his behavioural optometrist saw him for a check-up in January and suggested the learning environment was perhaps not right for Connor. He suggested looking at an alternative to mainstream. That day, knowing already about the Steiner philosophy, I contacted the school and made an appointment.

From the first day changes appeared within my son. He ate his lunch at school. He said it was amazing that he was allowed to finish his work and no one rushed him. He was allowed to speak up and speak his mind. Other children were allowed to speak up. He was allowed to climb a tree! His biggest challenge in his little world now is to be brave enough every day to climb the lizard tree as opposed to not knowing his 6x tables yet. In supporting the school ethos a big dose of Vitamin N was administered with respect to the computer and Xbox time. I just said no. It took about a week or two to adjust and push through the nagging and tears. Six weeks into term and it really isn’t an issue anymore. There are more dress ups and Lego and cubbies and laughing and drawing. The change in drawings is remarkable. Pictures are light and colourful and the page is full as opposed to black and hard and sharp and forced. There’s a new voice in our home that sings happily when he’s tidying his room, in the bath, playing and spending time with the dog. He is physically standing taller. As if he’s opening up. There’s a wonderful eagerness to do things for himself and to try new things. My son is thriving inside and out.

Feb 2014